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Hollywood Training Center Hollywood Training Center Student Handbook
  • Intro

    We are dedicated to carrying on those traditions in an environment that teaches great people how to perform, not just how to be funny; that encourages the student to discover their own voice through the ensemble process; that further enhances your career as an actor or writer (if that's what you're looking for) by learning how to create real characters with impassioned points of view and humor.

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  • Mission Statement

    The focus of the Second City Training Centre is to teach the skills that underlie the work on our resident stages. The classes, taught by professionals working in their fields, are dedicated to helping students develop their artistic voice, both individually and within an ensemble, and to provide the tools and techniques needed to express that voice. The Second City Training Centre draws from the company's history of ensemble improvisation, satire, and revue comedy as developed and practiced by its actors, directors, and teachers and serves as a laboratory for the exploration of the future of the art form.

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  • Classes & Attendance

    Switching Class Times
    We attempt to place you in a class time which is convenient for you when you enter the program. If your schedule changes and it is impossible for you to attend your scheduled class time, let us know as soon as possible. We will make every effort to place you in a new class time which is convenient for you. However, once you are placed in a class time, we cannot guarantee switching you into a different time within the same term. If other classes within your level are full, you may need to wait a term or even two to get into a different time slot. Any student who switches class times/days without the permission from the Training Center automatically terminates his/her placement in the program and forfeits his or her tuition.

    Attendance and Making Up Classes
    For an 8 week class, you must attend at least 6 of the classes with your regular day and time. You may miss up to 2 of the 8 classes, but you must make them up in a different day and time within the same week of your missed class. If you miss 3 classes, you will not be able to advance to the next level, even if you make up the classes. Additionally, if you arrive for class 20 minutes or more after it starts or if you leave the class 20 minutes or more before it ends, this will be recorded as an absence. Please plan to attend your class for the entire 3 hour period. Class performances are counted towards your attendance, and, if missed, will could as one of your absences.

    Missing more than one of your scheduled class times can be grounds for repeating a term. Even though a student may make up their missed classes, the student is also required to be part of an ensemble. Missing their regularly scheduled class jeopardizes their involvement within the ensemble.

    Conservatory Performances
    You are required to see at least some of each term's Conservatory Performance's on Sunday evenings (Levels 2-4). The dates of these performances are listed in the newsletter. You are also required to see Sunday night Level 5 shows twice a session. We recommend that you try to come once early on and then once near the end of the run.

    Required Classes
    The Second City Training Center reserves the right to require writing and/or acting classes for individual students, as needed. Should an individual not complete any required class, The Training Center reserves the right to hold the student back a term until the requirement is satisfied.

    Returning Students
    Sometimes a student may wish or need to take time off from the Training Center due to personal reasons. Should this occur, please contact the Training Center immediately. Please note that when you return, the Training Center reserves the right to place you in an appropriate level at its discretion.

    Returning students must pay the tuition rate that is applicable at the time of rejoining the Training Center. Any student returning after more than one (1) year of absence is required to rejoin the program at a level determined by the Training Center.

    Substitute Instructors
    A substitute teacher may sometimes be necessary due to the fact that our faculty is comprised of working artists.

    Auditing Classes
    On occasion, and subject to approval, individuals are permitted to audit a class. Approval from the Administrative Director is required in advance.

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  • Registration and Tuition

    Registration for a term begins on Monday of the 5th week of classes for the previous term. 



    Early Bird Registration is the first week of registration for a term (Monday through Sunday of the 5th week of classes for the previous term). During this period, current students who are re-enrolling for classes will receive a $10 discount!. Spend it wisely. For current students re-enrolling in classes, only!

    Regular Registration is the period in-between the Early Bird and Late Registration periods (Monday of the 6th week through Sunday of the 7th week of classes for the previous term. During this time, the exact amount of tuition is due. For current students re-enrolling in classes, only!

    Late Registration is that cold and dark time after Regular Registration ends (Monday of the 8th week of classes for the previous term through the time when classes begin). During this time, a $25 late fee will be added to your tuition. This late fee is non-negotiable. For current students re-enrolling in classes, only!


    If you're a brand-new student taking classes at Second City for the first time, then welcome. We hope that you have a wonderful time at our Training Center. New students will be assessed a one-time only processing fee of $15.00 when they sign up for their first class with us. This fee will be added to your tuition amount and is applied to all new students.


    Coming back? Fantastic! Keep in mind, though, that continuing students (students who are taking classes consecutively, without a break) will have to be placed before we can place any students coming back from a sabbatical. Once we are sure that current students are placed, we will open the classes up to you prodigal students.

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  • Miscellaneous

    Bulletin Boards
    The Training Center bulletin boards are located in the hallway outside the office. Make a point to check the board and stay current on Training Center info. You are held responsible for any information posted there.

    Student Forum
    Please visit the Student Forum to discuss a variety of topics with students and instructors from all over the world!

    Clothing For Classes
    Wear comfortable clothing – something you can roll around on the floor in and not worry about. Be prepared to make yourself warmer or cooler no matter what the weather may be like outside.

    Clothing For Performances
    Students are reminded that when performing at The Second City audience members have an expectation that they are viewing a theatrical presentation and not a rehearsal. Performers are to wear "upscale casual" clothes and footwear that they can move around in comfortably. We discourage performers from wearing jeans or t-shirts with any logo or writing. The staff reserves the right to ask the performer to change their stage clothes if the teacher or director deems the clothing to be inappropriate to the class show.

    Crime is part of life in the big city. Try not to bring anything of value with you to the theatre and never leave your belongings unattended. The Second City may not be held responsible for any lost or stolen articles.

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  • Training Center ID

    At the start of each term, students who have paid in full will receive their Training Center ID. It is your responsibility to make sure that you receive your ID and that you do not lose it.

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  • The Alumni Invitational

    Every Saturday at 9:30pm
    Edmund Serves Coffee: The Second City Alumni Invitational

    Each week, Alumni from Second City’s resident and touring companies in Chicago, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, and Toronto improvise onstage together. Alumni who have recently performed include: Joe Flaherty, Andy Cobb, Josh Funk, Frank Caeti, Nyima Funk, David Razowsky, Marc Warzecha, Rachael Hamilton, Dee Ryan, Jenna Jolovitz, Evan Gore, Jerry Minor, Theresa Mulligan, Peter Murietta, Eric Price, Brian Gallivan, and more!

    Tickets are $10 at the door or visit for advanced ticket sales.

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  • Suggested Reading List

    The Second City Backastage of The Worlds Greatest Comedy Theater, Sheldon Patinkin
    Improvisation for the Theatre, Viola Spolin
    Impro, Keith Johnstone
    Musical Improv Comedy, Michael Pollock
    Musical Direction for Improv & Sketch Comedy, Michael Pollock
    The Second City Almanac of Improvisation, Anne Libera
    Improvisation, Mick Napier
    Days and Nights at The Second City : A Memoir, with Notes on Staging Review Theatre, Bernard Sahlin
    Truth in Comedy, C. Halpern, Del Close & K. Johnson
    The Comic Toolbox, John Vourhaus
    The Playwright's Workbook, Jean-Claude van Itallie
    SCTV -- Behind The Scenes, Dave Thomas
    The Second City, Donna McCrohan
    The Compass, Janet Coleman
    Something Wonderful Right Away, Jeffrey Sweet
    Handbook of Games, Neva L. Boyd
    Acting, The First Six Lessons, Boleslavsky
    The Actor At Work, Robert Benedetti
    Act of Being, Charles Marowitz
    Audition, Michael Shurtleff
    Speaking Clearly, Modisett and Luter
    The History of the Theatre, Oscar G. Brockett
    Sanford Meisner On Acting, Sanford Meisner
    Advice to the Players, Robert Lewis
    Introduction to Stanislavsky, Sonja Moore
    An Incomplete Education, Jones and Wilson
    Comedy Is A Serious Business, Harry Ruskin
    Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Hirsch

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