PAUL SILLS 1927-2008
Paul Sills was the son of Viola Spolin and through his urging and vision, he persuaded his mother to come to Chicago and work her magic on what would become the company that brought Improvisation into being.

Without his unyielding insistence that his players stay focused and true to the possibility of real spontaneity, there would have never been the Second City or Story Theater or Spolin’s “Improvisation for the Theater”.

He truly understood the philosophy his mother created and he tirelessly sought to bring it into the theater and the lives of so many.

The work will continue through his students and family and myself. 

Gary Schwartz 2008

Comments (3)

  • Joana


    I as taught the Yes and tehqcinue years ago in an Imaginuity workshop taught by McNair Wilson. It was deep insight into how the Disney people used the process to keep ideas flowing. I incorporated into my Youth Ministry Team meetings to the point that while we were brainstorming ideas if you didn’t begin you sentence with yes and you had to contribute $1 to our Compassion Jar. It really does work in most every aspect of life! Great article!




    Many years ago I was doing playback with a group in Santa Fe NM …. I believe the teacher was Viola but forget after all these years …. would you confirm that Viola Spolin did spend a time in Santa Fe where she taught improv classes? Standing by …. 😉


    • Gary Schwartz

      Gary Schwartz


      I met her in 1977 and don’t know if she taught in Santa Fe. I know she had friends in Santa Fe, but cannot tell you for sure.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Please visit, to see some old video of her.


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