About our programming
Arcade Comedy Theater is a presenting and producing arts organization open to bold new ideas, emerging and established artists, and innovative shows that make the most out of our two performing spaces.
The mission of Arcade’s programming department is to produce and present dynamic, engaging comedy shows that lift the spirit and inspire joy in our community. We envision productions that are inclusive and collaborative, filled with exemplary performances, and inspire connection and community-building.
This page offers producers a place to submit show ideas and learn about the guidelines with which we assess those submissions. It’s also a place for individual artists, touring comedians, or independent comedy troupes looking to appear on our stage.
These forms are not the only way we program shows at our theater, but if you are new to the community or the process this is a good place to start.
The majority of the shows that appear on Arcade’s stages are “presented” shows produced by artists in the Pittsburgh community. Whether you have put on a show at our theater before, somewhere else in town, or are looking to get try it out for the first time: we’d love to hear from you.
How this works:
- Fill out the form with as much information as you can.
- Our programming department reviews the form submissions every 3-4 weeks. We are currently booking 3 months in advance.
- We’ll let you know if your show is a good fit for us, needs some work, or if we’re passing on the idea at this time.
- If your show moves forward, we’ll work with you to find a timeslot, get marketing materials in place, and help you have a great show.
- If your show isn’t quite a good fit, we’ll do our best to let you know why. Producers are always able to go back and work on an idea more and resubmit it.
How does Arcade assess show submissions?
We believe that every type of show, from a highly thematic improv show to a casual stand-up showcase, can fulfill our programming department mission. We also want to meet the expectations of our audiences, who have supported our unique theater over the years. When a show is submitted, we run it through the following questions. Shows that we present strive to answer some or all of the following:
- Is the production dynamic?
Does the show bring new ideas, a new format, or is the producer open to evolving the show through feedback?
- Is the show idea engaging?
How might the audience have any input or interact with the show? Will the idea and how it is presented draw people in?
- Will the comedy be joy-filled?
The content of a show is devised by the comedians, improvisers, writers involved with the show; however, are the performers and the production approaching the performance with a sense of optimism? Is the show going to be fun?
- Are the performers of a high caliber?
Is the cast of the production balanced? Regardless of experience level, will you be presenting a professional product?
- Is the show inclusive?
Who have you asked to be involved in your show, and does the cast and crew fully represent the community? Have you been intentional in your casting?
- Are there ways in which this production will contribute to a community?
How might your show connect with audiences new to the art form? Does your production/artists/theme have a following?
Show submission form
If you have a great show idea (stand-up, sketch, improv, variety) and you’d like to produce it at our theater, fill out this form with as much information as you can. Please allow at least 21 days before following up.
If you’re a touring comedian, a solo act or improviser, or a comedy troupe looking to bring your set to the stage, Arcade’s programming team is happy to help connect you with producers putting together shows at our theater. While our programming department doesn’t often book individual comics on shows, we often work with producers who do. Fill out this form and let us know who you are, what kind of comedy you do, and show us some examples. We can’t guarantee you’re going to get booked on a show, but we’ll at least share your information with producers.
How this works:
- Fill out the form with as much information as you can — a video clip, headshot, or credits go a long way.
- Our programming department reviews the form submissions and makes them available to producers putting together shows.
- If someone wants to book you, they’ll be contacted you with the information you provided.
As always, we encourage comedians and improvisers who are interested in Arcade to come down and visit the theater, catch a show, and talk to the hosts or producers afterwards. Our theater offers a number of opportunities for performers to get involved — including performing in jams, taking classes, submitting acts to Beta Stage (when that show is running), and submitting a show idea to produce on your own.