Registration for our second session is open! This session is jam packed with new offerings to further your comedy training. Along with our core improv class levels, we are also offering our new musical improv classes taught by the talented Sarah Shockey. New workshop offerings have been added as well, from a mime workshop with Broken Box Theater, to stand-up workshop with Jake Noll, and a satire writing workshop with Nate Odenkirk! Our summer intensives are now live as well, so treat yourself to an awesome Chicago summer by taking classes and meeting people from all over the world. Take a look below at our all-star faculty for session two of our core levels. We can’t wait to see you around the theater. Our new student orientation for Session 2 will be held at the theater on February 26th at 6:30pm.
Here’s our class schedule:
|3/4||Sat||IP Improv Drop In||4-6pm||Gretchen Eng|
|3/1||Wed||IP Writing Drop In||7-9pm||Jesse Swanson|
|3/6||Mon||On Line Drop In||7-9pm||Kayla Pulley|
MEET YOUR INSTRUCTORS!!!
LEVEL 1 CLASSES
Jessica was the Artistic Director of the Teen Comedy Fest (CIF Production). She has performed in and taught at a variety of improv class / comedy festivals around the country. She has played with several improv ensembles at iO, The Annoyance, and The Playground. A Company Member and Assistant Director of Face Off Unlimited’s BATSU! Chicago, Jessica used to perform with The Improv Playhouse in Libertyville. She has also worked with teens at the Audition Studio North, Beverly Arts Center, and several Chicago Public Schools. She developed curriculum for The Second City’s improvisation program and their Educational Touring Company, formerly EdCo. Jessica’s directing credits include teen and adult productions at iO, Sketchfest, Donny’s Skybox, DeMaat Studio Theatre, and The Bailiwick Theater.
A Chicago local, Gretchen Eng produces and improvises in iO’s flagship show, The Armando Diaz Experience as well as Jaymes Gretchky (her duo with James Dugan) and the award-winning Harold team Devil’s Daughter. She has performed and taught in Chicago for 10+ years and worked with theater institutions around the world including Cambridge Footlights International Touring Company, the 16th Annual Würzburger Improtheaterfestival, Barcelona Improv Group’s BIG IF 5, and the Improvember Festival in Munich. She is on faculty at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts and the Director of Communications for classical music ensemble Fourth Coast Ensemble.
Jonathan Lee-Rey is an actor, writer, and filmmaker from Yonkers, NY with a splash of the Bronx. Currently, he is based in Chicago where he is a member of Stir Friday Night, a producer of the Chicago iteration of Kaleidoscope, and a teaching artist with Playmakers Laboratory. He has worked on Second City digital productions such as Gab & Tonic as well as UCB Comedy, Seriously.TV, and the New Yorker. Formerly he was on the iO Harold team Velvet and iO Network team Free Trial Run, as well as the indie film studio, Make it Up Media. He has trained at UCB, iO, Second City, The Magnet and is a graduate of The Harold Ramis Film School and Skidmore College. He runs Stepping Stone Theater as a space that uplifts and amplifies BIPOC voices and hopes to use all of his experience to do exactly that!
LEVEL 2 CLASSES
Jessica Antes is a Comedian, Writer, Director and Teaching Artist with a BA in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, as well as a graduate of the Second City Training Center and iO Chicago. She has performed at iO with Secret Handshake, Uh-Oh and Daffodil. Jessica delights in teaching new performers and experienced artists of all ages at iO, The Second City, the Revival, DePaul, and with Humor for Hope while also facilitating corporate workshops, residencies at schools all over Chicagoland, and traveling to teach improv class across the country too. When she’s not all over town she loves a good walk with her pup, a bike ride, and a great deli sandwich.
Eddie Piña, born and raised in Chicago, has been performing and teaching improvisational comedy across the country for the past 10 years. He is a founding member of Whirled News Tonight, which is relaunching at iO. He is also a member of the critically acclaimed improv troupe The Reckoning and has performed with the famed Second City.
Aram Rayzian (he/him/his) is a Chicago based actor, writer, improviser and chess player. Aram is an understudy for the Second City Mainstage, he is currently a faculty member at The Second City where he teaches Improvisation and Acting. He’s a recent Alum of the Bob Curry Fellowship and a graduate of the Second City Severn Darden Graduate Program, Conservatory and Improvisation program. Aram has done commercial and stage work around Chicago and was on the iO Harold Team ‘’Mothership’’ for 3 years. Aram also produces the show FLEX which is an all BIPOC improv team at The Annoyance Theatre. You can see him performing, teaching and petting dogs all over the city.
Neal Dandade is an actor, writer, improviser, facilitator, and educator based in Chicago. TV acting credits include TNT’s Sirens, ABC Family’s Kevin from Work, and NBC’s Shrink. Neal was featured in the 2016 CBS Diversity Showcase. He was also a member of the Second City National Touring Company and a regular writer/performer/improviser at the iO and Annoyance theaters in Chicago. Apart from his acting work, Neal has written and produced web content for online platforms, Second City Network and Mas Mejór (a subsidiary of Broadway Video). Neal holds an MFA in Writing for Screen and Stage at Northwestern University, where he was invited to join as an adjunct lecturer in the department of Radio/TV/Flim. While at Northwestern, Neal was the recipient of the Chris Rock Internship at MTV Networks, which allowed him the opportunity to be a writing intern on the Colbert Report and the Daily Show in addition to working in Development at Comedy Central. A passionate educator, Neal worked with at-risk youth in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side in addition to developing/implementing an after-school improv class curriculum on Chicago’s Devon Avenue, a neighborhood that primarily serves newly immigrated South Asian Americans. Neal has parlayed his experience as a writer, performer, and educator into the business world through Second City Works (SCW). He has joined the SCW team in collaborating with myriad companies and continues to expand the use of comedic improvisation, as applied to business solutions.
LEVEL 3 CLASS
Bill Arnett has been improvising in Chicago since 1998. Performing mostly at the iO Theater, he has been a member of several noteworthy ensembles (People of Earth, 3033, and The Armando Diaz Experience). As a teacher Bill has worked and taught improv class consistently around Chicago and traveled internationally, including 18 months as the Training Center Director at the iO. In 2016 Bill published a book, The Complete Improviser, and started the Chicago Improv Studio to explore new techniques for teaching and performing long form improv.
LEVEL 4 CLASS
Craig Uhlir was born and raised in Chicago, in the USA. After completing his training at Chicago’s big three improvisational schools : Second City, improvOlympics, and the Annoyance back in the 90’s, Craig began playing with Harold teams Deep Schwa and Vahalla. He also played at ComedySportz Chicago for 4 years doing short form improv. He toured with the Second City National Touring Company going around the world and then performed in Second City Las Vegas at the Flamingo hotel for 3 years. These days Craig teaches improvisation at The Second City and various festivals. He still performs every Sunday night in Deep Schwa “Chicago’s longest running Harold team” now at the Annoyance . . Craig has been playing for over 25 years and teaching improv since the turn of the century. Some of Craig’s work can be found at his website craiguhlir.com. Craig and Jim Carlson Performed in Middle Age Comeback, many of which can be found online and at vimeo.com.