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iO Chicago

iO Chicago The iO Theater is the Home of Longform Improvisation and Chicago's Best Improv Comedy. The iO Theater is the birthplace of longform improv and is home to the best comedy shows in the country.

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.

Operating as usual

06/07/2022
iO Community Survey Announcement

IO needs your help! Our community engagement survey will be used to better serve you. Whether you were a student, performer, audience member, or have never been to IO, we want your feedback to help guide us in a new direction.

The link to the Survey is here: https://tinyurl.com/yw5v65ev

If you have any issues with the survey, please email [email protected]

We can't wait to show you IO's new vision!

Welcome to the NEW iO Training Center. We have been working to create curriculum in line with the NEW iO’s mission of fo...
06/01/2022

Welcome to the NEW iO Training Center. We have been working to create curriculum in line with the NEW iO’s mission of fostering a diverse, fair, welcoming, and creatively energized community.

Head to iOImprov.com for more information and to sign up for any off the following!

Monday Night Improv Drop-in with Rachael Mason
Every Monday, Starts 6/6, 7-9pm CST, $20
Drop in any week to work on the craft with Rachael Mason!

Improv ONLINE with Neal Dandade
4 weeks, Starting 6/9, 7-9pm, $150
In the online improv class with Neal Dandade, you’ll learn to get “out of your head” in front of your computer screen. Our goal is to augment our use of emotion, listening, and the physical space available to us on our computer screens to make FUN choices and shift our minds from a place of judgment to a space of active participation and play.

Stand-Up with Jake Noll
1 Day, 6/16, 6-8pm CST, $30
Jake Noll is a stand-up who has opened for Matt Braunger, Beth Stelling, Emma Willmann, and Cameron Esposito. In addition, they are a producer of the storytelling show and podcast We Still Like You.

Workshop Series: Developing Your Personal Sketch Tool Kit with Ali Barthwell
4 weeks, Starting 6/19, 1-3pm CST, $150
A four week workshop series for sketch writers to develop their voice and writing skills.
Ali Barthwell is an Emmy winning writer for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Scene-work with Susan Messing
4 Weeks, Starts 7/19, 7-9pm CST, $150
Do scenes! Get Notes!! This four week class gives you the opportunity to brush up on your scene work and practice playing with everyone!!! Super fun!!!! Lots of exclamation points!!!!!

Latenite Writing with Patrick Rowland
4 Weeks, 6/23, 2-4pm CST, $150
Patrick will act as head writer and build a show discussing why he picked what he picked from your writing for the show and how it will be structured.

Starting a Career in Television with Seth Weitberg
1 Day, 6/23, 730-10pm CST, $30
Emmy-nominated writer/producer Seth Weitberg began his comedy career as a performer at iO and The Second City, and is excited to share everything he knows about making the transition from improv and sketch stages to working in television.

100% of the proceeds from this seminar will support the reopening of the iO Theater.

Commitment to Character with Yazmin Ramos
1 Day, 6/25, 12pm-2pm, $25
Learn to create or refine characters by sharpening their point of view and emotional perspective, defining objectives and motivations, and discovering how they interact with the world around them. This workshop will include a writing portion.

No Bad Ideas: A methodical approach to gag cartooning with Asher Perlman
1 day, 6/26, 6-8pm CST, $35
Asher doesn't believe in inspiration or strokes of genius. Instead, he relies on a series of tried-and-true systems that are guaranteed to help break through even the most unforgiving bouts of writer's block.

Intro to Directing Sketch Comedy For Stage with Jonald Reyes
3 Weeks, Starts 6/29, 6-9pm CST, $150
Prerequisite is at least 2 years of improvisation and comedic sketch writing.
This introductory course will share perspective on finding a Director's process. Discussions will include Auditions, The Use of Improv, Critical Thinking for Inclusivity, and Which Director Hat am I Wearing Now?

ENROLL NOW: https://tinyurl.com/msxzcffp

Check back for more information on even cooler stuff coming very soon!

Join the iO Team! We are looking for members of our Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee… is that you? The people on...
05/09/2022

Join the iO Team! We are looking for members of our Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee… is that you?

The people on this committee will meet monthly to address, investigate, analyze, and advise management staff regarding issues pertaining to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Additionally, the committee will be proactive in finding avenues of outreach and will help to guide decision-making to ensure that the theater is fulfilling its mission to be a safe and inclusive space for all creative artists.

The committee will be a one-year position, with a $25/hour stipend for each meeting attended. Send your resume and cover letter to [email protected] by this Thursday, May 12th if interested! #ioimprov

iO Theater is thrilled to announce our core leadership staff that will be working together to forge a path back to reope...
04/29/2022

iO Theater is thrilled to announce our core leadership staff that will be working together to forge a path back to reopening the theater and fostering a diverse, fair, welcoming, and creatively energized community.

The timeline for the theater's reopening remains fluid as we work to get our licenses and refresh and renew the space. At the same time, iO Theater is looking to the future: over the next several months, we will begin interviewing for many additional staff positions (if you've sent your resume, we still have it and will be in contact with those that we'll be interviewing). We will also announce the members of our new Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council.

Online classes will likely begin in late May/early June, with in-person classes resuming in the summer. Anyone that had previously paid for a class or had remaining credit for a class in March of 2020 will receive credit toward a new class.

To be notified of our latest updates, please go to ioimprov.com and sign up for the mailing list!

We look forward to welcoming you to the new iO Theater!

Check out this amazing video created by our friends James Dugan and Andy Junk with the help of their friends!This video ...
05/30/2020
This Year in Music: 2010 - Dancing on my Own

Check out this amazing video created by our friends James Dugan and Andy Junk with the help of their friends!

This video was part of the online show "This Year in Music: 2010", a celebration of the hits of 2010, produced by our very own, Molly Jones. Check out the whole show and it's amazing performances at https://youtu.be/eJ8hwaSolXI

Don't forget to tune in to "Late at Eight" tonight 8(CST) with your host, Tim Lyons!This weekly LIVE streaming comedy sh...
05/30/2020

Don't forget to tune in to "Late at Eight" tonight 8(CST) with your host, Tim Lyons!
This weekly LIVE streaming comedy show is filled with comedy, music, special guests, and more!
Streaming at twitch.tv/inthelyonsden

#thoughtfulthursday
05/28/2020

#thoughtfulthursday

This Saturday at 9 PM EST! Check out Cabin Fever Comedies Twitter Comedy Night hosted by Spitfire Comedy's Andrew Nadeau...
05/28/2020

This Saturday at 9 PM EST! Check out Cabin Fever Comedies Twitter Comedy Night hosted by Spitfire Comedy's Andrew Nadeau!

Head over to Youtube.com/c/cabinfevercomedy

Tonight at 7 PM! This Year in Music 2010!Musical tributes from iO performers to the songs that got us through the year! ...
05/27/2020
This Year In Music

Tonight at 7 PM!
This Year in Music 2010!
Musical tributes from iO performers to the songs that got us through the year! Live tonight on Youtube! Check it out and chat it up!

https://bit.ly/tyim2010

05/24/2020
Frank Talk

It's Hot Dog Season! let's celebrate with a #sketchsunday!

#thoughtfulthursday
05/21/2020

#thoughtfulthursday

Second online class added for "SKETCH BOOTCAMP: BITS, BLACKOUTS & BRAINSTORMING", with Rich Talarico!Visit ioimprov.com/...
05/20/2020

Second online class added for "SKETCH BOOTCAMP: BITS, BLACKOUTS & BRAINSTORMING", with Rich Talarico!

Visit ioimprov.com/class/online-classes/ for more info and REGISTER TODAY!

Enjoy this very funny short from our friend, Laurel Zoff Pelton. (Directed by Sacha Lusk, costume design by Kelly Cox an...
05/19/2020
Addict Frog

Enjoy this very funny short from our friend, Laurel Zoff Pelton. (Directed by Sacha Lusk, costume design by Kelly Cox and shot by Derek Cox.)

Written and Performed by Laurel Zoff Pelton Directed by Sacha Lusk Adapted from Q***r Little Hamster - an original solo show by Laurel Zoff Pelton. Polymyth ...

NEW ONLINE CLASSES IN JUNE!Sitcom Spec Script Writing ClassTalk Show Portfolio Writing ClassSNL Sketch Packet Writing Cl...
05/18/2020

NEW ONLINE CLASSES IN JUNE!

Sitcom Spec Script Writing Class
Talk Show Portfolio Writing Class
SNL Sketch Packet Writing Class
TV Pilot Presentation Writing Class
The Small Ensemble Improv Show with Ryan Archibald
The 3 Person Scene with Ryan Archibald
Old School Scene Construction with Ryan Archibald

05/17/2020
Hit the Sack

It's the best day of the week y'all: #sketchsunday. Another killer video from our pals!

Online Screenwriting Class with Jeff Griggs!This class will concentrate on the key components of turning a nugget of an ...
05/15/2020

Online Screenwriting Class with Jeff Griggs!

This class will concentrate on the key components of turning a nugget of an idea into a fully realized script.

Jeff teaches comedy and comedy writing at DePaul University, Columbia College, and The Harold Ramis Film School.
Go to ioimprov.com/class/online-classes/ for more info on the class, Jeff, and to REGISTER TODAY!

FREE Q&A webinar with Peabody Award winning and four-time Emmy nominated writer, Rich Talarico!On Tuesday, May 19th at 6...
05/14/2020

FREE Q&A webinar with Peabody Award winning and four-time Emmy nominated writer, Rich Talarico!

On Tuesday, May 19th at 6pm (CST), Rich Talarico will host a free Q&A to promote his upcoming online class and to discuss sketch writing and improvisation.
Rich is an iO and Second City alum who has written for iconic shows like Key & Peele, SNL, The Tonight Show, MADtv, and many more!

To sign up for the webinar, go to https://bit.ly/2WwurCx
Just enter your email address and a zoom link will be sent out on Tuesday, May 19th, by 12pm (CST)

#thoughtfulthursday
05/14/2020

#thoughtfulthursday

NEW ONLINE CLASSES!"SKETCH BOOTCAMP: BITS, BLACKOUTS & BRAINSTORMING" with Rich Talarico (former writer for SNL, Key & P...
05/07/2020

NEW ONLINE CLASSES!

"SKETCH BOOTCAMP: BITS, BLACKOUTS & BRAINSTORMING" with Rich Talarico (former writer for SNL, Key & Peele, The Tonight Show, MADtv, & more!
"Screenwriting 1" with Jeff Griggs
"The Armando" with Gretchen Eng

Visit ioimprov.com/class/online-classes/ for more info & to REGISTER TODAY!

Address

1501 N Kingsbury St
Chicago, IL
60642

Near North and Clybourn CTA Red Line and North Ave Bus

Opening Hours

Monday 6pm - 2am
Tuesday 6pm - 2am
Wednesday 6pm - 2am
Thursday 6pm - 2am
Friday 6pm - 2am
Saturday 6pm - 3am
Sunday 6pm - 2am

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Comments

IO needs your help! Our community engagement survey will be used to better serve you. Whether you were a student, performer, audience member, or have never been to IO, we want your feedback to help guide us in a new direction. The link to the Survey is here: https://tinyurl.com/yw5v65ev If you have any issues with the survey, please email [email protected] We can't wait to show you IO's new vision!
Welcome to the NEW iO Training Center. We have been working to create curriculum in line with the NEW iO’s mission of fostering a diverse, fair, welcoming, and creatively energized community. Head to iOImprov.com for more information and to sign up for any off the following! Monday Night Improv Drop-in with Rachael Mason Every Monday, Starts 6/6, 7-9pm CST, $20 Drop in any week to work on the craft with Rachael Mason! Improv ONLINE with Neal Dandade 4 weeks, Starting 6/9, 7-9pm, $150 In the online improv class with Neal Dandade, you’ll learn to get “out of your head” in front of your computer screen. Our goal is to augment our use of emotion, listening, and the physical space available to us on our computer screens to make FUN choices and shift our minds from a place of judgment to a space of active participation and play. Stand-Up with Jake Noll 1 Day, 6/16, 6-8pm CST, $30 Jake Noll is a stand-up who has opened for Matt Braunger, Beth Stelling, Emma Willmann, and Cameron Esposito. In addition, they are a producer of the storytelling show and podcast We Still Like You. Workshop Series: Developing Your Personal Sketch Tool Kit with Ali Barthwell 4 weeks, Starting 6/19, 1-3pm CST, $150 A four week workshop series for sketch writers to develop their voice and writing skills. Ali Barthwell is an Emmy winning writer for Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Scene-work with Susan Messing 4 Weeks, Starts 7/19, 7-9pm CST, $150 Do scenes! Get Notes!! This four week class gives you the opportunity to brush up on your scene work and practice playing with everyone!!! Super fun!!!! Lots of exclamation points!!!!! Latenite Writing with Patrick Rowland 4 Weeks, 6/23, 2-4pm CST, $150 Patrick will act as head writer and build a show discussing why he picked what he picked from your writing for the show and how it will be structured. Starting a Career in Television with Seth Weitberg 1 Day, 6/23, 730-10pm CST, $30 Emmy-nominated writer/producer Seth Weitberg began his comedy career as a performer at iO and The Second City, and is excited to share everything he knows about making the transition from improv and sketch stages to working in television. 100% of the proceeds from this seminar will support the reopening of the iO Theater. Commitment to Character with Yazmin Ramos 1 Day, 6/25, 12pm-2pm, $25 Learn to create or refine characters by sharpening their point of view and emotional perspective, defining objectives and motivations, and discovering how they interact with the world around them. This workshop will include a writing portion. No Bad Ideas: A methodical approach to gag cartooning with Asher Perlman 1 day, 6/26, 6-8pm CST, $35 Asher doesn't believe in inspiration or strokes of genius. Instead, he relies on a series of tried-and-true systems that are guaranteed to help break through even the most unforgiving bouts of writer's block. Intro to Directing Sketch Comedy For Stage with Jonald Reyes 3 Weeks, Starts 6/29, 6-9pm CST, $150 Prerequisite is at least 2 years of improvisation and comedic sketch writing. This introductory course will share perspective on finding a Director's process. Discussions will include Auditions, The Use of Improv, Critical Thinking for Inclusivity, and Which Director Hat am I Wearing Now? ENROLL NOW: https://tinyurl.com/msxzcffp Check back for more information on even cooler stuff coming very soon!
Join the iO Team! We are looking for members of our Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee… is that you? The people on this committee will meet monthly to address, investigate, analyze, and advise management staff regarding issues pertaining to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Additionally, the committee will be proactive in finding avenues of outreach and will help to guide decision-making to ensure that the theater is fulfilling its mission to be a safe and inclusive space for all creative artists. The committee will be a one-year position, with a $25/hour stipend for each meeting attended. Send your resume and cover letter to [email protected] by this Thursday, May 12th if interested! #ioimprov
iO Theater is thrilled to announce our core leadership staff that will be working together to forge a path back to reopening the theater and fostering a diverse, fair, welcoming, and creatively energized community. The timeline for the theater's reopening remains fluid as we work to get our licenses and refresh and renew the space. At the same time, iO Theater is looking to the future: over the next several months, we will begin interviewing for many additional staff positions (if you've sent your resume, we still have it and will be in contact with those that we'll be interviewing). We will also announce the members of our new Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Council. Online classes will likely begin in late May/early June, with in-person classes resuming in the summer. Anyone that had previously paid for a class or had remaining credit for a class in March of 2020 will receive credit toward a new class. To be notified of our latest updates, please go to ioimprov.com and sign up for the mailing list! We look forward to welcoming you to the new iO Theater!
Black Lives Matter Portraits from Ray Glass - https://mailchi.mp/ioimprov/the-io-theater-is-online-2495706
Black Lives Matter - A Statement from The iO Theater We at the iO Theater are ashamed and disgusted at the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others, and the long, awful legacy of black death without justice in this country. The past week has been a painful reminder for so many of our citizens that there is anti-racist work to be done on every level of society, especially by white America. Even amidst a global pandemic, black Americans suffer disproportionately. This is yet another symptom of a centuries-long problem that can no longer be ignored or shoved into a corner. It is no longer enough to acknowledge racism - we must be actively anti-racist. We must seek out racism and confront it, even, and especially, when it’s difficult and uncomfortable. We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and the protesters calling for change. Many members of our staff and our performers have been out on the streets marching in protest. More than anything, we are grateful and humbled by the black activists that have, for years, put themselves in harm’s way to show us that change is needed, and that action must be taken. We are proud of the protesters both at home and overseas. The world knows America needs change, yet our leadership lacks the courage. A true leader would call for the arrest of the police officers who assisted the murder of George Floyd. A true leader would understand that sending in the military to incapacitate, shoot, and arrest justice-seeking protesters will only incite more violence. A true leader would answer the call for justice and seek peace. A true leader would be against racism. This issue affects the iO Theater as well. We know we can and must do more to promote the black voices in our community, and to remove the institutional barriers that stand in their way. We feel saddened that the black performers, teachers, students, and staff at iO have to deal with this violent reality every day. We feel love and genuine admiration for our black community members and all of the people of color who participate, perform, teach, and work at our theater. Improv comedy is a community art form, and black voices, and the voices of people of color, are an underrepresented part of that community. This is an issue we have to be constantly working to solve. We stand in solidarity with this movement; to acknowledge and decry the white privilege inherent in the nation, our city, and our theater. We promise to continue to address and dismantle institutionalized obstacles, lay out specific plans for addressing black disenfranchisement in our theater, and open the conversation with our performers of color. Black Lives Matter. We must listen, and the brutal attacks against black men and women must end. Here are some of the resources we found helpful that we wanted to share: ACTIONS: Justice for George Floyd (petitions & calls): https://www.justiceforbigfloyd.com/ https://www.change.org/p/mayor-jacob-frey-justice-for-george-floyd https://www.amnesty.org/en/get-involved/take-action/george-floyd-police-violence-usa/ Justice for Breonna Taylor (petitions) : https://action.justiceforbreonna.org/sign/BreonnaWasEssential/ https://www.change.org/p/andy-beshear-justice-for-breonna-taylor A number of other petition links: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#petitions Calls & Texts you can make/send: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#text Register to Vote: https://vote.gov/ Have conversations with family & friends: https://boldconversations.org/ Deliver Groceries: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd9JlbX12sZFaV16xSb20gPWMO93hReEle_XsvRMeszlfBBog/viewform Help Clean-Up: https://blockclubchicago.org/2020/06/01/my-block-my-hood-my-city-asks-for-volunteers-help-rebuilding-south-side-businesses/ DONATE: Black Lives Matter Chicago: https://www.blacklivesmatterchicago.com/donate/ The Chicago Alliance Against Racial & Political Oppression: https://www.caarpr.org/fundraising Chicago Community Bond Fund: https://chicagobond.org/donate/ Chris Redd's Protester Covid-19 GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/covid19-protest-relief-fund Campaign Zero: https://www.joincampaignzero.org/#vision The Marshall Project: https://www.themarshallproject.org/donate NAACP Legal Defense Fund: https://www.naacpldf.org Communities United Against Police Brutality: https://www.cuapb.org ACLU: https://action.aclu.org/give/now?redirect=donate Fair Fight: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/fairfight-2020-dtd READ/WATCH/LISTEN: Anti-Racism for Beginners: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1S5uckFHCA_XZkxG0Zg5U4GQGbY_RklZARwu43fqJH0E/mobilebasic Anti-Racism Resource Doc: bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES List of Relevant Articles: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bUJrgX8vspyy7YttiEC2vD0DawrpPYiZs94V0ov7qZQ/htmlview Terminology Glossary: https://docs.google.com/document/d/11DKdCd4AUmwcG6igDLz9rlYJcdrJzGP6cmy3s7gNgDQ/mobilebasic Community Policing Toolkit from the Obama Foundation:https://www.obama.org/wp-content/uploads/Toolkit.pdf Showing Up for Racial Justice Resources: https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/resources.html Support Black Businesses & Black Art: Support Black Art: https://www.instagram.com/supportblackart/ Resources to Connect to Black-Owned Businesses: https://www.timeout.com/chicago/news/these-local-resources-connect-chicagoans-to-black-owned-businesses-053120