Arcade Academy

LEARN IMPROV. HAVE FUN. YES AND!

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 17 – Dec 15

IMPROV 101: The Basics

Improv 101: The Basics. This eight-week, three-hour class 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. 

MONDAYS

Taught by Robin Hitchcock

Register

IMPROV 102: Scenework

Improv 102: Scenework. This eight-week class focuses on one of the most critical elements of great improv: Scene Work. Building on the foundations and skills of Intro to Improv, here we focus on starting scenes with decisive initiations and confident stage presence.  Agreement and group mind will be taken to the next level as well as working on character development and emotional investment. Trusting yourself as well as your scene partner is the first step towards great scene work. Improv 102 concludes with a class performance showcasing the skills of building strong scenes.

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

MONDAY SESSION

Taught by Brian Gray

Register

WEDNESDAY SESSION

Taught by Liz Labacz

Register

IMPROV 301: The Harold

Improv 301: The Harold. This class focuses on the Harold, the gold standard of long-form improv, featured at both iO and UCB Theaters. Harold provides improvisors an opportunity to learn the basic building blocks commonly used in long-form improv: openings, edits, games, group scenes, and callbacks. Skills learned in earlier levels are critical to forging a group mind and building a spontaneous and evocative piece of improvised theater.

6:30PM – 9:30PM
Registration $225 ($200 early bird)
Pre-Requisite: Improv 101 & 102 & 201

TUESDAY SESSION

Taught by Nick Jaramillo

Register

WEDNESDAY SESSION

Taught by Kristy Nolen

Register

IMPROV 302: Advanced Long-form

Improv 302: Advanced Longform. Building on the tools introduced in Scene Work and the Harold, Advanced Long-form widens our students knowledge and experience with various advanced improv long-forms. In this class, we delve deeper into techniques and how each best applies to different forms. The forms explored will vary from class to class depending on each class’s interest and ability. Potential forms include: Monoscene, Deconstruction, La Ronde, the Movie, the Living Room, JTS Brown, The Bat, The Armando and more.

6:30PM – 9:30PM
Requirements: Improv 101 & 102. Strongly recommended: 201 & 301
Registration $225 ($200 Early-bird)

THURSDAY SESSION

Taught by Jethro Nolen

Register

Acting for the Improviser

Acting for the Improviser. Make your work as an Improvisor stronger with Acting for Improvisation! In this 8-week course, you’ll begin to explore “life on stage.” From building strong objectives and actions to delving into character work. We will use a variety of games for theater that come from the world of improvisation, and working toward scripted scenes for two to three actors. Whether you’ve never been on stage before, or you’re a fierce improviser looking to hone your skills, Acting for Improvisation offers valuable lessons for everyone.

In this 8 week class we will be working on Open Scenes ( simple scripted scenes for two to three actors) then we will devote the remainder of the course on a two or three person scene from contemporary playwrights and we will use improvisational tools to delve further into “Who your character is in the world of the play.”

NEW 8-Week Class, 6:30PM – 9:30PM
Registration $225 ($200 early bird)
No Pre-requisites

 

TUESDAY SESSION

Taught by Elena Alexandratos

Register

Intro to Stand-Up

Have you ever wanted to try Stand-up Comedy but weren’t sure how to start? 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 explores 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 8 week course that culminates with a class show, you’ll discover and develop your personal comedy voice, while building a foundation for continued growth.

6:30PM – 9:30PM
Registration $225 ($200 early bird)
No pre-requisite

TUESDAY SESSION

Taught by Collin Chamberlin

Register

Intro to Sketch Writing

Intro to Sketch Comedy Writing. This class will focus on the very basics of sketch writing, including idea generation, brainstorming, comic premises and sketch structure. Whether you’re a beginning writer, a seasoned writer looking to learn a new form, or just want to refocus your writing in an encouraging, collaborative atmosphere, this class is for you. Through class exercises and assignments, students will learn to write comedy sketches from beginning to end. A notebook is required, because to learn to write, you have to write.

6:30PM – 9:30PM
Registration $225 ($200 early bird)
No pre-requisite

WEDNESDAY SESSION

Taught by Larry Phillis

Register

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