Electives & Workshops

Free Improv Class!

Email darcy@ioimprov.com to reserve your spot.

Saturday 4/22/17 @4:00pm – 6:00pm on the Main Stage

Harold Tune-Up Workshop

Sharpen those Harold skills in this 4-week workshop taught by 4 different instructors with tons of Harold experience. Get some high-quality reps on openings, group games, scene work, and callback moves. Whether you’re looking to build confidence before Harold auditions, get exposed to new Harold techniques, or have some fun with a familiar form, this workshop will be a great learning experience.

iO West Harold Auditions FAQs

Tuesdays 3/28/17 – 4/18/17 @7:00pm – 10:00pm

Taught by:
Bente Engelstoft (Pockets) – March 28
Peter Fluet (Heyday) – April 4
Nate Ballard (Dinner Jacket) – April 11
Marina Mastros (Max) – April 18


Register HERE

Musical Improv Level One

Musical improv may seem daunting. This course will show you simplicity in what seems like madness. Songs are the keystone to any musical improv form, and you’re not far from improvising a song people will swear you wrote beforehand. Over the course of seven song-filled weeks you will get to play with all the tools to strengthen your inner songwriter. You will explore the structure and function of a variety of song types (e.g. pop, blues, duet, tagline, linear, etc). You will also work on navigating musical accompaniment and building your awareness of what your song and/or show needs when you’re in a scene and your music cue hits.

Sessions are led by iO West’s Music Director and house accompanist, Eric Schackne. Each class is limited to 14 students.

Class Show TBA

Sundays 5/7/17 @ 3:30-6:30pm  in Studio 2
Mondays 5/8/17 @ 3:00-6:00pm on the Mainstage

No class on Memorial Day weekend


Musical Improv Level Two

So you can make up a tune off the top of your dome. Now let’s learn how to balance scene work and songs. Level two brings your awareness to crafting your scenes with the emotional and narrative content that sets you up for success in your songs. You will learn how to perform in a variety of scene types. Throughout these seven weeks, you’ll also have ample practice in support, including physicality, creating a stage picture, and some sweet sweet dancin’ moves.

Sessions are led by iO West’s Music Director and house accompanist, Eric Schackne. Each class is limited to 14 students.

Class Show TBA

Sundays 5/7/17 @ 12-3pm in Studio 2

No class on Memorial Day weekend


The Musical Improv One-Off

Do you know how they say you need 10,000 hours to truly master something? Well, they say that. Add two hours to your musical improv journey this week. The focus of each One-Off changes week-to-week, touching on different elements of musical improv. Attendees should be stage and performance comfortable at the minimum.

Sessions are led by iO West’s Music Director and house accompanist, Eric Schackne.

Please register in advance, as space is limited to 14 students.

Next One-Off:
Wednesday 4/12 1-3pm
Wednesday 4/26 1-3pm


JTS Brown w/ Craig Cackowski

Learn one of the most challenging, freeing, and legendary improv forms from the director of JTS Brown, Craig Cackowski. Created by an ensemble formed by Ike Barinholtz and Jason Sudeikis in Chicago in the late ‘90s, the original JTS Brown were renowned for their transformational, dream-like style of play. Craig will teach you the techniques behind the form, and you’ll learn how to play within a large ensemble with instant support and no judgment. For iO West graduates, and current Level 4 & 5 students with instructor approval. Limit 14 students.

Taught by Craig Cackowski

Sundays @2:00pm – 5:00pm
March 26th – April 16th
One performance TBA the week of April 16th


Email darcy@ioimprov.com for registration info.

THE NIGHT WITCHES with Holly Laurent

The Night Witches workshop is an improv class for women. The focus tackles how societal expectations and objectification can limit our abilities and expansiveness as performers and how to turn our natural courage and vulnerability into strength on stage. The workshop will cast out the habits that aren’t serving us, and explore the fundamentals of trusting ones self. The result: empowered play and the guts to take greater risks. Some improv experience recommended.

Holly Laurent (@laurentholly) is an alumnus of the iO Chicago and Second City main stage where she wrote and performed three critically acclaimed reviews, in addition to performing with legendary Harold team, The Reckoning. As an instructor, Holly has taught the world over, including iO West, iO Chicago, and the Second City where she has also trained. She holds an MA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College.

Taught by Holly Laurent

Sunday @12:00pm – 3:00pm
April 30th


Register HERE


Are your scenes and characters all feeling the same? Is improv starting to feel like work? Are you looking to be challenged and inspired again in your improv choices? This workshop will tackle all these obstacles and more through scene work, exercises and performance evaluation.


A proud native of Buffalo, NY, Karen performed for Chicago’s The Second City for two years. While touring the US and abroad with The Second City National Touring Company, Karen was featured in The Second City’s first-ever USO Tour, entertaining American troops in Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. She was also a resident cast member in The Best of Second City at The Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas for over a year.

Karen co-wrote and starred in the sold-out run of Camp Hot, a three-woman sketch show featured at LA’s Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater. Her one woman show, Her Potential, was a two-time Del Close Award nominee for Best Scripted Show at iO West. Karen currently writes for GIRLBOSS, a new half hour comedy on Netflix.

Karen performs at iO West each week with LA’s longest running House Harold Team, King Ten. When not writing or performing, Karen counts the days until her beloved Buffalo Bills make the playoffs again. On a related note, she also sighs a lot and drinks.

Sunday @2:00pm – 4:00pm
May 28th


Register HERE


In this class you will improvise long form pieces that tell one story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Special attention will be paid to emotion, careful listening, teamwork, playing with intelligence, and special attributes like genre, style, and period. Learn to adapt a Harold sensibility to a fully told story, and learn to tell that story without sweating plot.

Joey Bland is a member of The Improvised Shakespeare Company, performing regularly in Los Angeles, New York, and on the road. He is also in the cast of the long-running, improvised musical, Baby Wants Candy. Joey trained in Chicago and performed at iO, Second City, and ComedySportz.

Saturdays @2:00pm – 5:00pm on the Main Stage
May 20th, 27th and June 3rd


Register HERE

Click HERE for more information regarding our class policies and Registration FAQ