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

In-Person Classes at the Arcade: Session 1

943 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15222

Intro to Stand-Up Comedy - Thursdays

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: Suzanne Lawrence
8 weeks
First class: January 13
Class show: March 3
Prerequisites: none

$250 | 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
8 weeks
First class: January 11
Class show: March 1

$250 | 18+

Improv 102: Scenework - Mondays

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: Kyle Longsdorf
8 weeks
First class: January 10
Class show: February 28

Prerequisites: Improv 101 or approval of submitted prerequisite exception form.

$250 | 18+

Improv 103: Game and Pattern - Mondays

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: Robin Hitchcock
8 weeks
First class: January 10
Class show: February 28

Prerequisites: Improv 101 and 102 or approval of submitted prerequisite exception form.

$250 | 18+

Improv 301: The Harold - Tuesdays

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
8 weeks
First class: January 11
Class show: March 1

Prerequisites: Improv 101, 102, 201 (Improv 202 recommended); or approval of submitted prerequisite exception form.

$250 | 18+

Coaching Improv - Wednesdays

Behind every great improv team is a great coach, but learning how to take on this behind-the-scenes role can be mysterious and challenging. This six-week class will explore the theory and practice of effectively coaching an improv team to better performances, stronger group mind, and higher player satisfaction. We’ve assembled a team of some of the most experienced improv coaches in Pittsburgh to bring various perspectives and insights to the class. Each week is targeted to a specific aspect of improv coaching including giving targeted and actionable notes, running exciting warm-ups, effectively side-coaching, and creating empowering challenges for your players. Several weeks of class will include guest teams or performers for students to work with to get real-life experience coaching improv.

Various instructors including Robin Hitchcock, Renee Rabenold, Tyler Ray Kendrick, Liz Labacz, and Greg Gillotti
6 weeks
First class: January 12

Prerequisites: Approximately 1 year of improv experience or approval of submitted prerequisite exception form.

$180 | 18+

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.