Paul Sills

Theatre Director
Born Nov 18, 1927

Paul Sills was a director and improvisation teacher, and the original director of Chicago's The Second City.

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News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Paul Sills.

  • Breaking Bad's Junkyard Dog: Actor Larry Hankin
    Huffington Post - Sep 25, 2013
  • Roger Wright: A Bernie Sahlins Tribute Scene
    Huffington Post - Jun 18, 2013
  • Laugh Spin: How Improv Comedy Prepared Me For Motherhood
    Huffington Post - Apr 10, 2012
  • From Tinseltown To Children's Theatre And Baboró Galway Advertiser
    Google News - Sep 14, 2011


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Paul Sills.


1927 Birth Sills was born Paul Silverberg on November 18, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois, his mother was teacher and writer Viola Spolin, who authored the first book on improvisation techniques, Improvisation for the Theater. … Read More


1948 20 Years Old In 1948, Sills enrolled in the University of Chicago, where he established himself as a director, co-founding Playwright's Theater Club. … Read More
1955 27 Years Old In 1955, Sills and David Shepherd founded Compass Players, the first improvisational theater in the US, where he directed Shelley Berman, Mike Nichols and Elaine May.


1959 31 Years Old In 1959, Sills, along with partners Howard Alk and Bernie Sahlins, opened a theatre called The Second City where revues developed improvisationally were presented under Sills's direction. … Read More
1965 37 Years Old Sills left Second City in 1965 to form the Game Theater, where he coached his mother's improvisational techniques in performance and audience participation was encouraged. … Read More


1968 40 Years Old At the Game Theater, he also discovered a new form, which he called Story Theater, which debuted at 1848 N. Wells Street during the summer of 1968. … Read More


2008 81 Years Old Paul Sills died on June 1, 2008 at the age of 80, at his home in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin, of complications from pneumonia. … Read More
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