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 more your 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.

Starting Summer 2018: We’ve completely revised our Internship Program requirements. Check out the exciting new program here. 

2018 Session Schedule:

Session 1: Jan 8 – Mar 1

Session 2: Mar 5 – May 4

Session 3: May 7 – July 2

Summer Session: July 16 – Aug 10

Session 4: Aug 20 – Oct 15

Session 5: Oct 16 – Dec 15

Arcade Academy Summer Session

The Arcade Academy’s Summer Session starts on July 16, 2018! This round of classes may be abbreviated, but they pack just as much comedy, enlightenment, and joy as our normal sessions. This session features 11 different classes and workshops, many of them are brand new!


4-Week Courses:

  • Improv 101: The Basics
  • Improv Diagnostic Intensive
  • Deeper Scenes
  • Acting for the Improviser: Styles
  • Yes, And … Stand-up
  • Improv Game Development


  • Improvising with Theatrical Viewpoints
  • Audience Interaction & Interviewing
  • Comedy Show Production
  • Fake It til You Make It: Short Form Pop Culture
  • Duo Improv: Find Your Voice


Save up to $25 off full-price registration when you sign up early. Summer session classes start July 16!


IMPROV 101: The Basics

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 class.

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


Taught by Robin Hitchcock

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.

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



Teachers TBA

Deeper Scenes

In this four-week class, Advanced Scenework will push you into developing deeper relationships with your scene partner, focusing on different tools to enhance your emotional commitment, playing the truth of the moment, diving into specifics and playing patterns.

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



Teacher Jethro Nolen

Acting for the Improviser: Styles

Acting for the Improviser: Styles. In this four week course, students will explore the works of two of the worlds most important and well known playwrights: Shakespeare & Chekhov. First we’ll examine Shakespeare’s language and the meter of the verse and the use of song and dance. Erase any fear of the challenges in “playing Shakespeare” and replace it with a greater understanding of how to incorporate the different themes in his plays: Comedy, Tragedy and History into the world of Improvisation. Then students will dive into the world of Anton Chekhov, playing with the complexities of the Russian hierarchy and the political views of the late 19th century and how it can be incorporated into todayʼs political scene. Students will walk away with a new set of theatrical tools to use in their improv comedy.

4 Week Class
6:30PM – 9:30PM

Registration $110 ($100 early bird)
No Pre-requisite


Taught by Elena Alexandratos

Yes, And… Stand-Up

Have you ever wanted to see if the grass was greener on the Stand-up Comedy side of the fence? This class is for you! You’ll learn exercises, tools, and techniques for generating ideas, writing jokes, preparing your act, and analyzing and improving your performance. We’ll cover on-stage mechanics and “comedy etiquette.” This class introduces performers to the wide variety of styles of Stand-up, extracting lessons that can be incorporated into your act, in a supportive and fun environment. Through this 4 week course that is specifically designed for improvisers & sketch performers, you’ll expand your personal comedy voice, while building a foundation for continued growth in all comedy disciplines. The last class features a Stand-up show for fellow students to try out your set!

4 Week Class
6:30PM – 9:30PM
Registration $110 ($100 early bird)
Requirements: Improv 101


Taught by Collin Chamberlin

Improv Game Development

Ever wonder where improv games come from? All of them were created by someone at some point. The goal of this workshop will be to come up with new ideas for games. Participants are invited to come in with ideas already formed that that would like to flesh out, but also be open to new ideas that the class will generate and develop together. Sessions one and two will involve looking at current improv games and where how they may have developed and brainstorming ideas and working on the mechanics of some new games, and then trying them out to see what works and what doesn’t. During the third session students will form small groups to develop a game on their own which will be presented to the class during the fourth session. This workshop is intended for those with some short-form experience (Improv 201 completion required) and an interest in trying new things!

4 Week Class
6:30PM – 9:30PM
Registration $110 ($100 early bird)
Requirements: Improv 101, 102, 201


Taught by Matt Hartman


Improvising with Theatrical Viewpoints

Every improv performance has a multitude of elements that go into to, but more often than not we tend to focus on the same handful of elements every time. In this three hour workshop we’ll explore the classic viewpoints of theater that are present in EVERY performance (but routinely get overlooked), and how exploiting just one of them at any given time can lead to instantly recognizable game, more varied scenework, and ultimately, a more dynamic, engaging performance. Add a thorough understanding of viewpoints and how to utilize them to your improv arsenal and become a more confident, resourceful, and adaptable performer!

1-Day Workshop
Registration $40 ($35 early bird)
Requirements:Improv 101 or with teacher approval



Teacher Matt Solter

Audience Interaction & Interviews

In this three hour workshop students will develop their fundamental improv skills into excellent interview techniques. Combining his pedagogical training in classroom management and designing informal student assessments with his stage experience using audience interviews in Your Life: The Musical, Miniature Table, The High Scores. and stand-up contexts, Kevin will provide strategies for crafting engaging interview questions and audience rapport. Students will learn and practice different types of audience interviews used as inspirations for certain short form games and long form sets. Students will test their skills at appropriately handling a variety of scenarios (e.g. un-responsive crowd/interviewee, overly-talkative, drunk, disruptive) in a safe space with their fellow improvisers. Expanding on the empathetic principles of ‘yes, and…’ and ‘making your partner look good’ students will also improvise from these interviews and learn methods for incorporating suggestions and interactions in ways that make it fun for improviser and audience member alike.

1-Day Workshop
Registration $40 ($35 early bird)
Requirements: Improv 101 or with teacher approval



Teacher Kevin O’Brien

Comedy Show Production

Learn the basic ins-and-outs of show production so that you’re focused on the performance and not a bunch of spreadsheets. In this workshop, students will dig into the full start-to-finish life cycle of a production by studying examples of previous shows, learning tips for organization and planning, and taking away some basic marketing tricks and tactics. Whether you’re a veteran sketch comedy producer looking to switch up your process, or an improviser considering putting on a show for the first time, this one-night three hour class will give everyone a new set of tools to use right away.

1-Day Workshop
Registration $40 ($35 early bird)
Requirements: none



Teacher Mike Rubino

Fake It Til You Make It: Short Form Pop Culture Games

There are plenty of short form games that require some film or theater genre knowledge. But what happens when you don’t know the difference between The Jonas Brothers and The Kardashian Sisters or Gandalf and Dumbledore? In this three-hour workshop, Abby Fudor will teach you tips and tricks to a ton of genres, styles, and pop culture characters and how to honor every audience suggestion!

1-Day Workshop
Registration $40 ($35 early bird)
Requirements:Improv 101, 102, 201 or with teacher approval



Teacher Abby Fudor

Duo Improv: Find Your Voice

Many improvisers find pure joy on stage performing in an improv duo. There’s just you and your partner on stage–no one to save your scene but also no one to limit your success! This course is an amazing opportunity to advance your play as an individual and discover your pair’s personality. Join Brian Gray and Greg Gillotti (during week 2) as they lead a class that sharpens skills necessary for two person work and guides your duo to find its voice. This intensive has a limited class size and features two full-day classes with a work-in-progress show both nights at Beta Stage. Established duos and performers looking to be paired up are all encouraged to sign up. If we have an odd number of students, you may have the delightful experience of performing as a trio.

2-Part Intensive
9:30AM – 4:30PM (with an hour for lunch)
Registration $110 ($100 early bird)
Requirements: Improv 101, 102


Taught by Brian Gray

Here’s what you need to know:

Arcade Academy sessions generally run eight weeks. Classes take place at either our theater at 943 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. 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. Arcade reserves the right to deny a student internship for any reason, and in that instance he/she will be refunded your registration.

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

943 Liberty Avenue

During the week, the Arcade transforms into an amazing, multi-classroom learning space. Every space within the building, including the restrooms, are fully 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 — if you sign up for a class taking place in this building and have accessibility requirements, please email us in advance and we will make accommodations for you to take the class.

Kids Comedy Classes

Kids Comedy Classes

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