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
2014 IMMERSION DATES
Session 1: June 2-6 CLOSED
Session 2: June 9-13 CLOSED
Session 3: June 16-20 CLOSED
Session 4: June 23-27 CLOSED
Session 5: July 7-11 CLOSED
Session 6: July 14-18 CLOSED
Session 7: July 21-25 CLOSED
Session 8: July 28-August 1 CLOSED
Session 9: August 4-8 CHECK AVAILABILITY
Session 10: August 11-15 CHECK AVAILABILITY
Session 11: August 18-22 CHECK AVAILABILITY
Session 12: August 25-29 CHECK AVAILABILITY
Winter 2014: December 15-19 CHECK AVAILABILITY
Registration for all Immersion sessions ends at noon Central time on the Friday before the session begins.
SCHOLARSHIPS Scholarships are available for Summer Immersion sessions. The deadline for 2014 applications was April 1. Applicants will be notified of scholarship decisions by May 19.
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!
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, including ensemble work, play, and beginning scenework. Available in every Session except summer Session 8.
Improvisation 2: Character and Scenework—Learn many techniques for developing strong characters, including status, point of view, and subtext. Also explore the elements of good scenework, such as beats, environment, and emotional life. Introduces basics of Longform. Builds on concepts from Improv Immersion 1.
Improvisation 3: Advanced Scenework—Building upon the foundation of level 2, students will deal with a more mature type of improvisation that can be harvested for sketch. Focus on topics such as Second City scene structure, advanced character creation, acting, reference level, and using music to find scenes and characters. Available in Sessions 3 & 7.
Improvisation 4: Improvisation into Sketch—Dive into how Second City uses improvisation to develop sketch material. Explore concepts like satire, using improv sets, re-improvising scenes, and the key elements of a Second City running order. Available in Sessions 4 & 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 except summer Session 8.
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.
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 in Sessions 3 & 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 in Sessions 4 & 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. A full schedule of Specialty Immersions is available during our Summer sessions and will be added here as they become available.
Specialty Immersions Tuition: Each course is priced individually. Check the course details for pricing. Registration for all Immersion sessions ends at noon Central time on the Friday before the session begins.
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 Immersion Coordinator Julia DiFerdinando 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 10 (August 11-15) from 10am-5pm; $525. Prerequisite: Improv Immersion Level 2.
- 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 (August 11-15) from 10am-5pm; $525. Prerequisite: Previous writing or performance experience recommended.
- Intro to 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. Available from 10am-5pm each day, taught by Terrance Brown in Session 11 (August 18-22); $600. Prerequisite: Open to all students.
- Stand-up—Develop yourself as a solo comedic performer by writing and workshopping your own material. By understanding how earlier stand-up comics evolved, students experiment outside their comfort zone and experiment until discovering their own unique style. Students will perform in a class showcase on a Second City stage on the final day. Taught by Ever Mainard, available in Session 9 (August 4-8) from 10am-5pm; $550. Prerequisite: Improv or Writing Immersion Level 2.