Adult Intensives

Are you looking to visit to experience the vitality of the sketch and improvisation community? Are you a local who just wants to spend some concentrated time digging into The Second City method of 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 the comedy scene!

Our intensives fall into a few categories:

New! Improv A-E Intensives

3-Day Intensives

5-Day Intensives

Specialty Intensives

New! Monthlong Improv: Advanced Program


Apply for a Summer Intensive scholarship here!

Have questions? Our FAQ can be found here.

You can also see the full intensive schedule for 2020 here!

Improv A - E

5-Day Intensive: Improv Level A

In Improv Level A, you’ll start to learn the skills needed to create strong improvised scenes. Some of these skills include building ensemble, giving and taking focus, object work, and, one of the most crucial fundamentals of improv, the concept of “yes, and.”…

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5-Day Intensive: Improv Level B

Improv Level B introduces students to the skills needed for character work, an element essential to dynamic improvised scenes.
Students learn how to improvise characters. They explore creating characters through internal motivations, like point of view, status, wants and intentions, and external ones, like experimenting with physicality. They learn how to…

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5-Day Intensive: Improv Level C

Improv Level C introduces you to the skills needed for scene work, including emotion, listening, and transformation, as well as continues to hone skills learned in Levels A & B like ensemble, object work, and “yes, and.”You’ll also begin improvising scenes, exploring exercises that isolate the different skills needed for…

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5-Day Intensive: Improv Level D

In Improv Level D, you’ll explore advanced-level scene work and focus on synthesizing all the elements that go into strong, well-rounded, dynamic scenes: like character, emotion, ensemble, environment, relationship, status, transformation, and more. You’ll also continue to learn how to improvise group scenes, and receive an introduction to scene styles…

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5-Day Intensive: Improv Level E

Level E is all about performance. You’ll take everything you have learned in Levels A-D and use those skills to put together a fully improvised, 45-minute show for friends and family. You learn multiple aspects of improv performance, including communicating with an audience, engaging in a rehearsal process, and introducing,…

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3-Day Intensives

3-Day Intensive: Writing

Explore how to create sketches in the Second City style. Learn about scene structure and writing from a character’s point of view. You will learn the technique of “writing from abundance” which is where you learn to write improvisationally. This technique incorporates the “Yes, and” philosophy to your writing as…

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3-Day Intensive: Improv & Writing

Explore the principles and processes of improv in the morning leading into an introduction to sketch comedy in the afternoon….

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3-Day Intensive: Improv

Get an introduction to the fundamentals of improvisation. You will learn how to create environments on stage and how to develop characters and interact with your scene partner. You will learn the tenets of “Yes, and” as well as some well established improv games used by performers in the Chicago…

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5-Day Improv Intensives

5-Day Intensive: Improv 1

A detailed look at the principles and processes of improv for beginners, including ensemble work, play, and beginning scenework. Improv Intensives should be taken in consecutive order. Students with some previous experience may be able to skip this course; please submit details of your training or experience to 

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5-Day Intensive: Improv 2

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. Builds on concepts from Level 1.
Improv Intensives should be taken in consecutive order. Students with some previous experience may be able to…

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5-Day Intensive: Improv 3

Building upon the foundation of Level 2, students will deal with a more mature type of improv that can be harvested for sketch. Focus on topics such as advanced character creation, scene/premise structure, acting, reference level, and using music to find scenes and characters….

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5-Day Intensive: Improv 4

Dive into how Second City uses improv to develop sketch material. Explore concepts like satire, using improv sets, re-improvising scenes, and the key elements of a Second City running order….

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5-Day Improv for Actors Intensives

5-Day Intensive: Improv for Actors 1

The Improv for Actors 1 Intensive is a fast-paced course for actors interested in how to develop the essential tool of improv for rehearsal, performance, and auditions . Improv for Actors is geared toward both working and post-grad actors who are looking to expand their craft with skills of improvisation….

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5-Day Intensive: Improv for Actors 2

Like the first level, Improv for Actors 2 helps trained and post-grad actors who are interested in further exploring improvisation and learn how to be a better actor. However, IFA-2 also empowers these actors with the tools for advancement in the improv community. Completion of Improv for Actors 2 fulfills…

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5-Day Improv & Writing Intensives

5-Day Intensive: Improv & Writing

Explore the principles and processes of improv in the morning leading into an introduction to sketch comedy in the afternoon….

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5-Day Stand-Up Intensives

5-Day Intensive: Stand-Up 1

Develop yourself as a solo comedic performer by writing and workshopping your own material. By understanding how earlier stand-up comics evolved, you will experiment outside your comfort zone and experiment until discovering your own unique style. Stand-Up Intensives should be taken in consecutive order. Students with some previous experience may…

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5-Day Intensive: Stand-Up 2

Build on the skills developed in Stand-Up 1 and level up your game while honing a unique style. Through a variety of exercises, experimentation, and personal feedback, you’ll further develop your comedic voice as a writer and performer while learning more about the stand-up scene in Chicago and beyond….

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5-Day Writing Intensives

5-Day Intensive: Writing 1

An introduction to sketch comedy techniques including characterization, comic premise and story structure….

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5-Day Intensive: Writing 2

A further exploration of using comic premises to develop original sketch comedy for students who have completed Writing Intensive 1….

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5-Day Intensive: Writing 3

Expand your comedy writer’s toolkit. From full-cast scenes to monologues, discover the types of sketches that round-out a Second City revue….

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5-Day Intensive: Writing 4

Refine your comic voice and strengthen your skill in revision while learning premises that break the rules – clothesline scenes, songs and more….

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Specialty 5-Day Intensives

5-Day Intensive: Long Form Improv

Designed for students who have completed the Improv Intensives Levels 1 and 2 or equivalent classwork, the Long Form Intensive 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…

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5-Day Intensive: Advanced Long Form

Interested in taking your form up to the next level? Want to create a new form? Sick of being in a “form box”? Once you are done with this class you will have new shiny skills to play with any ensemble in a structure that supports your group’s skill set…

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5-Day Intensive: Intro to Sketch Comedy Directing

Have you ever wondered what a sketch/improv director actually does? Have you accidentally become your sketch group’s director and don’t want to mess it up? This workshop will dive into the art and science of directing sketch comedy, exploring many aspects of the role, from casting to opening night. Learn…

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5-Day Intensive: Intro to Writing for TV & Film

Intro to Writing for TV & Film is for anyone who wants to learn the crucial basics of writing for film and television or anyone with a great idea of a movie who needs help putting it into (properly formatted) words. It gives you a strong foundation for TV and…

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5-Day Intensive: Making the Improvised Movie

This intensive gives adult students the chance to do one of the most fun and unique classroom assignments we offer in the filmmaker program at The Harold Ramis Film School – the improvised movie! You will learn improv basics like creating from abundance, collaboration, and how to use improv to…

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5-Day Intensive: Storytelling

Whether you’re hoping to perform at a storytelling event or you just want to get better at telling the story from that one time at camp, this fast-paced, immersive introduction to the universal art of storytelling is the class for you. Over the course of a week, you’ll learn how…

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Advanced Improv

Monthlong Improv: Advanced Program

At The Second City, our performers create and perform their own material, which means we are actors, writers, and improvisers all in one. This month long intensive is a deep dive into the unique Second City process of using improvisation to develop original content with a point of view. You…

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