Chicago’s greatest cultural export just might be improvised theater, which was born at Jane Addams’ Hull House during the Great Depression and carried out into the world by the likes of Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Stephen Colbert. But while to most people improv might seem synonymous with comedy, the art form was devised by a woman named Viola Spolin who wasn’t out for laughs.



Find out more about Viola Spolin and today’s Chicago improvisers at