skip to main navigation
Chicago Training Center

School Programs



  • The Second City Education Program in Chicago offers on workshops for students and educators, school residencies, and performances for young audiences in grades 6 through 12. The company works with scores of K-12 schools, colleges and organizations each year to bring our unique brand of improvisation, humor and learning to thousands of participants. We have presented workshops at numerous conference and professional development training sessions throughout the United States, most recently for National Council for Teachers of English, American Alliance for Theatre and Education, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, News in Learning, and Art Resources in Teaching to name a few. We are an approved professional development provider for the Illinois State Board of Education, an arts provider for the Chicago Public Schools’ Magnet Cluster Programs (Fine/Performing Arts and Literature/Reading), and a participant in the After School Matters Program.

    Back to Top

  • The Second City Education Program offers improvisation-based workshops for students that enhance classroom instruction and tie into curriculum standards. Improvisation is a highly effective tool for developing skills such as listening, team building, idea generation, literacy, communication, problem solving, social integration and empathy. It is active, student-centered learning that supports the development of critical thinking and multiple intelligences.

    Workshops are taught by Second City teaching artists and may be conducted at a school, community center, The Second City Training Center or another convenient location. The ideal space is an open area of at least 500 square feet (approximately 20’ x 25’) with only chairs. However, many of the exercises may be adapted for participation by the students at their desks in a classroom. A classroom teacher or another supervising adult must be present or available during the workshops.

    Various workshops are available for grades K-8 and 9-12, listed below. Prices are estimates based on small groups. For pricing for larger workshops, contact Jeff Gandy at jgandy@secondcity.com.

    Back to Top

  • Communication Workshops

    Introduction to Communication - Grades K-8

    An introduction to improvisation and effective communication skills, focusing on listening, collaboration, and creative problem solving and taught through a series of interactive improvisation based exercises and games.

    50 minutes - $250
    1-1/2 hours - $375
    2 hours - $475

    Advanced Communication and Improvisation – Grades 6-8

    Building on the skills and concepts introduced in our Intro to Communication workshop, middle school students explore how they express and interpret language and ideas through a variety of interactive communication exercises.

    2 hours - $475

    Team Building and Collaborative Learning – Grades 3-8

    Through improvisational exercises and interaction, students experience a sense of ensemble or team within the class through listening, cooperation, and an awareness of how to be a contributing part of a greater whole.

    2 hours - $475

    Drama and Theatre Workshops

    Introduction to Second City Improvisation – Grades K-5

    The fundamentals of improvisation as taught and practiced at The Second City, covering the concepts and skills of listening, stage presence, environment, and character through interactive exercises and games.

    50-60 minutes - $250
    1-1/2 hours - $375
    2 hours - $475

    Introduction to Second City Improvisation – Grades 6-8

    The fundamentals of improvisation as taught and practiced at The Second City, covering the concepts and skills of listening, stage presence, environment, and character through interactive exercises and games.

    2 hours - $475

    Advanced Improvisation – Grades 6-8

    Building on the skills and concepts introduced in Introduction to Second City Improvisation., this workshop uses a variety of exercises and games to teach the basics of improvisational scene work.

    2 hours - $475

    Character Workshop – Grades 6-8

    The essential elements of theatrical and comedic character creation are explored by students through active participation in a variety of guided improvisational exercises, leading to the creation of own original comedic characters and a better understanding of character in drama and literature.

    2 hours - $475

    Introduction to Musical Improvisation – Grades 6-8

    An introduction to the skills required to improvise short songs and musical scenes using exercises that cover elements of vocal performance, production, and projection as well as games that introduce rhyming, song structure and musical styles.

    2 hours - $475

    Writing and Literacy Related Workshops

    Improvisation for Literacy Skills – Grades 3-8

    This fun and interactive workshop uses both improvisation and writing exercises to build and reinforce literacy skills such as vocabulary building, sequencing, and inference.

    2 hours - $475

    Introduction to Principles of Comic Writing – Grades 6-8

    Students experience a series of improvisational and writing exercises that teach them the basics of how to create comic premises and scenes for the stage.

    2 hours - $475

    For all workshops, an additional travel charge is necessary for sites located more than 20 miles from North Ave. and Wells St., Chicago.

    Back to Top

  • Communication Workshops

    Introduction to Communication - Grades 9-12

    An introduction to improvisation and effective communication skills, focusing on listening, collaboration, and creative problem solving and taught through a series of interactive improvisation based exercises and games.

    2 hours - $475

    Advanced Secondary Communication - Grades 9-12

    Building on the skills and concepts introduced in our Intro to Communication workshop, high school students explore how they express and interpret language and ideas through a variety of interactive communication exercises.

    2 hours - $475

    Drama and Theatre Workshops

    Introduction to Second City Improvisation – Grades 9-12

    The fundamentals of improvisation as taught and practiced at The Second City, covering the concepts and skills of listening, stage presence, environment, and character through interactive exercises and games.

    2 hours - $475

    Advanced Improvisation – Grades 9-12

    Building on the skills and concepts introduced in Introduction to Second City Improvisation., this workshop uses a variety of exercises and games to teach the basics of improvisational scene work.

    2 hours - $475

    Character Workshop – Grades 9-12

    The essential elements of theatrical and comedic character creation are explored by students through active participation in a variety of guided improvisational exercises, leading to the creation of own original comedic characters and a better understanding of character in drama and literature.

    3 hours - $700

    Introduction to Musical Improvisation – Grades 6-8

    An introduction to the skills required to improvise short songs and musical scenes using exercises that cover elements of vocal performance, production, and projection as well as games that introduce rhyming, song structure and musical styles.

    2 hours - $475
    2 ½ hours - $600
    3 hours - $700

    Point of View and Satire – Grades 9-12

    An introduction to the fundamentals of satire as practiced and performed at The Second City theatres. Students participate in both writing and improvisational exercises to help them form and express their own opinions and viewpoints about the world around them.

    2 hours - $475
    2 ½ hours - $600
    3 hours - $700

    Job Skills Workshops

    Interviewing Skills – Grades 9-12

    This workshop enhances students’ awareness of their own unique strengths and abilities as they prepare to enter the world of work. Students explore ways to alleviate ‘job interview stress’, and learn effective communication techniques that enable them to speak positively about themselves to potential employers. Using Second City's unique improv approach and experiential learning methods, our instructors will guide students through a variety of group and individual activities, empowering them to take risks, build trust and develop a wide variety of crucial employability skills.

    2 hours - $475

    Presentation Skills – Grades 9-12

    Businesses, small and large, have often been on the cutting edge of innovation. Using improv techniques students learn to work together to provide innovative solutions to challenging business situations. Group dynamics, leadership, and resourcefulness are realized through a combination of exercises and presentation.

    2 hours - $475

    Writing and Literacy Related Workshops

    Introduction to Principles of Comic Writing – Grades 9-12

    Students experience a series of improvisational and writing exercises that teach them the basics of how to create comic premises and scenes for the stage.

    2 hours - $475
    2 ½ hours - $600
    3 hours - $700

    For all workshops, an additional travel charge is necessary for sites located more than 20 miles from North Ave. and Wells St., Chicago.

    Back to Top

  • CPDU credits from the Illinois State Board of Education available for all educator workshops. Workshops may be conducted for groups off-site at a school or on-site at The Second City Training Center. Prices listed are for groups of 6-20.

    Several workshops are offered for individual teachers to take at The Second City Training Center. That information is listed below.

    Intro to Improvisation for Creative Pedagogy

    This interactive workshop offers educators an introduction to the principles of improvisation as well as offering a variety of methods for integrating improvisational exercises in the classroom across curriculum.

    3 hours - $700

    Improvisation for Creative Pedagogy

    This interactive workshop offers educators an overview of fundamental improvisational exercises and techniques and methods of adapting these to classroom instruction of any content area or grade level. This workshop is usually taught in three three-hour segments conducted on different days.

    9 hours - $1,900

    Individual teachers may take Improv for Creative Pedagogy at The Second City Training Center on the following days and times:

    New times TBA.

    To register, call The Second City Training Center at 312-664-3959

    Improvisation for Literacy

    This interactive workshop offers educators an introduction to the principles of improvisation and demonstrates how to use improvisational exercises to build such literacy skills as inference, sequencing, visualization, and vocabulary.

    3 hours - $700

    Individual teachers may take Improv for Literacy at The Second City Training Center on the following days and times:

    New times TBA.

    To register, call The Second City Training Center at 312-664-3959

    Improvisation Booster Shot – Improv Games and Exercises for Drama Teachers and Improv Coaches

    This interactive workshop gives improvisation and drama teachers an opportunity to expand their knowledge of improvisational exercises as well as providing new methods of presenting and coaching students in those exercises.

    3 hours - $700

    For all workshops, an additional travel charge is necessary for sites located more than 20 miles from North Ave. and Wells St., Chicago.

    Back to Top

  • Residencies are longer partnerships designed to fit each individual school’s needs. The goal of Second City Education residencies is to provide quality instruction for students while modeling improvisational tools for educators to continue to use in the classroom after the residency is over. Goals of residency can include, but are not limited to, developing literacy skills, exploring curriculum content areas, teaching drama and improvisation skills, or creating and performing an original presentation.

    Residencies include one or more of the following components:

    • Professional Development for teachers (generally Introduction to Improv for Creative Pedagogy)
    • Teaching Artist in Residence - minimum of six visits for short term residency
    • Final Presentation (minimum of 30 hours of instruction per class if goal of residency is student created scenes and performance)

    Sample Residencies

    Short Term Residency – focus on one classroom

    Consultation and planning with Second City education specialist
    Six one-hour workshops by a Second City teaching artist in one classroom
    One three-hour professional development workshop for school’s faculty
    One non-performance culminating activity for participating classroom

    $2,500

    Short Term Residency – focus on three classrooms

    Consultation and planning with Second City education specialist
    Six one-hour workshops by a Second City teaching artist in three classrooms
    One three-hour professional development workshop for school’s faculty
    One non-performance culminating activity for participating classrooms
    Program supplies and materials

    $4,000

    Long Term Residency – focus on one classroom

    Consultation and planning with Second City education specialist
    Thirty one-hour workshops by a Second City teaching artist in one classroom
    Nine-hour professional development workshop for up to sixteen teachers
    One performance or non-performance culminating activity
    Program supplies and materials

    $6,000

    Long Term Residency – focus on three classrooms

    Consultation and planning with Second City education specialist
    Thirty one-hour workshops by a Second City teaching artist in three classrooms
    Nine-hour professional development workshop for up to sixteen teachers
    One performance or non-performance culminating activity
    Program supplies and materials

    $12,000

    For all residencies, an additional travel charge is necessary for sites located more than 20 miles from North Ave. and Wells St., Chicago.

    Schools interested in residencies are encouraged to contact Jeff Gandy, at 312-475-3551 to discuss goals, objectives, scheduling and budget.

    Back to Top

  • We request six (6) weeks advance notice to schedule an education workshop, performance or residency. Pricing is for small group sizes minimum and maximum depends on the age range. Please email or call an estimate. Inquiries should be directed to Jeff Gandy, Youth Programs Manager, 312-475-3551 or jgandy@secondcity.com. Please include or be prepared to discuss the following:

    • Name and address of school or organization
    • Contact name, phone number and email address
    • Which workshop or performance you desire
    • Grade or age of participants
    • Participants’ experience level
    • Location of workshop or performance

    Once the details are confirmed, a contract will be issued. A 50% deposit is required when returning the signed contract. Contracts may be cancelled up to 30 days in advance of the event with a refund of the deposit less a $50 processing fee. Contracts cancelled less than 30 days of the event shall forfeit their deposit.

    Upon receipt of the signed contract and deposit, we will email the contact a user name and password which may be used to download the supporting materials for each workshop or performance. These are for the educator’s use before and after the workshop or performance and include such items as sample discussion questions and exercises, connections to curriculum standards and an assessment rubric.

    Back to Top

  • For more information, contact:
    Jeff Gandy, Youth & Education Programs Manager
    312-475-3551
    jgandy@secondcity.com

    The Second City Education Program
    1616 N. Wells Street
    Chicago, IL 60614

    Back to Top

    • After School Matters - Chicago, IL
    • Alcott Elementary School - Chicago, IL
    • American Alliance for Theatre and Education Conference - Chicago, IL
    • Antioch Community High School - Antioch, IL
    • Art Resources in Teaching - Chicago, IL
    • Association for Theatre in Higher Education Conference - Chicago, IL
    • Cardington Lincoln High School - Cardington, OH
    • Carver Middle School - Chicago, IL
    • Carver Primary School - Chicago, IL
    • Chicago Art Institute - Chicago, IL
    • Chicago Historical Society - Chicago, IL
    • Chicago Public Schools Fine and Performing Arts Magnet Cluster Program - Chicago, IL
    • Chicago Public Schools Literature and Magnet Cluster Program - Chicago, IL
    • Dewitt High School - Lansing, MI
    • Disney Magnet School - Chicago, IL
    • Forest View High School District 214 - Arlington Heights, IL
    • Gallery 37 - Chicago, IL
    • Independent Schools of the Central States Conference - Chicago, IL
    • Integrale - Ft. Mitchell, KY
    • Joseph Academy - Niles, IL
    • Kozminski Community Academy - Chicago, IL
    • Ladue High School - St. Louis, MO
    • LeMoyne Elementary School - Chicago, IL
    • Manhattan Travel - New York, NY
    • Mayer School - Chicago, IL
    • Montgomery Bell Academy - Nashville, TN
    • Mount Prospect High School - Mount Prospect, IL
    • National Council for Teachers of English Conference - Pittsburgh, PA
    • News in Education Conference - Chicago, IL
    • North Broward High School - Coconut, FL
    • North Shore Country Day School - Winnetka, IL
    • Our Kids Matter - Algonquin, IL
    • Parkway Northeast Middle School - Creve Coeur, MO
    • Peirce School for International Studies - Chicago, IL
    • Phillips Career Academy - Chicago, IL
    • Pope Elementary School - Chicago, IL
    • Prospect School District 214 - Mount Prospect, IL
    • Quincy Community Theatre - Quincy, IL
    • Reed Elementary School - Chicago, IL
    • St. Joseph School - Bradley, IL
    • Shoreline Tours - Kingsville, ON
    • Skyline Chicago Tours - Chicago, IL
    • Spry Elementary School - Chicago, IL
    • Stowe Academy - Chicago, IL
    • Summers-Knoll High School - Ann Arbor, MI
    • Summerfest Ensemble - Birmingham, AL
    • Tilden Career Academy - Chicago, IL
    • University of Delaware - Newark, DE
    • University of Wisconsin, Fox Valley - Menasha, WI
    • Whitman College - Walla Walla, WA
    • Waterloo West High School - Waterloo, IO
    • Carpenter Fine Arts – Chicago, IL
    • John Handley High – Roanoke, VA
    • Franklin Fine Arts Center – Chicago, IL
    • St. Francis High School – Chicago, IL
    • Neil School – Chicago, IL
    • Morgan Academy – Chicago, IL
    • Saint Joseph School – McHenry, IL
    • Kids Who Care – Ft. Worth, TX
    • New World Travel/ Randolph School – Huntsville, AL
    • Green Garden – McHenry, IL
    • Dewitt High School
    • Chicago Public Schools – Chicago, IL
    • Florence B. Price School – Chicago, IL
    • Holy Angels School – Oak Park, IL
    • Farragut Career Academy – Chicago, IL
    • Walter Reed Elementary – Chicago, IL
    • Pierce School – Chicago, IL
    • Shoreline, St. Gabrielle's School - Ontario
    • Marconi Academy – Chicago, IL
    • Ouincy Community Theater – Springfield, IL
    • Jack Benny Center for the Arts – Waukegan, IL
    • NorthShore Ulster Group – Chicago, IL
    • Girl Scout Group – Lake County, IL
    • Huron Heights Secondary School
    • Whitman College – Lake County, IL
    • Waterloo West-Tally Ho Tours
    • University of Wisconsin – Madison, WI
    • Women in Film – Chicago, IL
    • Altamont School – Birmingham, AL
    Back to Top