iO Diversity Initiatives

Statement of Intent

iO is committed to diversifying the performers on its stages and the students in its classrooms. We believe that different points of view make us a stronger and more vibrant theater.  Long Form Improvisation is a flexible art and its continued growth in the hands of new practitioners, especially those who have not had access to it before, is incredibly exciting. We hope these efforts will expose the art form to people who would otherwise not be able to pursue Long Form Improvisation’s study while continuing to expand Long Form Improvisation’s reach.

2017 Initiatives

Free Level 1

As part of iO’s 2017 Diversity Initiatives, we are pleased to announce a Level 1 class at iO with free enrollment for people of color.

The Free Level 1 Class recipients are –

  • Asia Martin, Carolina Cormack-Orellana, Colette S. Gregory, Diana Alvarez , Esther Song, Harmony Zhang, Jarrell Scott Barnes, Jayson Acevedo, Justin Hatfield, Katharin Mraz, Lamar Curtis, Stefania Marron, Miquela A. Cruz, Paula Zafra, Raul Fernando Cotaquispe, Sabeeka Siddiqui, Stephanie Morales-Lopez, Toyin Brimah

2017 Diversity Scholarship

The iO Theater is pleased to announce our second round of scholarships for people of color interested in enrolling in classes at The iO Theater in Chicago.

The scholarship will cover all costs and fees associated with class enrollment (except for $150 which will be due before the final class at iO).

The application consists of an essay answering pre-determined questions (see below).

Following a review of the essays, 40 candidates will be selected to audition, out of which 10 performers will receive the scholarship.

  • Applications open on February 24th
  • Essays will be due on March 17th
  • Auditions will be on April 1st

Please send any questions to

Scholarship FAQ’s

  • This scholarship is only available to new students at iO Chicago, not current students.
  • Recipients must complete classes within 18 months of enrollment.
  • Recipients must enroll and begin classes within 6 months of awarding of the scholarship.
  • This scholarship is not associated with placement on a Harold team.
  • Class placement will be based on availability.
  • Auditions and Essays will both be taken into consideration for final selection.
  • $150 fee will be due before the run of the student performances begin.
  • Currently, the scholarship is only for people of color. In the future, these opportunities will likely change and expand.
  • Auditions will be conducted, decided, and lead by a diverse panel of current performers and teachers at iO.


  • How has improv changed your life/ how do you think improv can change your life?
  • What is the importance of community in the performing arts?
  • Why do you think the performing arts needs to be diversified?
  • What iO Harold teams do you like? Why?

Essays should be sent to in Word Document format.

Past Recipients

  • 2016 Scholarship – Aadam Keeley, Anastasia Silva, Becca Tham, Gabrielle Magness, Ian Williams, Joan Moon, Jordan Savusa, Maya Haughton, Stephanie Branco, Stephen Wilkes, Julia Morales

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