2015 Workshops

2015 Workshops will be announced in February 2015.

To get an idea of the types of workshops we have available, here’s a look at the workshops we offered in 2014.

2014 Workshops:


This workshop is meant for all stage performers. Whether you are an improviser, actor, musician, learn clowning techniques meant to connect with an audience like the work of fellow clowns Lucille Ball, Charlie Chaplin, Sacha Baron Cohen. Shed those layers of self-consciousness and insecurity as a performer and uncover your inner clown. Using breathe, physicality, and emotional honesty, this workshop will help unlock your inner goof and play using your heart instead of your head. Instructor:  Andy Knuth

Finding the funny by being serious.  Instructor: Alan Hawkins

Even though gibberish is gibberish, still there are more effective (and therefore, less effective) ways to speak it and to use it in improvisation. This workshop will strengthen your gibberish and will teach you some cool performance games that use it. You should be comfortable improvising scenes in front of an audience, to take this workshop.  Instructor:  Ranjit Souri

Being inspired by real life and character points of view.  Instructor: Alan Hawkins

Move beyond the basic Montage to explore new forms and find ways to make connections between scenes, play scenic games, experiment with scenic transitions, and deepen character development and relationships. Instructor: TBA

In this workshop, you’ll boost your improvisational skills by learning about and applying concepts such as keys to great object work, bending the space, making strong and meaningful spatial choices, using your space, and visual score. You should have some improv experience and be comfortable improvising scenes in front of an audience, to take this workshop Instructor:  Ranjit Souri

Join us for a guided writing process that will introduce you to the many ways sketch comedy writers generate, choose, and develop ideas for performance. This class will culminate in a short evening performance during one of the evening shows. Instructor:  Kat Barker
***Class participants must be prepared to perform in the closing show in order to participate in this workshop.

If you’ve ever watched a stand-up comic and thought, “I’d like to try that,” then this workshop is for you. Learn some of the basics of writing and performing stand-up comedy. Bring a notebook and pen because we’ll do some writing exercises too. You’ll leave this workshop with an increased understanding of how stand-ups do it, and with some tools to continue to work on stand-up on your own after the workshop.  Instructor:  Ranjit Souri
*** Participants in this workshop will have the option to perform a short stand-up comedy routine during the evening performances. (Performance not required to participate in the workshop)

Displaying real emotion on stage in front of people isn’t easy. This workshop is designed to teach students how to access authentic emotion and how this ability to connect to the authentic translates to scene work that is more believable, watchable, meaningful and humorous to an audience.  Instructor: Andrew Ritter


Once you start you’ll never want to stop. Nothing beats the thrill of improvising to a beat while your audience looks on in stunned amazement. Learn exercises and games to get your creative juices flowing and help you find your “personal flow”. Instructor: Emily Leonard (formerly Dugan)

This workshop focuses on three song types you can use to give a musical a compelling narrative structure. Using real world examples, we’ll examine how a director creates the mood and style of a musical. Then, we’ll explore those structures on our own, first by improvising new songs based on pre-existing material, and then in the creation of a completely original and spontaneous piece. Students should bring a notebook, and three favorite movies or books to use as examples. Requires an understanding of improv basics, no prior musical experience is necessary. Instructor:  Jeff Sevener
***Class participants must be prepared to perform in the closing show in order to participate in this workshop.

This workshop teaches the basic fundamentals of improvising songs on the spot. Students will discover how confidence, commitment and support provide the essential building blocks to good SingProv. Instructor:  Andrew Ritter

Instructor:  Jeff Sevener


Andy Knuth is a Chicago writer, actor, improviser, clown, and teacher. He has studied clowning and physical performance with Dean Evans, Jet Eveleth, 500 Clown, Neo-Futurists, and studied in Italy with Paola Colleto, Matteo Destro, M. Bao Lan, and the famous mask maker Donato Satori. He has performed in “Poncho y Papaya – A Clown Tragedy,” The Chi-Town Clown Revues, and with his clown group Les Trois in Figment Festival.  He is currently in his first year of the M.A.T Elementary Education program at Columbia College Chicago and teaches clowning and physical comedy as well as improvisation at The Second City.

Emily Leonard (formerly Emily Dugan) founded the Teen Comedy Fest in 2005 and served as the Festival Director until 2011, when she stepped down from the administrative position (though she continued to teach at the festival annually).  Now in 2014 she returns as the Festival Producer, working with Artistic Director Jessica Rogers to continue to fulfill and grow her original vision for the event.  In addition to her administrative work with Chicago Improv Productions, Emily has been a professional improvisor since 1999, having appeared in such notable shows as Cinema 2.0 and The Beatbox, a hip-hop improv show integrating freestyle rap with traditional longform improv technique.  When not working in Improv, Emily directs large-scale musicals, teaches Dance and Commedia del’Arte, and runs the outreach program for Beverly Arts Center on Chicago’s south side.  In her “spare time,” Emily is also a face painter and balloon artist.

Andrew Ritter has been teaching theater, improv and sketch comedy to adults and children for 12 years. He is on faculty at The Second City Training Center, Emerald City Theater School and Dream Big Productions. He has directed some improvised shows for children including The Greatest Story Never Told (www.GreatestStoryNeverTold.org), Storytown and Novel Ideas. Andrew performs musical improv comedy with Mansical (www.Mansical.org) and in the past has toured and performed hundreds of shows for kids with American Eagle Productions and was a tutor and inclusion specialist for children with autism. He and Whitney Houston both agree that the children are the future.

Ranjit Souri is a comedy writer and performer who has performed at colleges, universities, and festivals throughout the USA. He is a faculty member at The Second City Training Center, and has taught improvisation and comedy writing workshops across the USA. Ranjit is also a magazine-essayist whose essay “Fireworks and Beethoven” was named a Notable Essay in the book “The Best American Essays 2007”. He has performed his essays on Chicago Public Radio and Cincinnati Public Radio. He is also an ACT, GMAT, GRE, LSAT, and SAT instructor with Aardvark Prep in Chicago. Ranjit has a B.S. in Accounting from Case Western Reserve University and an MBA from Columbia University, where he served as a Teaching Assistant in Accounting and Mathematics. Since November of 2010 Ranjit has been writing a new joke, quip, or one-liner every day and posting it on FB as well as on twitter @DailyJokeByRanj

Alan Hawkins  Originally an improviser from Los Angeles California, He is a graduate of The Second City Conservatory, The Second City Musical Conservatory, The iO West Program, The Chicago Comedysportz Training Center and The Annoyance program. He has been fortunate enough to have participated in many festivals across the US with his three-man group Extra Shelves and even been a guest player with Grand Theft Impro in London UK. Alan has been teaching improv since 2004 and currently works with seven high schools as well as teaching adult and privet workshops. He also directed the veteran Chicago improv ensemble International Stinger and their new teen improv ensemble Mocktail.


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