Our Lineage

About Us: What We Do | Our Team | Our Lineage | Testimonials

Laughter for a Change’s work follows in a deep tradition illuminating “the power of play”:

Neva Boyd, a sociologist who studied group dynamics of games and play, founded the Recreational Training School at Hull House in Chicago in the 1920’s. Viola Spolin was her protégé. (Photo: Neva Sills with baby Paul Sills)

Viola Spolin, improvisation’s Godmother, led “games” workshops in Chicago in the 1930’s with disparate immigrant groups and inner city youth. From these workshops emerged supportive communities empowered through play.

Paul Sills, Viola’s son, a student at University of Chicago in the 1950’s, created shows out of improvisations. Paul later co-founded “The Second City,” with alumni including Bill Murray, Steven Colbert, Steve Carell, Tina Fey and Keegan-Michael Key, to name just a few. 

Del Close, another actor trained by Paul Sills, became the house director of San Francisco’s “The Committee”, a legendary improvisational, satirical review. (Del is now recognized as a visionary in the improvisational theater world.)

Ed Greenberg, L4C’s founder, was hired by Del into The Committee. Ed later worked with Viola and Paul, and subsequently took over for Del as the main stage director at The Second City in Chicago. When Ed took on the challenge of bringing improvisational play training to post-genocide Rwanda, he viewed his work as part of his lineage. L4C proudly and playfully strives to carry on the tradition of improvisational theater as a cultural force for positive social change.

Scroll to Top