Arcade Academy


Have fun learning the art of comedy!

Whether it’s improv, sketch, or stand-up, the Arcade Academy can teach you the art of comedy, regardless of your experience. If you’re new to our training program, then start at the 100 level of improv classes and learn our philosophy from the ground up! Or if writing is your more style, we offer sketch comedy and stand-up classes too. Our classes are welcoming, accessible, and packed full of insights from some of the most experienced teachers in the city.

Get ready to have fun, meet people, and open yourself up to Pittsburgh’s growing comedy scene!

And if you’re looking for Kids Classes, we offer those as well. Learn more here.

2017 Session Schedule:

Session 1: Jan 3 – Feb 27

Session 2: Mar 6 – Apr 30

Session 3: May 1 – June 26

Summer Session: July 24 – Aug 19

Session 4: Aug 21 – Oct 16

Session 5: Oct 22 – Dec 22


Save up to $25 off full-price registration when you sign up early. Classes start July 24!

Arcade Academy Summer Session

The Arcade Academy’s Summer Session starts on July 24, 2017! This round of classes may be abbreviated, but they pack just as much comedy, enlightenment, and joy as our normal sessions. We’re offering four different classes, each that runs four weeks. Our numbered classes (Improv 101 & Improv 201) are eight classes long compressed to four weeks, twice a week. We’re also offering two specialized classes: Coaching the Coach and the brand new Improv Diagnostics Intensive.

IMPROV 101: The Basics

Summer Session

Improv 101: The Basics. Three-hour class runs twice a week for four weeks and is open to everyone and appropriate for all levels of improv experience. Whether you are completely new to improvisation, or are a seasoned performer who wants to get back to basics, this class is for you. Learning skills through improv games & exercises, our focus is on: “Yes And” (agreement and extension), group mind, give and take, and basic environment and object work in a supportive, playful environment. The class culminates with a 45-minute “work-in-progress” showcase on the eighth week.

6:30PM – 9:30PM
Registration $225 ($200 early bird)
No prerequisites. 


Taught by Robin Hitchcock


IMPROV 201: Short Form

Improv 201: Intro to Short Form. Building on previous concepts, Improv 201 focuses on short form improv. We’ll be delving into a variety of different performance games including: character-based games, option games, scenic games and storytelling games, concluding with the mechanics of putting the pieces together for a successful performance. Students will gain valuable experience in short form improv mechanics — a skill that the Arcade believes is a fundamental piece of a well-rounded improviser.

6:30PM – 9:30PM
Registration $225 ($200 early bird)
Pre-Requisite: Improv 101 & 102


Taught by Abby Fudor & Mike Rubino


Coaching the Coach

Inspire, Lead, Communicate. An effective coach is all these things… and more. In this four week, three hour class, students will be both performing, receiving and learning to give player-specific notes. Through observation, discussion and hands-on experience, each participant will have opportunities to provide improv notes and get honest reciprocal feedback from fellow students about their notes’ effectiveness. We’ll work on strategies on how to better zero-in on individual player issues and various team issues. Gain confidence in side-coaching, delivering notes both in rehearsal and post-show. Includes discussion on how to structure a rehearsal, warm-ups, and treat improv coaching like the job that it is. Veteran improv coach, performer and educator Kristy Nolen brings over twenty years of experience to this unique and dynamic class where students will leave understanding more about coaching improv and have better understanding of your own improv skills.

4-Week Class 
6:30 – 9:30
Registration $110
Requirements: At least a year’s experience studying and performing improv, formal improv training/classes, participation on an improv team.



Taught by Kristy Nolen & Jethro Nolen


Improv Diagnostic Intensive

A brand new, four-week class that offers the exciting opportunity to check-in and tune-up your improv skills from four different angles. During this three-hour class, participants will get personalized, detailed notes and guidance on their scene work and improv skills followed up with written feedback from each instructor, pinpointing every player’s strengths and areas that need improvement. You will work first hand with four different, highly experienced instructors, offering a variety of perspectives on how you can maximize your strengths as an improvisor and challenge yourself to improve.  Improv Diagnostic Intensive will culminate with a show at Beta Stage and is specifically geared toward intermediate and expert players.

4-Week Class 
6:30 – 9:30
Registration $110
Requirements:Improv 101 or with teacher approval



Taught by Jethro Nolen, Brian Gray, Liz Labacz, & Nick Jaramillo


Here’s what you need to know:

Arcade Academy sessions generally run eight weeks. Classes take place at either our theater at 811 Liberty Avenue or our education space on the second and third floors of 707 Penn Avenue. If you’d like to register for a class, just click the big buttons and you’ll be taken to our ShowClix registration page. It’s a fast & secure way to register for classes online with your credit card. Sorry, but tuition is non-refundable and non-transferrable. Unless specified otherwise, these classes are for adults 18 and older. Teachers listed may be subject to change at the Arcade’s discretion or as a result of unforeseen scheduling conflicts — while we try to avoid teacher substitution, it does happen from time and time and is not grounds for a refund.

The Arcade is also accepting a limited number of interns. If you’d like to take a course for free or half price while also working at the theater on the weekends, just select one of the Internship options when registering for your class. Please note that there is a limited number of full and partial internships available, and that you’ll need to complete a 2-hour internship training before being able to take the class. Don’t worry, it’s painless.

We’ve revised our policy regarding course prerequisites: students need to meet all pre-reqs before signing up for an advanced level class. Every improv school approaches these techniques and philosophies differently, and so does the Arcade. So it’s good for you and your classmates if everyone has the same level of Arcade Academy training and vocabulary. Learn more about our philosophy.

If you have any questions at all, feel free to call us at 412-339-0608 and we’ll get back to you right away!

The Arcade Campus

811 Liberty Avenue

During the week, the Arcade’s mainstage theater transforms into an amazing classroom space. The theater, stage, and restrooms are handicapped accessible.

The 707 Academy

This classroom space is located a block from the theater at 707 Penn Avenue, on the second and third floors above the 707/709 Gallery. Classes in this space are not handicapped accessible.

820 Liberty Avenue

This multi-use space is located across the street from the theater at 820 Liberty Avenue, next to the Pittsburgh Popcorn Company. Classes in this space are handicapped accessible.

Kids Comedy Classes

Kids Comedy Classes

If you’ve got a child or teen looking to try out improv, we’re offering Kids Comedy Classes! Learn More