Download: Chris Friesen Workshop Description

Introduction to Theatre Games with Chris Friesen

Workshop Description

“Acting requires presence. Playing produces this state.” – Viola Spolin

This workshop will explore the work of Viola Spolin, who developed a system of actor training which uses games to teach the fundamentals of acting.

This workshop is perfect for anyone with little or no acting experience who want to learn, those who are already involved in theatre and want to improve their skills, or anyone who just wants to try something new and have a good time!

Whoever you are, come and learn to play like a kid again!

June 22: 6:30pm – 10:00pm
June 23: 6:30 – 10:00pm
June 24: 9am – 5pm

Location: Grande Prairie Live Theatre, 10130-98 Avenue


$150 per person

($100 for students)

Ages 15 and up

Class size limited to 15 – first come first serve.

Email Chris at to book your spot!

About Me

I am an actor born and raised in Grande Prairie. I’ve performed in GPLT plays, most recently appearing as Al Joad in The Grapes of Wrath (with Ursa Productions) and Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof.

I hold a Diploma in Acting from Rosebud School of the Arts ( and have appeared in their shows, most notably as Hart in Unity 1918.

I recently moved to Winnipeg to pursue acting professionally: I’ve acted in film and theatre with Farpoint Films and Winnipeg Studio Theatre (

I discovered the work of Viola Spolin in theatre school, and have since used it to teach drama to students grades 4 – 12. I’ve also spent the past year training with Gary Schwartz, who was a student of Viola Spolin (

You can find out more about me at!

About Viola Spolin


“Viola Spolin was an actress, educator, director, author, and the creator of theater games, a system of actor training that uses games she devised to organically teach the formal rules of the theater. Her groundbreaking book Improvisation for the Theater transformed American theater and revolutionized the way acting is taught.

Viola Spolin’s improvisational Theater Games are a complete system of actor training. Each game or exercise has a focus, a problem to be solved by the players as a group, so that lessons are learned through play (experience). She wrote: “Everyone can act. Everyone can improvise. Anyone who wishes to can play in the theater and learn to become stageworthy. We learn through experience and experiencing, and no one teaches anyone anything. . . . ‘Talent’ or ‘lack of talent’ has little to do with it.”

Through focused attention, a player can be in the present time, their intuition activated and their whole body alert and ready to play—physical states that benefit theatrical communication and liberate the individual to explore their environment and make new discoveries. In moments of pure spontaneity, cultural and psychological conditioning fall away, allowing for the player to explore the unknown. In theater games, space objects replace props and sets, which opens the possibility for theatrical transformation.

Spolin called transformation the heart of improvisation. She believed cultural and familial authorities often use approval and disapproval to control others, limiting the individual’s capacity for experience. Her evaluation methods instead involve the whole group in a non-judgmental process that lets students learn for themselves. Spolin called her teaching methods non-authoritarian, non-verbal, and non-psychological.”