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: Summer Session

943 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15222

Improv: Beginners and Basics

This four-week class is designed as a mini introduction to improv for new performers, a place for seasoned performers to return to fundamentals, or an extension of foundational improv education for veterans of our Improv 101 class! This class will let you learn and practice the core skills of improv comedy through fun short form games and exercises in a supportive, safe, and playful environment.

A student showcase will be held on Thursday, June 30 for students to show their skills to family and friends!

Teacher: Beth Geatches
4 weeks
First class: June 7
Class show: Thursday June 30
Prerequisites: none

$140 | 18+

Building Character

This four-week intensive focuses on one of the fundamental pillars of comedy: character. Using improv, acting, and writing techniques, instructor Sara Kantner will help students develop engaging and unique comedic characters, and give them the tools to perform these roles confidently. In addition to practicing playing strong characters in improv scenes, students will explore using a character as a starting point for sketch or stand-up comedy.

A student showcase will be held on Thursday, June 30 for students to demonstrate their character work!

Teacher: Sara Kantner
4 weeks
First class: June 6
Class show: Thursday June 30
Prerequisites: Improv 101 and 102 or approval of submitted prerequisite exception form.

$140 | 18+

Sketch Comedy Production

This new four-week class will cover everything it takes to bring a comedy sketch from the page to the stage. Each student will develop their script into a produced sketch, learning how to work with actors, how to use props and costumes to enhance their sketch (even on a tight budget), and how to work with stage managers for seamless tech. The class will work with our team of veteran sketch producer instructors to understand how a complete sketch show comes together. The class will have a showcase performance of their produced sketches on the Arcade Mainstage on Friday, June 24.

Dates: Wednesdays June 1–22 6:30-9:30PM, Class show Friday June 24 8:00PM
Teachers: Robin Hitchcock with guest sketch production experts including Frank McDade and Aaron Tarnow
4 weeks
Prerequisites: Intro to Sketch Writing or approval of submitted prerequisite exception form (writing sample submitted to academy@arcadecomedytheater.com suggested)

$140 | 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.