We have classes for all ages and levels of experience. Browse our course catalog, or register now!
Are you looking to visit Chicago to fully experience the vitality of its sketch and improv community? Are you a local who wants to spend some time exploring writing and improvisation? Our immersion programs attract students from all over the country and abroad. Come learn new skills, meet new friends, and take advantage of Chicago’s rich comedy scene.
Four levels of Improvisation and Writing classes are offered. Complete all four levels, or just visit for a week or two. In the summer months, the Training Center offers a variety of Specialty Immersions for advanced students. Immersion classes are Monday through Friday each week, and Improv/Writing Level 1 tuition includes a ticket to a resident Second City show. Our Summer Immersions coincide with the youth and teen Summer Camps--ideal for parents and kids who want to take class at the same time.
Improv and Comedy Writing classes will be held in morning or afternoon sessions. Specialty Immersions are either half-day or all-day classes.
Morning sessions: Monday-Friday, 10am - 1pm
Afternoon sessions: Monday - Friday, 2pm - 5pm
|1 Week Tuition
Comedy Writing, $285
Improv & Comedy Writing Combo, $525
|2 Week Tuition
Comedy Writing, $525
Improv & Comedy Writing Combo, $1000
|3 Week Tuition
Comedy Writing, $810
Improv & Comedy Writing Combo, $1500
|4 Week Tuition
Comedy Writing, $1000
Improv & Comedy Writing Combo, $1900
2013/14 IMMERSION DATES
Session 1: June 3-7 CHECK AVAILABILITY
Session 2: June 10-14 CHECK AVAILABILITY
Session 3: June 17-21 CHECK AVAILABILITY
Session 4: June 24-28 CHECK AVAILABILITY
Session 5: July 8-12 CHECK AVAILABILITY
Session 6: July 15-19 CHECK AVAILABILITY
Session 7: July 22-26 CHECK AVAILABILITY
Session 8: July 29-August 2 CHECK AVAILABILITY
Session 9: August 5-9 CHECK AVAILABILITY
Session 10: August 12-16 CHECK AVAILABILITY
Session 11: August 19-23 CHECK AVAILABILITY
Session 12: August 26-30 CHECK AVAILABILITY
Registration for all Immersion sessions ends at 5:00pm Central on the Friday before the session begins.
Scholarships are available for Summer Immersions, but the deadline for 2013 has passed. Applicants will be notified of a decision by May 17--no phone calls or emails please.
Where to stay in Chicago?
The Second City Training Center DOES NOT provide housing for Immersion students. Students are responsible for arranging their own accommodations. See our "Where to Stay" list for recommended hotels, hostels, and dormitories in the Chicago area, some with special rates for Second City students!
Please do not make travel arrangements until you receive a confirmation from the Training Center that you are enrolled.
Prerequisites: Open to all students. Improv 1 Immersion must be completed before taking Improv 2 Immersion, etc.
Improvisation 1: Fundamentals--A detailed look at the principles and processes of improvisation for both beginning and experienced performers. Students will study the fundamentals of the improvised scene including character, environment, and ensemble work. Available in every Session.
Improvisation 2: Scene Work and Introduction to Long Form--An expansion of the fundamentals that focuses on scenic improvisation for students who have completed Improvisation Immersion 1. Available in even-numbered Sessions.
Improvisation 3: Character--Following up on Improvisation Immersion 2, this course focuses on character and emotion to help inspire your scene work. The class helps the actor look within him/herself to find more powerful choices. Available only in Session 3 and Session 7.
Improvisation 4: Advanced Scene Work--Draw upon the outside world to inspire your scenework. Dig into the environment and focus on looking to your scene partner to help advance your scene work as well as you as a performer. Available only in Session 4 and Session 8.
Prerequisites: Open to all students. Writing 1 Immersion must be completed before taking Writing 2 Immersion, etc.
Writing 1: Fundamentals & Components of Sketch Comedy--An introduction to sketch comedy techniques including characterization, comic premise and story structure. Available in every Session.
Writing 2: Working with Premises for Sketch Comedy--A further exploration of using comic premises to develop original sketch comedy for students who have completed Writing Immersion 1. Available in even-numbered Sessions.
Writing 3: Elements of a Comedy Revue--Expand your comedy writer's toolkit. From full-cast scenes to monologues, discover the types of sketches that round-out a Second City revue. Available only in Session 3 and Session 7.
Writing 4: Advanced Topics in Sketch--Refine your comic voice and strengthen your skill in revision while learning premises that break the rules - clothesline scenes, songs and more. Available only in Session 4 and Session 8.
Specialty Immersions are courses in a particular topic often with special guest instructors. The Specialty Immersions run concurrently with our regular Improv and Writing Immersions. These are available as half-day or full-day sessions depending on the course.
Specialty Immersions Tuition: Each course is priced individually. Check the course details for pricing.
Prerequisites: Each Specialty Immersion will have its own prerequisites or acceptance can be given by permission of the program head. Previous training will be considered toward the prerequisites. Contact Adult Program Coordinator Stephanie Gruender at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Training Center at 312-664-3959 to obtain permission.
- Process with Michael Gellman--Veteran director, actor, improviser and master instructor Michael Gellman leads an exploration of the acclaimed improvisation techniques he has developed and used to create long scenic pieces and one-act plays. Building on the basics, students will delve deeper into emotional honesty, maintaining a point of concentration within a scene, connecting to your partner onstage, and exploring and heightening to advance story. Tuition includes a copy of the book Process: An Improviser's Journey by Michael Gellman and Mary Scruggs. Available in Session 3 and Session 10 from 10am-5pm; $525. Prerequisite: Improv Immersion Level 2.
- Long Form--Designed for students who have completed the Improv Immersions Levels 1 and 2, the Long Form Immersion delves deeper into ensemble work and creating full-length improvised performance. Students will work on advanced scenic skills, character development and relationship, editing, and how to execute and design numerous different "forms" for long-form performance. Over the course of the week, students will gain a deeper understanding of both their own improvisational style, working with an ensemble, and how to create a cohesive and entertaining long-form improv piece. Taught by Susan Messing and Rachael Mason, available in Session 5 from 10am-5pm; $550. Prerequisite: Improv Immersion Level 2.
- Acting/Auditioning--The focus of this class is obtaining tools from the intellectual side of the human condition and on the audition process. Each student enrolled needs to come to the first class with a memorized monologue. The parameters of the monologue will be emailed to you before beginning the course. Taught by Head of the Acting Program Michael Pieper, available in Session 1 from 10am-5pm; $525. Prerequisite: Open to all students.
- Clown & Physical Comedy--This Immersion combines two very related disciplines for a challenging, eye-opening course. During the morning, students will learn elements of physical comedy and slapstick, simple mime technique, character movement, and an introduction to clowning. In the afternoon, students will participate in intensive movement and character-based improvisation exercises aimed toward the development of a deeper connection to the actor's body. By connecting these two disciplines, this Immersion is sure to heighten and polish the skills of any actor or improviser. Taught by Dean Evans, available in Session 12 from 10am-5pm; $550. Prerequisite: Improv Immersion Level 1.
- 500 Clown Technique--Train with one of the leading Clown Theater companies in the United States, 500 Clown. This Immersion begins with a strong focus on getting into your body and out of your head. Games and exercises are used to awaken and encourage a sense of pleasure, to increase ability to listen both internally and externally, to heighten awareness of one's immediate environment, and to develop a way of generating action from impulse. Students develop a tase for trouble and will cross the line. Led by 500 Clown founding artistic director Adrian Danzig, this is an opportunity to move toward risk and, if students are patient, to experience failure-the crucible of creativity. After establishing a sense of presence, participants explore partnerships. The relationship to one's partner is the single most predictably generative assest performers have on stage. In this class, students explore action and liveness, expand the idea of partnership to include inanimate objects, physical features of architecture. Students will feel many things. And it might be funny sometimes! Available in Session 7, class will be from 10am-5:30pm with a 1.5 hour break; $650. Prerequisite: Open to all students.
- Music Improv Full-Day Immersion--Explore the world of the improvised song. An intensive offering of short-form musical games, long-form musical improvisation, vocal technique, fundamentals of comedic songwriting, rhyming, character-through-music, and genre study will deeply enrich participants' understanding of the craft. This immersion is perfect for those looking to challenge themselves with a more advanced form of improvisation that guarantees to strengthen traditional improv skills as well as provide rewarding experiences with the art of "singprov". Taught by Assistant Music Director Stephanie McCullough in Session 5 and by Head of the Music Program Jeffrey Bouthiette in Session 9 from 10am-5pm; $525. Prerequisite: Improv Immersion Level 1.
- Music Improv Half-Day Immersion--Explore the fundamentals of improvised song. Using vocal exercises, rhyming, character-based scenework, and short-form musical games, participants will learn to ground their improvised songs and scenes in character and emotion. Take advantage of the style and theatricality of musical theater to strengthen your existing improv skills and learn to approach the improvised song with confidence. Available in Session 7 and Session 10 from 10am-1pm; $260. Prerequisite: Some improv experience recommended.
- Comedic Songwriting Half-Day Immersion--Learn the fundamentals of comedic songwriting. Immerse yourself in song structure, rhyming, and music, and discover how to locate and heighten your character point of view to comedic effect. Develop your ear for musical style, and learn how to write lyrics that are both funny and inherently musical. Designed for musicians and nonmusicians alike, students will leave with a working knowledge of the mechanics of songwriting, and how to apply that to musical sketch comedy. Taught by Head of the Music Program Jeffrey Bouthiette, available in Session 7 from 2-5pm; $260. Prerequisite: Open to all students.
- Musical Direction for Improv and Sketch Comedy--The musical director is an essential part of the work done at the Second City. In this Immersion, explore all the facets of being a Second City musical director, including underscoring improvisational scenes, improvising songs, collaborating with improvisers to create original musical songs and sketches, sound design and technology, and vocal coaching. Learn about the business and the different opportunities available for a music director in the improv comedy world. Taught by Head of the Music Program Jeffrey Bouthiette, available in Session 8 from 2-5pm; $525. Prerequisite: Intermediate piano skill required.
- Comedy Writing for TV & Film--A beginner's version of our Advanced TV & Film course! Writers will learn the improvisational brainstorming skills utilized in any writer's room. Explore visual writing, story structure and character in preparation for creating work for TV and Film. Discuss existing scripts, generate plot points, and create engaging comedic characters to populate and inspire your longer script. Taught by Caitlin Kunkel, available in Session 6 and Session 7 from 10am-5pm; $525. Prerequisite: Open to all students.
- Writing Strong Women--Create memorable female characters who DRIVE the scene. Writers (women AND men) will create sketches, monologues and character pieces through writing exercises, improvisation and a variety of writing assignments. Taught by Anne-Marie Saviano, available in Session 7 from 2-5pm; $260. Prerequisite: Previous writing experience recommended.
- Writing LGBT Comedy--Explore comedy where 'gay' is the given, not the punchline. Build your voice and discover your point of view while you create memorable characters, sketches, scenes and comedic songs that go beyond the stereotype. Taught by Head of the Writing Program Andy Eninger, available in Session 9 from 10am-1pm; $260. Prerequisite: Open to all students.
- Solo Performance: Solo Sketch + Solo Improv--Learn Solo Improv techniques to discover your personal voice, create engaging characters, and craft solo sketches. This challenging blend of improvisation and writing exercises will prepare intermediate comedians, solo performers, writers and actors to create and perform solo material. Includes a class showcase on a Second City stage. Taught by Head of the Writing Program Andy Eninger, available in Session 10 from 10am-5pm; $525. Prerequisite: Previous writing or performance experience recommended.