Skip to main content
iO Theater Summer Intensive
July 8th-August 9th
Spend the summer in at the world famous iO Theater in Chicago, the birthplace of improvisation, learning long form in its greatest incubator.
For the last 15 years, every summer, students from all over the world have traveled to Chicago to spend over a month at the iO learning long form improvsation from some of the best instructors in the world. All experience levels are welcome to join the summer intensive, and the program is challenging and exciting for both newcomers to improv, as well as seasoned veterans.
The iO Summer Intensive condenses five levels of our curriculum into five weeks. The classes meet every Monday through Thursday from 11am to 5pm, with a break for lunch, for five weeks. Each week, you’ll work with a different teaching artist on a particular level of curriculum. Best of all, the class culminates in a performance here in our theater! There will also be additional workshops, jams, performance opportunities, and other social events planned that will allow students to mix and mingle and meet other performers and people in the Chicago improv scene.
Here is a quick overview of how the 5 week program is broken down:
Week 1 – Ensemble. Level 1 is about building ensemble and fostering teamwork. Create trust, improve confidence, and have fun while building the foundational blocks of great improvisation.
Week 2 – Character. Students will learn to use physicality, environment, and teamwork to develop unique characters within their scenes. Level 2 also teaches strong groupwork to build beautiful, artistic moments on stage.
Week 3 – Scenework. This level focuses entirely on two-person scenes. Truth in Comedy. Students will learn how to use groundedness and realness to their advantage when trying to create comedy.
Week 4 – Longform. Level 4 is where students will learn the structures and styles of different longform pieces. The Harold, Shotgun, Living Room, La Ronde, and more will all be learned. Learning the rules before we start breaking them.
Week 5 – Advanced Longform. The final level of our  program will have students create and perform their own unique form. All of the lessons from previous classes will be combined and applied to develop a signature piece unique to each class that you will do during your final showcase performance.

As a summer intensive student you’ll receive an iO Student ID and will have access to see all iO shows for free and will have first dibs on specialty workshops and unique performance opportunies happening this summer.

The program costs $1650 but you can make a half payment of $825 to secure your spot. Any tuition payments are non refundable.
Join the Summer Intensive 2024 Facebook Page to meet and talk with other students before you get here! This is also a great place to ask questions and find housing help!
How do I find housing?
We do not offer any housing options directly but we’ve compiled a few pages and groups here which may be helpful in your search.
Summer Intensive students have found success locating short term rentals (STRs) through AirBNB, VRBO, hostel and hotel groups, and via Facebook. Chicago STR is a good resource to start with. 
Make sure you’re looking at properties near or around iO at 1501 N. Kingsbury St. or places that are easily accessible by public transit. Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, and Logan Square are good neighborhoods to look in!
Chicago Transportation
iO Theater is located at 1501 N. Kingsbury St. and within walking distance to 3 major CTA bus lines and one “L” Stop. You can visit the CTA website to view the routes and get a digital and phycial card.
Divvy Bikes are a staple to the city. This shared bike program has electric and non-electric bikes and scooters at your disposal. Download the app or rent through the Lyft app!
Lyft, Ubers, and cabs are also available although Lyft and Uber tend to be the cheaper options.
Other Opportunities to Perform
There will be jams, drop-ins, specialty workshops, and shows for you to participate in during your stay here. We will provide a full schedule of these offerings with your orientation packet which will be sent out in June of 2024.
Teaching Staff
The initial round of instructors for the 2024 Summer Intensive have been announced and the instructors are: Craig Uhlir, Liz Allen, Bill Arnett, Gretchen Eng, Ana Silva, Emily Anderson, Andel Sudik, and James Dugan.
iO Fest
Happening 7/25-28- iO FEST is a star-studded, cross-continental comedy fest during the best time of the year to be in Chicago and right smack dab in the middle of our summer intensive! Featuring Meadows, Walsh & Friends, Messing with Lehr, Ryan Asher, Joy Tactics, and more- this is an incredible can’t miss opportunity to see some of the best performers in the country and take specialty classes from them! Follow along on our page for updates! 

Interested? Want more information?