The Second City Training Center

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The Second City Training Center was founded in the mid-1980s to facilitate the growing demand for workshops and instruction from the world famous The Second City theatre. Training Centers are located in Chicago, Toronto and Los Angeles. Satellite centers formerly existed in Metro Detroit, Las Vegas, Cleveland and New York City.


The centers offer a variety of classes for different ages. Programs of study include Improvisation, Comedy Writing, Acting & Scene Study, Stand-up, Clowning, Music Improvisation, Teen and Youth courses, and more. The flagship program is the Conservatory which trains performers in the Second City style of creating sketch comedy through a process of improvisational techniques. The Conservatory requires an audition to enter the program and culminates with a show written and performed for several weeks by the graduating class. Chicago Conservatory Graduates are eligible to audition and perform with the Training Center House Teams. The teams are Twisty, Moxie, Next, BenchCo and Infinite Sundaes.

Each center also offers specialized workshops in areas such as advanced improvisation techniques, long-form improvisation, and stand-up comedy. For students who do not live near one of the Training Centers, they offer three-day intensives and one-week immersions held at the centers throughout the year as well as online comedy writing classes. The Training Centers also offers a variety of classes for children and teens including winter, spring and summer break camps.

Former Training Center students include Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Scott Adsit, Anders Holm, Amy Poehler, Cecily Strong, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Tim Meadows, Bonnie Hunt, Stephen Colbert, Halle Berry, Sean Hayes, Jon Favreau, Hinton Battle, Jack McBrayer, Dave Foley and Kevin McDonald. Classes are taught by working professionals, many of whom are current and former Second City performers.

From 1985 until his death in 2001, the Second City Training Center was headed by Martin de Maat. The Chicago Training Center facility is now dedicated to him and features a plaque bearing one of his most famous quotes, “You are pure potential.”

The Second City Training Centers operate under the leadership of Kevin Frank (Artistic Director, Toronto), Joshua Funk (Artistic Director, Hollywood), Matt Hovde (Artistic Director, Chicago) and Kerry Sheehan (President, Second City Training Centers).

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