Diversity and Inclusion

“Our voices need to be heard now.”

Second City alum Keegan-Michael Key


In 1992, Frances Callier established the Outreach Program as a part of The Second City Training Center with the mission of providing new voices of color to the community, as well as an opportunity to learn at The Second City. As a result of the initiative, pioneering improv groups in the LGBTQI, Asian American, African American, and Latinx communities formed, including GayCo Productions, Stir Friday Night, and Salsation Theatre Company.

Dedicated to cultivating new talent of color in improv and sketch comedy and increasing educational access to under-represented communities, The Second City Outreach & Diversity division expanded to a full-year program in 2002 under the leadership of Dionna Griffin-Irons and evolved into Diversity & Inclusion in 2016.

The Diversity & Inclusion Program continues to uphold The Second City’s ongoing commitment to expose the art of improvisation to new voices, new talent, and organizations seeking to grow beyond their existing perspective. In addition to The Second City’s internal efforts within our theatres and classrooms, Second City Works is also bringing engaging, relevant programs to corporate organizations and talent seeking to foster an inclusive environment.

Value Statement

The Second City believes that everyone, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation should experience the gift of improvisation and the many life skills it helps develop in a safe, supportive way and is actively working to champion diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels of our institution and associated programming. Our goal is to open doors, create a bridge, and make this work accessible and inclusive. We firmly believe that unique experiences and points of view are at the core of the art form our artists create and reflective of the audiences, students, and clients we serve.


Our goal is to open doors, create a bridge, and make this work accessible and inclusive  by:

  • Fostering community with cultural sensitivity
  • Increasing access to our programs, scholarships, and performances to underserved communities
  • Facilitating and engaging in dialogue across departments on empathy, equity, diversity and inclusion

Let Us Come To You

Let us come to your university, women’s shelter, gender studies class, community organization or group and share the gift of improvisation and our diversity programming.

This programming includes:

  • Master Diversity Workshops tailored for multicultural groups.
  • Guest Artist Lecture with improv demo and performance.
  • Workshops that address gender, race and LGBTQ themes.
  • Workshops for at-risk, alternative schools and under-served communities.

NBC Universal Bob Curry Fellowship

The Second City Diversity and Training Center is proud to announce our 4th annual Bob Curry Fellowship with generous support from NBC Universal. This one of a kind professional development master program offers up to 16 fellowships to qualifying actors and improvisers from diverse multicultural backgrounds to train and study at Second City Chicago and Toronto. Taught by Second City’s top instructors and directors, this unique fellowship boasts a rigorous master program for serious minded talent seeking a career in sketch comedy. Our highly competitive fellowship is tuition free and awarded to exceptional talent selected by audition and adjudicated by Second City directors and producers. Since the inaugural launch in 2015, over 50% of the graduating fellows were hired by Second City for careers in touring, resident stages, theatricals, cruise ships and the Training Center.

The Bob Curry Fellowship program is specifically seeking talent/applicants including, but not limited to those who identify as any of the following: Asian Pacific, Sub Continent Asian, African American, Hispanic, Native American Middle Eastern.

Are you the next Bob Curry Fellow?
Check out last year’s Bob Curry Fellows…  showcase.

Who is Bob Curry?
Bob Curry was a Second City alumni and the first African American actor who performed on the our resident stage in 1966. A Joseph Jeff Award winning actor and inspiring director, he coached and mentored many actors in Chicago’s theatre community. Our fellowship is named in his honor.

Bob Curry Fellowship Auditions
The Second City is holding auditions to cast and award up to 16 distinguished comedy fellowships to qualified performers of diverse ethnic backgrounds in the third annual NBC Universal Bob Curry Fellowship.

In 2018, the Bob Curry Fellowship is a ten week master professional development tuition free program launched by The Second City Diversity and Training Center divisions. Taught by Second City’s top instructors and directors, this one of a kind fellowship highlights a culminating showcase presented to industry execs, NBC casting and Second City producers and directors. In the past two years since the fellowship’s launch, over 50% of the actors and improvisers were hired by Second City for careers.

The Bob Curry Fellowship program is specifically seeking talent/applicants including, but not limited to those who identify as any of the following: Asian Pacific, Sub Continent Asian, African American, Hispanic, Native American Middle Eastern.

Qualifying candidates can send inquiries to outreach@secondcity.com for 2018 upcoming auditions and open house info dates to attend.


The Chicago Bob Curry Fellowship is now closed.

Toronto Diversity auditions are scheduled for Monday, May 7, 2018.

Toronto Training Centre

99 Blue Jays Way 3rd Floor,

Toronto, ON M5V 9G9



Hollywood Bob Curry auditions are scheduled for Tuesday, June 19, 2018.

6560 Hollywood Blvd,

Los Angeles , CA 90028


Talent must audition to be accepted into the program. To be eligible, talent should be a graduate of a Conservatory level improv program e.g., Second City, iO theatre, Annoyance theatre, UCB, etc. Professional actors with a degree in theatre or extensive stage experience with some improv training are also qualified to submit. Head  shots and resumes will be reviewed for audition consideration and scheduled appointments on a first come basis.

Next Steps
Talent should submit headshot and resume only during the submission window.

Toronto: April 18 -19

Hollywood: May 22- 23


Early submissions will not be reviewed or qualify.

Bob Curry and Diversity Fellowship Submissions

For Toronto auditions, please send your headshot and resume to outreach@secondcity.com with “Diversity” in subject line.

About the Audition
The audition will consist of twenty minutes of improvisation within a group of eight and a personal choice of a one-minute comedic monologue or stand-up piece.

2017-18 Programming dates:

Fellowship begins March 2018 – June 2018


Start date: May 29 week

For additional inquiries, e-mail outreach@secondcity.com


Start date: July 23rd week

Emerging Voices Scholarship

Apply Now!

NBCUniversal Second City Emerging Voices Scholarship Awards:

Three scholarships, one in each of the cities with The Second City Training programs – Chicago, Toronto and Hollywood, will be awarded for one year of advanced improvisation or sketch writing training. Applications are particularly welcome from candidates from diverse communities. Qualified talent will be selected from annual auditions, submission, or Bob Curry Fellowship as applicable in each city.

Download the Second City NBC Universal Emerging Voices Scholarship application

Timeline and instructions:

Inquiries are open at all theatres.

Chicago: Submit application with Bob Curry Fellowship audition January 2018
Award Notification: January/February 2018

Toronto: April 4 – April 10, 2017 (Now Closed)
Award Notification: May 2017

Hollywood: Submit application with Bob Curry Fellowship head shot/resume submission –  2018 Date TBA.
Award Notification:  2018 Date TBA

E-mail outreach@secondcity.com for questions or more info.

Shows & Festivals


June 7-9, 2018

Now in it’s upcoming 4th year, The Break Out Comedy Festival features a dynamic partnership between Universal Television and The Second City. Showcasing comedic talent alongside established headliners from around the US and Canada, the festival has become an annual favorite from top casting agents and producers from HBO, NBC, the Tonight Show, and industry movers and shakers. Each night boasts cutting edge performances featuring some of the country’s best young, diverse talent in sketch, improvisation and stand-up.

Talent submissions open April 3 -4 to submit a one-minute stand-up clip or comedic act (preferably in front of a live audience or set) for festival consideration. Early submissions will not be reviewed.

Headshots, resume and video link can be uploaded below. For additional inquiries, e-mail outreach@secondcity.com.


Join us for the  LA Diversity in Comedy Festival   October 20, 21, 22 for a spectacular weekend of improv and sketch comedy acts from around the nation!

Contact & More Info

Contact Us

To inquire about college workshops, lecture demonstrations or a visit to your school or university, contact:

Dionna Griffin-Irons
Director of Diversity and Inclusion
312-664-4032 ext. 3577

Diversity Relationship

Build a Relationship with Outreach

Let us come to your university, gender studies class or shelter. We will share our outreach with your community.

Find out how we transform lives and communities.

Off the Cuff Podcast

Bob Curry Audition Tips

Are you an actor or improviser who recently submitted for an audition slot for the Bob Curry Fellowship? Listen to this podcast to get prepared and hear what the Fellowship is all about!
Featuring Dionna Griffin-Irons, Matt Hovde, Peter Kim, and Torian Miller

Diversity Partners

A few of our partners…
After School Matters
United States Embassy
Norway & Latvia
Urban Prep Academy
YMCA Black and Latino Achievers
NBC Universal
Big Brothers Club
Columbia College
University of Chicago
Northwestern University
A Long Walk Home
DePaul University