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

Indoor Classes at the Arcade: Session 4

943 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15222

Intro to Stand-Up Comedy - Tuesdays

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: Brittany Alexis
8 weeks
First class: October 12
Week off: November 23
Class show: December 7
Prerequisites: none

$250 | 18+

Improv 101: Foundations - Mondays

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: October 11
Week off: November 22

Class show: December 6

$250 | 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: Tyler Ray Kendrick
8 weeks
First class: October 12
Week off: November 23
Class show: December 8

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

$250 | 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
8 weeks
First class: October 12
Week off: November 23
Class show: December 7

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

$250 | 18+

6-Week Online Classes at the Arcade

Available to students anywhere in the world!

ONLINE: Intro to TV Writing with Rich Talarico

In this six-week online writing course, students will learn television writing basics including comedy devices and techniques from Peabody Award winner and 4-time Emmy nominated writer and producer Rich Talarico. Rich will teach comedy and TV writing “must-knows”: from how to write jokes, black-outs, to scenes, pilot technique, and more. Students will also learn the valuable writers’ room skills of contributing to others’ ideas and pitches and incorporating the suggestions of their peers.

Includes a free Q&A Session with Rich Talarico and Academy Director Robin Hitchcock Wednesday October 20 at 7:00PM EDT

Time:7:00-9:30PM EDT
Dates:
 Wednesdays October 27-December 8
Instructor: Rich Talarico
Prerequisites: This class is open to beginner and experienced writers with familiarity with sketch comedy or comedic screenwriting.

$300 | 18+

Read more about the class
Students will complete weekly writing assignments due 48 hours before each session.

Location: Class to be held over Zoom. Students in the Pittsburgh area are welcome to bring their laptop to the theater and attend class together there! Participants will need access to a computer with a stable internet connection. The workshop will be conducted over Zoom, which requires creating a free account.

Class size is limited to 8 students, with a class minimum of 5 students.

About Rich: 

Rich Talarico is an alum of The Second City and Improv Olympic theaters in Chicago. Rich worked for 15 years in late night TV on shows like Key & PeeleReviewMADtvSaturday Night Live, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Rich has also produced and wrote Frank TV for TBS and was a writer/performer on The Sketch Pad for HBO. Rich did script punch-ups on Tina Fey’s Mean Girls and the Oscar-winning Get Out. Rich’s most recent feature film script, The Widow Daredevil, was named an official selection of the 2020 Beverly Hills Film Festival. As an actor, Rich has appeared in featured roles on MADtvLate Night with Conan O’Brien and the feature film, High Fidelity. Rich also appeared in numerous TV commercials, most notably A&W Root Beer’s “Mr. Dumass.”

Here’s what you need to know:

Arcade Academy sessions generally run eight weeks. Classes take place at either our theater at 943 Liberty Avenue or our education space on the second and third floors of 707 Penn Avenue. 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!

Here’s what you need to know about outdoor classes:

Arcade Academy at the Oasis classes are sold as individual, drop-in classes. If you’d like to register for a class, you’ll be taken to our ShowClix registration page where you can choose the date(s) you’d like to attend. It’s a fast & secure way to register for classes online with your credit card. Tuition for outdoor classes follow our new refund policy. Unless specified otherwise, these classes are for adults 18 and older. Tuition for online workshops is non-refundable. 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.

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!

The Arcade Campus

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. Our classrooms at 707 Penn Avenue require the use of stairs and have an all-gender single-stall restroom. 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.

The 707 Academy

This classroom space is located a block from the theater at 707 Penn Avenue, on the second and third floors above the 707/709 Gallery.

The Trust Oasis

Accessibility

Arcade is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all of our patrons, students, and performing artists. Our outdoor facilities are at the Trust Oasis, 133 Seventh St (next door to Proper Brick Oven) are designed for wheelchair access both in our audience and on our stages. We are unable to offer accessible restrooms in our outdoor space. If you have any accessibility requirements, please contact us at: academy@arcadecomedytheater.com