Classes

The iO Training Center

Considered to be the Mecca of improvisation, the iO Theater (formerly known as The ImprovOlympic) boasts a full training center based on the teachings of our co-founder and improv guru, Del Close, and his partner and iO owner, Charna Halpern, that has helped train and develop the talents of an entire generation of America’s best and brightest comedic entertainers for over 35 years.

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Our improv curriculum teaches you our unique approach to Improvisation, the art of “long-form” improvisation, and the essential skills to perform iO’s world-famous signature form, “The Harold”.

Why take an improv class?
Improv classes can be used to improve personal skills like team-work & collaboration, listening, reacting and adapting in real time, leadership, public speaking, being in the moment, supporting the ideas of others without judgement, and much more.
Improv training is not just to find a way to behave on stage, it also helps with improving how we behave in life.

What is “long-form improvisation”?
Long-form improvisation is a unique art form that stresses agreement, honesty, intelligence, and support.

Armed with this training and their own imagination, a group of improvisers can take a single audience suggestion and begin to work as a group using a “group mind” to weave thoughts and themes inspired by the suggestion to help them create a world filled with wonderful characters and story lines that are built by the support and celebration of each others ideas.

The result is sometimes hilarious, sometimes poignant, but always wonderful.

Click here to see all classes open for registration

Make iO apart of your professional journey, and leverage your honed skills in pursuit of your career goals. Here are some alumni of the iO Training Center!

Types of Classes at iO

This week-long alternative to our popular Summer Intensive program will immerse you in the world of long-form improvisation, giving you the tools to be successful as a performer and as a teacher when you go back to your home troupe.

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In this 8 week iO Comedy Network class students will learn the basics of how to take your short comedy idea and turn it into a solid video sketch or web-series. Learning video production via hand-on experience with camera/lighting/sound equipment as well as green screen instruction, students learn the basics of camera skill & technology, art & design theory, sound recording, and the nuts and bolts of pre-production (script breakdowns, casting, locations, shot listing, pre-visualization).

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The iO Theater Training Center teaches long form improvisation as a performance art. Our classes will give you the skills to create fresh, imaginative, and personal theater that inspires awe and laughter.

“This is the most important group work since they built the pyramids”. -Bill Murray.

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This week-long alternative to our popular Summer Intensive program will immerse you in the world of long-form improvisation, giving you the tools to be successful as a performer and as a teacher when you go back to your home troupe.

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Want to create sketches? Students will learn to create their own original material using improvisation as their tool in our series of Improv to Sketch classes.

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Under the instruction and music direction of iO’s music director and veteran teacher Dave Asher, this program gives iO’s unique perspective on the skills and creation of Musical Improv.  Beginning with the basics of singing out and following the music, the program moves quickly into applying the tenets of long form improv made famous by iO to the performance of musical improv.  Every level in the Musical Improv program includes performances on Mondays at 10:30pm.

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Our video production classes provide you with the tools you need to help you succeed in creating things on your own. Learn how to act on camera, how to tailor your content for video, and produce it!

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Being a student at iO

Free shows, discounted admissions, local business discounts, all you need is your iO Training center iD! We want you to have a great time at iO, and free shows are a great way to learn through observation and active listening.

You are joining a community of passionate artists and many students pursuing comedy related careers, along with people looking to enrich their professional and personal lives. Surround yourself with people just like you, creative, passionate, and driven.

Since 1981, under the direction of Charna Halpern and the late Del Close, the iO Theater has introduced thousands of people to the thrilling and exhilarating art of long-form improvisation. While many of our alums have gone on to find success in the entertainment industry as actors, writers, directors, and producers. many of our alums have also used their training at iO to help find success in writing, law, social work, business careers, and more.

The education you receive with the iO Theater can change your life. Become part of the family and register for a class today!

If you’d like attract iO students with discounts or special offers at your business, please contact smalow@ioimprov.com

Free Tickets

Attend shows that are not sold out for free, and learn from current performers and instructors on stage. Take a look at what’s playing tonight 

Menu Discounts

In addition to our nightly specials, enjoy the student rates on a few select items at the bar & kitchen.

Opportunities To Perform

Our schedule offers opportunities for you to jump right in, and participate in open shows for students!

Centrally Located

Near the red line, across from Whole Foods and a variety of other venues conveniently located.

Create Lifelong Friendships

Surround yourself with others that have the same drive and passion as you. Join a group, found a team, and create art with amazing people.

Learn From Professionals

Our instructors are dedicated to providing you the tools and techniques that enable their students to find their artistic voices.

Classes FAQs

We also offer a full Writing program, Musical improv classes, Film production classes, and battery of electives to help you develop whatever comedy skills you need!

While no one is guaranteed a performance opportunity at iO, most of our students find more and better performance opportunities at iO than at any other acting school. Following the completion of their last level at iO (Performance Level), those students go on to perform in a 7-week show run for a real audience in which they perform the long-form piece they themselves have created!

After that show run, students have the chance to continue performing at iO as part of an iO ensemble that performs iO’s world-famous signature piece, ‘The Harold’, or by submitting an original improvised show or sketch idea.

If you’d like to sign up for classes or find out more information about our school, please call the iO Training Center in Chicago at (312) 929-2401 (or if in Los Angeles, at (323) 962-7560)

For specific class policies and registration FAQs, they’re located here

Is There an Age Limit?

18 and older. However, we do offer custom tailored workshops for youth groups. Please contact POINT OF CONTACT for more information.

What should I bring to class?

Energy and a willingness to allow yourself to have fun and test your social instincts. Although it is not a requirement, students are free to bring notebooks for taking notes if they’d like.

Do I have to audition to take classes?

Nope! Simply register for a class and you’re in!

If I need to take a break for a term, can I return later?

Yes. You can take a break and resume your next class level upon return.

Will I be placed on a team after I graduate from the Training Center?

While no one is guaranteed a performance opportunity at iO, most of our students find more and better performance opportunities at iO than at any other acting school. Following the completion of their last level at iO (Performance Level), those students go on to perform in a 7-week show run for a real audience in which they perform the long-form piece they themselves have created!

After that show run, students have the chance to continue performing at iO as part of an iO ensemble that performs iO’s world-famous signature piece, ‘The Harold’, or by submitting an original improvised show or sketch idea.

How long do the classes last?

Our classes run in eight-week sessions. Classes meet once a week for 3 hours. (Session length might be modified depending on Holidays)

If I have prior improv experience, can I skip levels?

If you are a graduate of the iO Training Center in Chicago or Los Angeles, you are allowed to re-take the curriculum starting at any level you want, except the Performance level.

If you are a graduate of the UCB Training Center, you are allowed to start our curriculum at Level 2.

Other than those two exceptions, every new student to iO starts at Level 1 regardless of experience.

I already know I will be missing two classes, should I still register for that class?

NO. If you already know you will be missing two classes of the class you want to take (which is the maximum number of classes you can miss), things are still bound to come up that might cause you to miss a third class, which will then prevent you from moving on to the next level.

Where do I start?

You can register for classes online (make that a link) or over the phone by calling the iO Training Center at 312 929-2401 (or if in Los Angeles, at (323) 962-7560).

2018 Training Center Dates

Performance Level Grad Performance Dates

Term 6, 2017 – January 7, 14, 21, 28 February 4, 11, 18, 25
Term 1, 2018 – March 11, 18, 25, April 1, 8, 15, 22
Term 2, 2018 – Sundays – May 6, 13, 20, 27, June 3, 10, 17
Term 3, 2018 – July 1, 8, 15, 22 29, August 5, 12, 19
Term 4, 2018 – September 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 October 7, 14
Term 5, 2018 – October 28, Nov 4, 11, 18, 25, December 2, 9
Term 6, 2019 – TBD

2018 Intensive Dates

Spring Intensive – March 5th-9th
Summer One week Intensive – June 4th – 8th
Summer Five week Intensive – July 9th-August 9th
Fall Intensive – September 17th-21st
Winter Intensive – December 10th-14th

Breaks

4th of July Break – July 2nd – July 8th
Thanksgiving Break – November 19t -25th

Term Dates

Term 1, 2018 – January 3rd – February 27th
Term 2, 2017 – February 28th- April 24th
Term 3, 2018 – April 25th-June 19th
Term 4, 2018 – June 20th-August 21st
Term 5, 2018 – August 22nd – October 16th
Term 6, 2018 – October 17th-December 18th

Registration Dates

Term 2, 2018 – February 13th-16th
Term 3, 2018 – April 10th-13th
Term 4, 2018 – June 4th-8th
Term 5, 2018 – August 7th-10th
Term 6, 2018 – October 2nd-5th
Term 1, 2019 – December 4th-7th

Level 5 Performance Dates

Term 1, 2018 – March 4th
Term 2, 2018 – April 29th
Term 3, 2018 – June 24th
Term 4, 2018 – August 26th
Term 5, 2018 – October 21st
Term 6, 2018 – December 16th