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!

3-Day Intensives

3-Day Intensives

Our 3-day Intensives are a fun introduction to the techniques done at The Second City. Got a little more time on your hands? Check out our 5-day Improv and Writing Intensives! We also offer several Specialty Intensives during the summer.

WHERE TO STAY IN CHICAGO? The Second City Training Center does not provide housing for 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!

Improv 3-Day Intensive

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 improv scene.

September 13-15, 2019
November 25-27, 2019

Writing 3-Day Intensive

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 a way to create freely and avoid writer’s block.

November 25-27, 2019

Improv & Writing 3-Day Intensive

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

July 5-7, 2019
October 12-14, 2019
December 28-30, 2019

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5-Day Intensives

5-Day Intensives

Our 5-Day Adult Intensives are a crash course in the philosophies and methods that Second City uses to find, explore, and create material. These programs are a great way to study our creative process, and to get you excited about how you can reach your potential. Our Immersions 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 improv and writing classes are offered in our 5-Day Adult Intensives. Stay for four weeks to complete all levels, or come back for unfinished levels if you completed a previous week-long Intensive. Classes are Monday through Friday each week, and tuition includes a ticket to a Second City or UP Comedy Club show. Improv 1 and Writing 1 classes have no prerequisites; students of any and all experience levels are welcome to enroll. Students with some previous experience may be able to skip the first levels; please submit details of your training or experience to Intensive Coordinator Rosie Chevalier at intensives@secondcity.com for approval.

Our Summer Intensives coincide with the Kids & Teen Summer Comedy Camps for parents and kids who want to take class at the same time. Students who complete a two- to four-week intensive and would like to continue their training at one of our centers in Chicago, Toronto, or Hollywood may place into Level B of the Improv Program or Level 2 of the Writing Program. Level 2 students with additional experience may qualify for Improv for Actors 2 or Scenic Improv 1.

These Intensives give you a great overview of our method of improvisation and how we use it to create something from nothing. Dive into the principles, techniques, and exercises that our actors use to generate characters and scenes.

Morning sessions: Monday-Friday, 9am-12pm
Afternoon sessions: Monday-Friday, 1pm-4pm

Improv 1: Fundamentals
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 intensives@secondcity.com.

Improv 2: Character & 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. Builds on concepts from Level 1.

Improv 3: Advanced Scenework
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.

Improv 4: Improv into Sketch
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.

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 be able to skip this course; please submit details of your training or experience to intensives@secondcity.com. Students who have completed the 8-week Stand-Up 1 class may enroll in the Stand-Up 2 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.

Writing 1: Fundamentals & Components of Sketch Comedy
An introduction to sketch comedy techniques including characterization, comic premise and story structure. Writing 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 intensives@secondcity.com.

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 Intensive 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.

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.

SCHOLARSHIPS Scholarships are available for Summer Intensives sessions. Applications for the 2019 Intensives are accepted through this online form and are due by April 1, 2019. All applicants will be notified of a decision by May 15—no phone calls or emails please.

HAVE QUESTIONS? See our Summer Adult Intensives FAQs. Still have questions? Contact Rosie Chevalier at rchevalier@secondcity.com.

WHERE TO STAY IN CHICAGO? The Second City Training Center does not provide housing for students. Students are responsible for arranging their own accommodations. See our “Where To Stay” page for recommended hotels, hostels, and dormitories in the Chicago area, some with special rates for Second City students!

SPECIALTY INTENSIVES A variety of Specialty Intensives are also available! Specialty Intensives are week-long studies on a particular topic, often with special guest instructors. Courses are available in Improv, Writing, Acting, Music, and more!

Still short on time? Take a look at our 3-day Improv & Writing Intensives. They’re available all year round!

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Specialty 5-Day Intensives

Specialty 5-Day Intensives

Specialty Intensives are week-long studies on a particular topic, often taught by senior faculty or special guest instructors. Courses are available in Improv, Writing, Acting, Music, and more! Specialty Intensives are offered in addition to our regular 5-Day Intensives in Improv, Writing, and Stand-Up.

Most Specialty Intensives require previous training or experience. Check the class descriptions for prerequisite information. If you do not meet the exact prerequisites, you may still be able to get approval by submitting your information to intensives@secondcity.com.

HAVE QUESTIONS? See our Summer Adult Intensives FAQs. Still have questions? Contact intensives@secondcity.com.

WHERE TO STAY IN CHICAGO? The Second City Training Center does not provide housing for students. Students are responsible for arranging their own accommodations. See our “Where To Stay” page for recommended hotels, hostels, and dormitories in the Chicago area, some with special rates for Second City students!

Morning sessions: Monday-Friday, 9am-12pm
Afternoon sessions: Monday-Friday, 1pm-4pm

Improv for Actors 5-Day Intensive

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. IFA Intensive covers the fundamental elements of scene work, creating environment, and scenic transformation. Students acquire skills that can be applied to scripted and non-scripted work. Students become more improvisational in written moments and more confident when they improvise.

The Improv for Actors Intensive is appropriate for students who have a theatre degree, are currently enrolled in a full-length collegiate theater program, or have the equivalent amount of professional training and/or experience. Students must submit an acting résumé or description of related experience for consideration to be placed in this intensive. Please submit materials to intensives@secondcity.com. It is a half-day intensive which runs 9am-12pm each day.

About the instructor: Rachael Mason is the Head of Improvisation and creator of the Advanced Improv program and intensives at the Second City Training Center. She is an instructor at the Harold Ramis Film School and at Columbia College Chicago. Rachael is a Second City Touring Company alum.

Upcoming class dates: July 8-12, 2019

Long Form Improv Intensive

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 “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.

Long Form Improv Intensive is open to students who have completed the Improv 2 5-Day Intensive or the equivalent of Improv Level B. It is a full-day intensive which runs 9am-4pm with a one-hour break.

About the instructors: Rachael Mason is the Head of Improvisation and creator of the Advanced Improv program and intensives at the Second City Training Center. She is an instructor at the Harold Ramis Film School and at Columbia College Chicago. Rachael is a Second City Touring Company alum.

Susan Messing has been improvising and performing for over 30 years and has been starring in the long-running hit show Messing with a Friend for the last 11. She teaches courses at The Second City, iO Theater, and The Annoyance Theatre, and is an instructor at DePaul University, The University of Chicago, and the School at Steppenwolf. Susan is a Second City alum.

Rachael and Susan have taught and performed around the world, and created the improv show The Boys.

Upcoming class dates: July 22-26, 2019

Advanced Long Form: Improv Architecture

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 and highlights your strengths. The class will be co-taught by Rachael Mason and Susan Messing who will tailor the curriculum to the group.

Advanced Long Form is open to students who have completed the Long Form Improv Intensive. It is a full-day intensive which runs 9am-4pm with a one-hour break.

About the instructors: Rachael Mason is the Head of Improvisation and creator of the Advanced Improv program and intensives at the Second City Training Center. She is an instructor at the Harold Ramis Film School and at Columbia College Chicago. Rachael is a Second City Touring Company alum.

Susan Messing has been improvising and performing for over 30 years and has been starring in the long-running hit show Messing with a Friend for the last 11. She teaches courses at The Second City, iO Theater, and The Annoyance Theatre, and is an instructor at DePaul University, The University of Chicago, and the School at Steppenwolf. Susan is a Second City alum.

Rachael and Susan have taught and performed around the world, and created the improv show The Boys.

Upcoming class dates: August 12-16, 2019

Making the Improvised Movie Intensive

Making the Improvised Movie 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 create content for the screen. Working in groups, you will then shoot short films that you improvise from start to finish. No script. Just filmmaking at its most fun and challenging. Through this accelerated 5-day process, you will learn the basics of writing, production, and collaborating on set.

Making the Improvised Movie Intensive is open to all students. It is a half-day Intensive which runs for a three-hour session each day and can be paired with another intensive class.

Upcoming class dates: August 5-9, 2019

Storytelling Intensive

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 to shape your stories to follow an engaging arc, take them through rewrites, and learn tricks of the trade to pull out entertaining details that can help you capture an audience’s attention. You’ll also work with your instructor to hone your individual presentational style, and walk out with next steps in mind for your stories and your path as a storyteller.

Storytelling Intensive is open to all students. It is a half-day Intensive which runs for a three-hour session each day and can be paired with another intensive class.

About the instructor: Sydney Davis

Upcoming class dates: July 8-12, 2019

Writing for Late Night TV & Talk Shows Intensive

Write desk bits, remote segments, guest pieces, sketch and a variety of segments for shows like Fallon, Conan, Kimmel, Seth Myers, Colbert, Ellen and more. Pitch monologue jokes, brainstorm, explore and heighten material in this collaborative Writer’s Room environment. Create original material to strengthen your writing samples and produce the elements to put together your pitch packet for a talk show. Please bring a laptop or phone for Internet access.

Writing for Late Night TV & Talk Shows Intensive is open to all students. It is a half-day Intensive which runs for a three-hour session each day and can be paired with another intensive class.

About the instructor: Holly Wortell is an Emmy-nominated writer and a Second City alum. She has written and produced for The Bonnie Hunt Show and appeared in Entourage, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Life with Bonnie, and numerous radio and TV commercials. Holly is a guest instructor in Chicago for this course; she teaches online courses for the Second City Training Center, at Second City Hollywood, and at the Harold Ramis Film School.

Upcoming class dates: July 15-19, 2019

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