Improv Program

The Improv Program is a complete foundation in the principles of scenic improvisation as practiced at The Second City. Based in the work of Viola Spolin, this program covers all elements of the improvisational process. Students begin with ensemble, environment, and object work and end by rehearsing and performing their own fully improvised show.

Improv

The Improv Program: A-E

  • Improv Levels A-E & F(orever)

The Improv Program is a complete foundation in the principles of scenic improvisation as practiced at The Second City. Based in the work of Viola Spolin, this five level program covers all elements of the improvisational process. Students begin in Level A with ensemble, continuing with environment and object work, and end in Level E by rehearsing and performing a fully-improvised show.

Want to check out what an improv class is like or need to refresh your skills? Come to our weekly drop-in improv classes! If you’re short on time, join us for one of our 3-day or 5-day Improv Intensives.

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.”

Improv Level A meets once a week for two and a half hours over an eight week term. No prior experience in theatre or improv is required. Students with a degree in theatre or significant experience may want to consider the Improv for Actors program instead.

Improv Level B

In Improv Level B, you’ll learn how to improvise characters. You’ll explore creating characters through internal motivations, like point of view, status, wants and intentions, and external ones, like experimenting with physicality. You learn how to make choices in scenes that help define their character.  Improv Level B meets once a week for three hours over an eight week term.

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 successful scene work, andlearn by observing classmates performing scenes, and receiving and observing instructor feedback. Improv Level C meets once a week for three hours over an eight week term. There is a brief demonstration for an audience at the end of the term.

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 and genres. Improv Level D meets once a week for three hours over an eight week term.   There is a demonstration for an audience at the end of the term.

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, running and executing their own show. Improv Level E meets once a week for three hours over an eight week term. There is a 45-minute performance for an audience at the end of the term.

Improv Level F(orever)

Finished the Improv A-E program and want to keep improvising in a structured but casual environment? Want to keep your improv skills from getting rusty? How about practicing with a fun group of like-minded students? Improv F(orever) is for Improv Program graduates who want to keep working on exercises and games while having fun with other improv grads. Graduates of Level F will be scheduled for a graduation performance as an opener for a Second City House Team.  Students can take this course as many times as they like.

Contact Amy Young with any questions about group class scheduling.

Note: Level F can be taken at any point during the year and does not have to be scheduled right after Improv Level E.

“Level F is for people who want to get serious about learning improv beyond the basics in a critical, yet non-competitive and fun environment.” – Gregory M, Student

“Level F has been a really worthwhile experience, providing us with focused and detailed attention. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to my Level E group after graduation, and it’s so nice to continue to meet once a week and get practice that makes us even more performance-ready.” – Sarah C, Student

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Improv Express

Improv Express

  • Improv Express Levels 1-3

Go faster with Improv Express!

The Improv Program is a complete foundation in the principles of scenic improvisation as practiced at The Second City. Based in the work of Viola Spolin, this three-level program covers all elements of the improvisational process. Meeting twice-weekly, Improv Express students explore the same concepts taught in our Improv Levels A-E classes but in a shorter time period. Graduation from the Improv Express program fulfills the improvisational prerequisite to audition for the Conservatory Program.

Improv Express Level 1: Ensemble and Play into Character Work

Improv Express Level 2: Scene Work and Advanced Scene Work

Improv Express Level 3: Improv in Performance

Performances: Improv Express Level 2 includes a demonstration performance at the end of the term. Improv Express Level 3 culminates in a 45-minute, one-act, fully improvised show.

3 hours • Twice a week 8 weeks for Levels 1 and 2; 4 weeks for Level 3.

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Improv for Actors

Improv for Actors

  • Improv for Actors 1-3

The Improv for Actors program teaches trained actors the fundamentals of improv. Skills acquired in this program can be applied to scripted and non-scripted work. Become more improvisational in written moments and more confident when asked to improvise.

Improv for Actors 1

Cover the fundamental elements of scenic improv, from creating environment and physicality to game creation and heightening.

Improv for Actors 1 is for students with a theater degree, 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 for consideration to be placed in IFA-1. Please submit a résumé through our online application.

Improv for Actors 1 meets once a week for three hours over an eight week term.

Improv for Actors 2

Strengthen improv skills and create unique characters. Discover how these characters and their points of view affect a scene to create richer dialogue and better moments.

Students work on 2-person and 3-person scenes. They learn how to develop the intricacies of scenic structure including the various initiations, beats, and endings. This class culminates in personal feedback and audition prep for the Second City Conservatory Program.

Improv for Actors 2 meets once a week for three hours over an eight week term.

Improv for Actors Express

This class meets twice per week to fulfill levels 1 and 2 of IFA in one term.

Students must submit an acting résumé for consideration to be placed in IFA Express. Please submit a résumé through our online application.

Improv for Actors Express meets twice a week for three hours over an eight week term.

Improv for Actors 3

This course is a master class in nuanced improvisational and long form performance to help you become a better actor in the professional world. Work on critical listening, develop long form stamina, and learn tricks of the trade to prepare for improvised auditions.

Improv for Actors 3 meets once a week for three hours over an eight week term. There is a half-hour public performance at the end of the term.

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Mid-Life Crisis: Improv for Generations X & Y

Mid-Life Crisis: Improv for Generations X & Y

  • Levels A-E

Mid-Life Crisis Improv is for anyone ages 35-55 who wants to learn how to improvise, including people who want to do improv for fun, to better their professional skills, or to eventually pursue it professionally.

The Improv Program is a complete foundation in the principles of scenic improvisation as practiced at The Second City. Based in the work of Viola Spolin, this five level program covers all elements of the improvisational process. Students begin in Level A with ensemble, continuing with environment and object work, and end in Level E by rehearsing and performing a fully-improvised show.

Mid-Life Crisis: Improv for Generations X & Y 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.”

Improv Level A meets once a week for two and a half hours over an eight week term. No prior experience in theatre or improv is required. Students with a degree in theatre or significant experience may want to consider the Improv for Actors program instead.

Mid-Life Crisis: Improv for Generations X & Y Level B

In Improv Level B, you’ll learn how to improvise characters. You’ll explore creating characters through internal motivations, like point of view, status, wants and intentions, and external ones, like experimenting with physicality. You learn how to make choices in scenes that help define their character.

Improv Level B meets once a week for three hours over an eight week term.

Mid-Life Crisis: Improv for Generations X & Y 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 successful scene work, and learn by observing classmates performing scenes, and receiving and observing instructor feedback.

Improv Level C meets once a week for three hours over an eight week term. There is a brief demonstration for an audience at the end of the term.

Mid-Life Crisis: Improv for Generations X & Y 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 and genres.

Improv Level D meets once a week for three hours over an eight week term. There is a demonstration for an audience at the end of the term.

Mid-Life Crisis: Improv for Generations X & Y 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, running and executing their own show.

Improv Level E meets once a week for three hours over an eight week term. There is a 45-minute performance for an audience at the end of the term.

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Improvisation

Bilingual (English/Spanish) Improvisation Workshop

Comapadre! Have you ever wanted to improvise at Second City, but feared your English wasn’t so good? No need to fear! This Hispanic Heritage Month we are offering a BI-LINGUAL improv workshop taught by Bob Curry Fellow Vanessa Garcia. This is an improv workshop geared towards Spanish speakers in the Latinx community….

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Wellness

Improv for Anxiety Level A

Improv for Anxiety Level A consists of a weekly improv class at Second City, led by a Second City Training Center instructor, as well as a weekly therapy group held at an outside location in the Ravenswood neighborhood. The therapy group is facilitated by two licensed clinicians who have experience…

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Improv for Autism

Improv for Autism offers a class in improv for teens and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Classes will focus on ensemble and team building to help with the exploration of different relationships and social cues. Improvisational games used in this class will teach the students skills such as accessing emotions…

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Humor Doesn't Retire: Improv for Seniors Level 1

Humor Doesn’t Retire is open to people 55 and older. In Humor Doesn’t Retire Level 1, students 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,…

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Writing for People with Anxiety

In a warm, welcoming class environment, we will work together to overcome anxieties and fears surrounding the sharing of your written work. Presenting ideas is a deeply personal experience, and it is natural to feel nervous about doing so. But when your nerves prevent you from even stepping up…

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Drop-In Class

Improv Test Drive

Are you interested in taking an improv class, but you’re not quite sure if it’s right for you? Give it a test drive! Our weekly drop-in improv class for beginners is open to everyone, whether you have ever improvised or not. It’s a great opportunity to practice, have some fun,…

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Private Lessons

Private Lessons

One-On-One Coaching

The Second City Training Center offers individual, customized coaching in a variety of areas including, but not limited to:

Acting
Monologue prep
On-camera audition prep
Dialects Accent Coaching

Youth & Teen Coaching
Audition Prep
Monologue Prep

Writing
Advanced sketch critique
Screenplay & Sitcom coaching
Sketch Production (Coaching a group through their first production)
Sketch generation & critique…

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Team Coaching

The Second City Training Center now offers team improv and sketch coaching. This service is available at or in the vicinity of any of our three Training Centers (Chicago, Hollywood, Toronto) and also available via Skype. Our team coaches are all skilled instructors and directors that have worked with Second…

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