Follow The Training Center
The mission of The Second City Training Center is to teach the skills which 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.
How do you enroll in classes?
Register Online – You can see all scheduled class times and if space is available through our website. Check out our full catalog of classes or let us help you find a class. Once enrolled you will receive confirmation via e-mail.
Come in person or call – Our phone number is 312-664-3959. We’re open Monday through Thursday 10am to 10pm, Friday 10am to 7pm, and 11am to 7pm on weekends.
Payment must be made at the time of enrollment in order to secure your spot in class. Payment plans are available. New Students, there is a one-time student membership fee of $20 which will automatically be added to your tuition.
Where are classes held?
Most classes are held at The Second City Training Center in the Piper’s Alley building, 230 W North Avenue in Old Town. A small number of specialty classes may also take place at offsite locations. Classrooms are confirmed within a week of the class start time. We also have online classes!
Training Center Programs
Adult Program Dates
Term 1 2018
Term 2 2018
Term 3 2018
Term 4 2018
Term 5 2018
Term 6 2018
Kids & Teens Program Dates
Spring (1) 2018
Spring (2) 2018
Fall (1) 2018
Fall (2) 2018
Being a Student
Take advantage of these unique offerings available only to students of The Second City Training Center. All you need is your student card given to you on the first day of class! To receive a discount you must show your Training Center ID card.
If your business would like to engage with our students by providing discounts or special offers, contact Jeremy Dabbs.
All Training Center policies and procedures are available in our student handbook.
Second City ticket deals – Training Center students can get FREE tickets for Second City Mainstage or e.t.c. shows for Sunday-Thursday performances if the show is not sold out. Monday tickets can only be picked up 10 minutes before show time; all others can be reserved in person within one hour of show time.
Students can get FREE walk-up tickets for Severn Darden Graduate Program shows. Come see our talented grads every Saturday night at 7:30, 9:00, and 10:30 in the de Maat Studio Theatre.
Students also receive discounted admission to shows in Donny’s Skybox, de Maat Studio Theater, Beat Lounge, and Blackout Cabaret. Free tickets are available for all class performances, including the Conservatory Level 6 shows on Mondays at 8pm in the e.t.c. Theater.
All shows subject to availability. Visit or call the Second City Box Office at 312-337-3992.
VIP Pass – The Second City Training Center VIP Pass is an all-access pass to ALL shows in the Second City Training Center for one low price! Each term you have the option to renew your subscription and gain access to any shows taking place in Donny’s Skybox, the de Maat Studio Theater, Judy’s Beat Lounge, or the Blackout Cabaret. It’s the best way to get the best deal for some of the best comedy in the city!
Let’s channel our inner Maria Von Trapp and start at the very beginning. For improv training most of our students begin with the Improv Level A class. You do not need to have any previous acting or improv experience to begin the Improv program. If you have completed a degree program in Theatre, then you may enroll in our Improv for Actors program; you have to be approved to take the IFA program so you will need to submit your theatre resume for review. If you have completed a full, year-long improv training program (equivalent to our Improv program or from another like iO or Annoyance) and you have completed at least one acting course (post-high school), then you qualify to audition for our Conservatory program. You can also begin in the first level of our Comedy Writing or Acting programs, depending on your interests. If you need any help deciding which classes to take, just give us a call at (312) 664-3959. We will always be happy to chat with you about your interests and goals and figure out the best place for you to begin.
Please stand on the mark in the middle of the stage and deliver the following monologue: “No, I do not have to audition to start taking classes at The Second City. Only some advanced programs like the Conservatory and the Music Improv program require auditions, though some specialized classes and workshops may have prerequisites.”
Words on a page. In the Acting program you will work with scripted material such as monologues and scenes from plays. The Improv program focuses on unscripted games, exercises and scenes.
Because the Training Center itself is not an accredited institution of higher learning, just an awesome professional training center, students are generally ineligible for college credit. We also cannot file the paperwork for international students to obtain student visas. However, if you are currently enrolled in college, we have this amazing program called Comedy Studies which is an accredited college program that we run in Chicago in partnership with Columbia College. This is a semester-long study in comedy for which students do receive college credit.
We offer classes in our Kids and Teens Program for students ages 4-18. Students must be at least 19 to attend classes in our adult programs, but there is no upper age limit. Why, even Methuselah himself could come in and learn to improvise!
Tuition fees should be paid at the time of registration in order to hold your spot in the class. Tuition fees are non-refundable and non-transferrable. We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and checks. If you pay in cash, please bring the exact amount as we may not have change. Payment plans are available at the time of registration, but surcharges will be applied.
A limited number of full and partial scholarships based on need or merit are available for Summer Adult Immersions, Kids and Teen Summer Camps, and Kids and Teen year-round classes. Applications are available online on each program’s pages. Currently the family of Writing student Jim Larsen is offering a scholarship for students in the Writing 1-6 program. Apply here—this scholarship is not administered by the Training Center; no questions please. Volunteer positions come up very regularly and are the easiest way for adult students to receive discounted tuition. Volunteers are usually sought to assist with high volume events at the Training Center or to represent the Training Center at various events and locations around Chicago. People who volunteer regularly may be considered for regular work study positions. To apply to be a volunteer (also known as the Second City Dream Team), please click the Work Study link farther up the page.
You mean you have something better to do? Well, okay. You have up to one year to return and continue with the next level in your program. If it has been longer than a year, you will need to repeat the last level you completed. Students returning from hiatus should call the office (312-664-3959) to be placed in a class or on a waiting list.
The most direct answer is the Conservatory, our cornerstone training program designed to give you first-hand experience in the Second City method. It caters to the aspiring professional, and it qualifies you to audition for our house teams and other advanced programs. Admission is by audition only and requires some previous experience, so you may need to start with training in our Improvisation program. However, great Second City actors also have to be able to perform scripted material and create believable characters on stage (try our Acting program), and on the resident stages they write their own material (try our Comedy Writing program). And they all have to be comfortable with music and singing (we have a variety of music classes!). These programs can be great preparation for the Conservatory, but students also frequently enroll in them after graduation from the Conservatory to round out their skills and deepen the understanding of their craft. The bottom line is all of the programs here will give you practical experience that will make you a creative powerhouse.
Although many of the resident company actors are graduates of the Training Center, completion of any program does not guarantee employment with the company. It takes a great deal of training and experience to become a member of the Mainstage or e.t.c. cast. Most of the resident actors have trained and performed for a number of years before being hired by Second City. Graduates of the Conservatory and Music Improv programs are encouraged to audition for the Training Center house ensembles. Performing with the house ensembles are an individual’s best chance of being hired by The Second City. Conservatory graduates are also eligible to audition for The Second City National Touring Company.