Arcade Academy

Have fun learning the art of comedy!

Whether it’s improv, sketch, or stand-up, the Arcade Academy can teach you the art of comedy, regardless of your experience. If you’re new to our training program, then start at the 100 level of improv classes and learn our philosophy from the ground up! Or if writing is more your style, we offer sketch comedy and stand-up classes too. Our classes are welcoming, accessible, and packed full of insights from some of the most experienced teachers in the city.

Get ready to have fun, meet people, and open yourself up to Pittsburgh’s growing comedy scene!

Learn more about our updated policies on our updated Academy FAQ page.

We had some totally new people playing with us that have never taken improv before … it was fun being a part of introducing new people to improv/Arcade

Academy Student

Classes at the Arcade: Fall Session

943 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15222

Intro to Stand-Up Comedy - Mondays

Have you ever wanted to try stand up comedy but weren’t sure how to start? This class is for you! You’ll learn exercises, tools, and techniques for generating ideas, writing jokes, preparing your act, and analyzing and improving your performance. We’ll cover on-stage mechanics and “comedy etiquette.” This class explores the wide variety of styles of Stand-up, extracting lessons that can be incorporated into your act, in a supportive and fun environment. Through this 8 week course that culminates with a class show, you’ll discover and develop your personal comedy voice, while building a foundation for continued growth.

Teacher: Sean Collier
Mondays 6:30PM – 9:30PM
First class: Jan 16
Class show: Mar 6
Prerequisites: none

$280 $250 through 2022 | 18+

Improv 101: Foundations - Tuesdays

This eight-week, three-hour class is open to everyone and appropriate for all levels of improv experience. Whether you are completely new to improvisation, or are a seasoned performer who wants to get back to basics, this class is for you. Learning skills through improv games & exercises, our focus is on: “Yes And” (agreement and extension), group mind, give and take, and basic environment and object work in a supportive, playful environment. Improv 101 ends with a class show performance for friends and family!

Teacher: Beth Geatches
Tuesdays 6:30–9:30PM
First class: January 17
Class show: March 7  
Class show: December 7 

$280 $250 through 2022 | 18+

Improv 102: Scenework - Wednesdays

This eight-week class focuses on one of the most critical elements of great improv: scenework. Building on the foundations and skills of Improv 101, here we focus on starting scenes with decisive initiations and confident stage presence.  Agreement and group mind will be taken to the next level as well as working on character development and emotional investment. Trusting yourself as well as your scene partner is the first step towards great scene work. Improv 102 concludes with a class performance showcasing the skills of building strong scenes.

Instructor: Sara Kantner
Wednesdays 6:30–9:30PM
First class: January 18
Class show: March 8
Prerequisites: Improv 101 or approval of submitted prerequisite exception form.

$280 $250 through 2022 | 18+

Improv 103: Game and Pattern - Tuesdays

This new class addresses one of the most common points of confusion for improv students: how do I find and play “the game of the scene?” By focusing on game and pattern for eight weeks, this class will give you the tools you need to kick up the humor quotient of any short form game or longform set you perform. Improv 103 is also a fantastic class for seasoned improvisers who feel they’re in a slump and want to sharpen up, or performers returning to the craft after some time away.

Instructor Matt Solter
Tuesdays 6:30–9:30PM
First class: January 17
Class show: March 7  
Prerequisites: Improv 101 and 102 or approval of submitted prerequisite exception form.

$280 $250 through 2022 | 18+

Improv 301: The Harold - Mondays

This class focuses on the Harold, the gold standard of long-form improv. The Harold provides improvisors an opportunity to learn and practice all the basic building blocks commonly used in long-form improv: openings, edits, games, group scenes, and callbacks. This class will give you the tools to forge group mind and build a spontaneous and evocative piece of improvised theater.

Teacher: Nick Jaramillo
Mondays 6:30–9:30PM
First class: January 16
Class show: March 6
Prerequisites: Improv 101, 102, 201 (Improv 202 recommended); or approval of submitted prerequisite exception form.

$280 $250 through 2022 | 18+

Improv Diagnostic

This six-week intensive gives students an evaluation of their improv skills and recommendations for improvement from a variety of perspectives. With a different instructor each week, students will get personalized notes and guidance on their scene work and improv skills, followed up with a complete written summary of their evaluations. Our highly-experienced instructors will give you a better understanding of yourself as an improvisor, and strategies on how to maximize your strengths and challenge yourself to improve.

Various instructors including Tyler Ray Kendrick, Greg Gillotti, and Arcade Comedy Theater Managing Artistic Director Abby Fudor
6 weeks
First class: January 18
Final class: February 22

Prerequisites: Improv 101 & 102 (Improv 103 recommended); or approval of submitted prerequisite exception form.

$210 $190 through 2022

Here’s what you need to know:

Arcade Academy sessions generally run eight weeks. Classes take place at our theater at 943 Liberty Avenue or on rare occasions off-site at a nearby Cultural Trust-owned property. If you’d like to register for a class, just click the big buttons and you’ll be taken to our ShowClix registration page. It’s a fast & secure way to register for classes online with your credit card. Tuition is non-refundable and non-transferrable. Unless specified otherwise, these classes are for adults 18 and older. Teachers listed may be subject to change at the Arcade’s discretion or as a result of unforeseen scheduling conflicts — while we try to avoid teacher substitution, it does happen from time and time and is not grounds for a refund.

The Arcade is also accepting a limited number of interns. Click here to learn more about our internship program.

We’ve revised our policy regarding course prerequisites: students need to meet all pre-reqs before signing up for an advanced level class. Every improv school approaches these techniques and philosophies differently, and so does the Arcade. So it’s good for you and your classmates if everyone has the same level of Arcade Academy training and vocabulary. You can find all of our current policies on our Academy FAQ page.

If you have any questions at all, feel free to call us at 412-339-0608 and we’ll get back to you right away!

Accessibility

Arcade is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all of our patrons, students, and performing artists. Our facilities at 943 Liberty Avenue are designed for wheelchair access both in our audience and on our stages. We also offer all-gender bathrooms and elevator access to all floors. If you have any accessibility requirements, please contact us at: academy@arcadecomedytheater.com

943 Liberty Avenue

During the week, the Arcade transforms into an amazing, multi-classroom learning space with classes taking place in our downstairs and upstairs theaters as well as our second floor lounge.