Wellness

The Wellness Program aims to create a nurturing and safe environment for people who are choosing to experience the personal and social benefits that the study of improv and commitment to ensemble can provide. Whether that be to promote self care, be with like-minded individuals, or to work toward a common goal, the Wellness Program exists for individuals who may want to use improv as a tool for something other than solely performance based goals. While the vast majority of Wellness Program participants are not joining The Second City with the intent to pursue a professional career in performance or comedy, all are welcome and encouraged to graduate on to other programs at The Second City.

Humor Doesn't Retire: Improv for Seniors

Humor Doesn't Retire: Improv for Seniors

  • Improv for Seniors 1-5 + Advanced Ensemble

Our Humor Doesn’t Retire program is for people 55 and older who are interested in meeting new people and learning the art of improvisation. Have you always loved comedy? Do people tell you you’re funny? Do you just want to do something active and have fun with other people? Then this class is for you! This is a great opportunity for those who want to learn and improvise with people who share a similar life experience and reference level. These classes are taken at a more relaxed pace. Less emphasis is placed on movement and physicality so it is open to those who may have mobility or physical limitations.

Humor Doesn’t Retire is open to people 55 and older. No previous acting or improv experience is required. Humor Doesn’t Retire Levels 1-5 closely follow the curriculum of our beginner Improv Level A-E classes. You will learn the basics of stage presence, character development, improv games, and scene work. Classes start with very basic exercises, training, and confidence building, but by the end of the fifth level you will have completed a fully comprehensive improv training program. Level 5 students who want to take their skills to the stage may be able form or join an Advanced Ensemble class for future terms.

Humor Doesn’t Retire: 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, the concept of “yes, and.”

Students get up and play a variety of exercises and games, many developed by Viola Spolin, whose son, Paul Sills, was one of the founders of The Second City. These exercises and games train the analytical side of the brain to focus on simple goals, freeing the creative side and silencing the negative thoughts that can make us freeze in performance (or in life, for that matter). These games are high energy cooperation and a ton of fun to play.

Each level meets for two hours once a week for eight weeks. No prior experience in theatre or improv is required.

Humor Doesn’t Retire: Level 2

Humor Doesn’t Retire Level 2 introduces students to the skills needed for scene work, the backbone of what we do at The Second City.

Students build upon the skills they learned in the first level and start learning how to improvise scenes. Strong, relationship-based scene work is the backbone of the work we do at The Second City. Students learn the skills crucial to scene work, including emotion, listening, and transformation, as well as continue to hone skills learned in Level 1, like ensemble, object work, and “yes, and.”

Students continue to play the types of exercises and games played in Level 1, which emphasize ensemble building and freeing the creative, non-judgment part of the brain. Students also begin to improvise scenes, exploring exercises that isolate the different skills needed for successful scene work. Students also learn by observing classmates performing scenes, and receiving and observing instructor feedback.

Humor Doesn’t Retire: Level 3

Humor Doesn’t Retire Level 3 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. Students also continue to explore scene work, learning how to perform three-person scenes, how to find the beats of scenes, and how to understand and apply subtext to scenes. They learn how to make choices in scenes that help define their character.

Students complete active exercises that help them explore different ways to create and sustain characters. Students also continue to hone the skills necessary for doing strong scene work and building ensemble.

Humor Doesn’t Retire: Level 4

Humor Doesn’t Retire Level 4 reinforces the skills needed for strong scene work.

Students explore advanced-level scene work. They focus on synthesizing all the elements that go into strong, well-rounded, dynamic scenes: character, emotion, ensemble, environment, relationship, status, transformation, and more. Students also continue to learn how to improvise group scenes, and receive an introduction to scene styles and genres.

Students dive deeper into scene work, performing exercises that focus on the individual elements that make up successful scenes. Through repetition, observation, and feedback from the instructor, students become comfortable with creating scenes with strong characters, relationships, and a clear beginning, middle, and end. Students also learn several performance improv games, eventually gaining the skills to introduce, run, and perform several games.

Humor Doesn’t Retire: Level 5

Humor Doesn’t Retire Level 5 is the culmination of all skills learned in Levels 1-4. The skills learned in this class help students succeed in future improv classes and performance, should they choose to pursue them.

Level 5 is all about performance. Students take everything they have learned and use those skills to put together a fully improvised show for friends and family. They learn multiple aspects of improv performance, including communicating with an audience, engaging in a rehearsal process, and introducing, running and executing their own show.

Students revisit improvised performance games they learned in earlier levels, as well as learn brand new games. The focus in Level 5 is on performing those games for an audience. Students also learn how to introduce games and call the end of them. With instructor guidance and feedback, students engage in a rehearsal process for a show they eventually run themselves.

Humor Doesn’t Retire: Advanced Ensemble

Humor Doesn’t Retire Level 5 students who want to take their skills to the stage may be able form or join an Advanced Ensemble class for future terms. The Advanced Ensemble continues diagnostic training following from the classes in the Humor Doesn’t Retire program while working on new material and exercises for an end-of-term class performance.

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Improv for Anxiety

Improv for Anxiety

  • Improv for Anxiety Levels A-E

Improv for Anxiety is an innovative program that includes an ensemble-based improv class and a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) based therapy group. The program is designed to help people with mild to moderate social anxiety and/or fear of public speaking manage their symptoms and reduce avoidance behaviors in social, work/school and family settings. The program provides an interactive opportunity to learn skills derived from improv as part of recovery.

Improv for Anxiety Levels A-E follow the curriculum of our beginner Improv Level A-E classes.

How do I know if the Improv for Anxiety Class is right for me?
If you answer yes to any of the following questions, Improv for Anxiety might be a good fit for you.

1. Does being nervous or uncomfortable around other people keep you from doing things you want to do?
2. Does your fear of public speaking or talking to teachers get in the way at work and/or school?
3. Is being embarrassed or looking stupid one of your worst fears?
4. Do you limit how involved you become with people because you are afraid of letting them get to know you? Do you worry that if people really knew you, they wouldn’t like you?
5. Do you find yourself turning down invitations to social events because you know you would feel uncomfortable if you went?
6. Does being the center of attention make you feel very uncomfortable and self-conscious?
7. Do you worry about looking nervous in front of other people?
8. Do you have trouble stating your opinion or asking for something you deserve because you worry about what others will think of you?

What are my options after finishing Improv for Anxiety Level A?
Upon completion of Level A, students are eligible for Improv for Anxiety Levels B-E or General Levels B-E. We also offer many other classes and workshops, including Stand Up to Anxiety, a stand-up comedy class for people wanting to work with their anxiety!

Is there a therapy group offered after Level A?
The therapy group is only offered as a built-in feature during Level A. Continuing therapy groups are occasionally offered and are open to anyone who has completed Improv for Anxiety Level A.

Will my insurance cover any of this?
The therapy group portion of the tuition fee may be eligible to be submitted to your insurance company for reimbursement at the out-of-network level.

Do I have to attend both the improv class and the therapy group?
We strongly encourage you to attend both in order to get the full experience!

Improv for Anxiety for Teens is also available.

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 in both improv and mental health treatment.

In the improv class, 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, the concept of “yes, and”. Improv for Anxiety Level A meets once a week for 2.5 hours over an eight week term. No prior experience in theater or improv is required.

In the therapy group, members will deepen awareness and understanding of their own anxiety and how to work with it in a way that leads to increased well-being. The therapy group consists of improv games, processing experiences, psychoeducation about anxiety, and opportunities to practice engaging with anxiety, whether it be public speaking, one-on-one interactions, or other ways one may experience anxiety, in a supportive setting at each individual’s own chosen pace.

Improv class: 2.5 hours, 8 sessions (meets Sundays 5:30-8:00pm)
Location: Second City Training Center, 230 W. North Avenue

Therapy group: 2 hours, 8 sessions (meets Tuesdays 6:30-8:30pm)
Location: Atlas Arts, 4809 N. Ravenswood Avenue

Improv for Anxiety 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 make choices in scenes that help define their character.

Students complete active exercises that help them explore different ways to create and sustain characters. Students also continue to hone the skills necessary for doing strong scene work and building ensemble.

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

Improv for Anxiety Level C

Improv Level C introduces students to the skills needed for scene work, the backbone of what we do at The Second City. Strong, relationship-based scene work is the backbone of the work we do at The Second City. Students learn the skills crucial to scene work, including emotion, listening, and transformation, as well as continue to hone skills learned in Levels A & B like ensemble, object work, and “yes, and.”

Students also begin to improvise scenes, exploring exercises that isolate the different skills needed for successful scene work. Students also learn by observing classmates performing scenes, and receiving and observing instructor feedback.

Improv for Anxiety 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 for Anxiety Level D

Improv for Anxiety Level D reinforces the skills needed for strong scene work.

Students explore advanced-level scene work. They focus on synthesizing all the elements that go into strong, well-rounded, dynamic scenes: character, emotion, ensemble, environment, relationship, status, transformation, and more. Students also continue to learn how to improvise group scenes, and receive an introduction to scene styles and genres.

Students dive deeper into scene work, performing exercises that focus on the individual elements that make up successful scenes. Through repetition, observation, and feedback from the instructor, students become comfortable with creating scenes with strong characters, relationships, and a clear beginning, middle, and end. Students also learn several performance improv games, eventually gaining the skills to introduce, run, and perform several games.

Improv for Anxiety 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 for Anxiety Level E

Improv for Anxiety Level E is the culmination of all skills learned in Levels A-D. The skills learned in this class help students succeed in future improv classes and performance, should they choose to pursue them.

Level E is all about performance. Students take everything they have learned in Levels A-D and use those skills to put together a fully improvised, 45-minute show for friends and family. They learn multiple aspects of improv performance, including communicating with an audience, engaging in a rehearsal process, and introducing, running and executing their own show.

Students revisit improvised performance games they learned in earlier levels, as well as learn brand new games. The focus in Level E is on performing those games for an audience. Students also learn how to introduce games and call the end of them. With instructor guidance and feedback, students engage in a rehearsal process for a show they eventually run themselves.

Improv for Anxiety 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 for Anxiety Level F(orever)

Finished the Improv for Anxiety 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 for Anxiety Program graduates who want to keep working on exercises and games while having fun with other improv grads. Students can take this course as many times as they like.

Private Groups

Want to keep improvising with friends from your class?

Level F offers you the chance to take a favorite improv teacher again or request another amazing improv teacher that you didn’t get to take an improv class with. Your group will work with that teacher to design an improv class that is centered around what you all want next. Better scene work? How to put a show together? Level F is here to continue your improv education.

Contact Amy Young with any questions about group class scheduling.

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Improv

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

In Improv Level A, 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, the concept of “yes, and.”

Students get up and play a variety of…

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Improv for Anxiety

Stand Up to Anxiety

Stand Up to Anxiety is designed for people who are looking for ways to face feelings of discomfort and reduce avoidance behaviors in social, work/school, and family settings. Face performance anxiety and develop yourself as a solo comedic performer by writing and workshopping your own material. By understanding how earlier…

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Improv for ASD

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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Improv for Health Professionals

Improv for Clinicians

Improv for Clinicians is led by a licensed therapist trained in improv. This class engages mental health clinicians in exercises that highlight improv skills that perfectly translate into creating a supportive, creative, open minded approach to therapy. This workshop focuses on patience, non-judgment, active listening, self awareness, collaboration with clients,…

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Personal Development

Laughing All the Way to the Bank: Budgeting for Everyone

Laughing All the Way to the Bank: Budgeting for Everyone will cover, but is not limited to, the following topics:

  • How to begin planning your financial future and goals on a low income.
  • Eliminating the shame and fear that often accompanies money or lack of it.
  • How to organize and…

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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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