Dec 11, 2013 View All News

NJPAC & The Second City Partner on Comedy Workshops

NJPAC and The Second City Partner on
Comedy Workshops for Teens and Adults

Newark joins Hollywood, Toronto and Chicago as
fourth training site for The Second City

(Newark, NJ – December 9, 2013) New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and The Second City, the country’s leading improv comedy troupe, today announced a partnership that adds Newark to Hollywood, Toronto and Chicago as a training site for the revered company’s comedy improvisation workshops for aspiring comedians of all ages.    The courses, to be held in NJPAC’s Center for Arts Education in August 2014, will include two sets of classes for teens, one with curriculum specifically designed for students with the Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as a course for adults.  With this program, NJPAC adds the comedy genre to its arts education offerings, allowing students to explore the fundamentals of improvisation as they study the same building blocks of scene-work used on Second City's stages by the likes of Mike Myers, Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and Tina Fey.  Registration begins in January 2014 at

In describing the initiative, Laurie Carter, NJPAC’s Vice-President for Arts Education, said “We are thrilled to bring this innovative new program to the tri-state area.  At NJPAC we are always mindful of ways to present life-long learning opportunities to a variety of constituencies.   Working with a world-class institution such as The Second City will give NJPAC a new way to bring professional level comedy improvisation training to teens and adults alike.”

"The Second City is delighted to bring our unique brand of improvisational training to NJPAC in 2014.  Our youth and adult programming offers an experience for novices as well as aspiring artists; these courses will give the same study opportunity to the NJPAC community as our theaters offer in Chicago, Toronto and Hollywood.  We're also exceptionally excited to offer a course specifically for teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  This class takes the benefits of improvisational play - listening skills, creativity, and safety to take a risk - and provides it to these youth in a way that's unparalleled in traditional curriculum," said Kerry Sheehan, President, The Second City Training & Education Programs International.

Instructors from The Second City will teach improv and sketch comedy at a two-week Teen Camp for students ages 15-18 running August 4-15 and a one week improvisation workshop for teens ages 15-18 with the Autism Spectrum Disorder running August 4-8.  During the experience, students will explore improvisation as taught and performed at The Second City.  Developing skills like creative thinking, self-confidence, listening, brainstorming, team building, empathy and communication, they will also learn the basics of sketch comedy scenes – the building block of any Second City show.  Campers will learn to use improvisation to develop and create original sketches.

The week-long Adult Improvisation and Comedy Writing Immersion course, running August 4-8, will offer a full exploration of scenic improvisation and comedy sketch writing for adults with all levels of experience.  Both the teen and adult programs run concurrently—ideal for parents and kids who both would like to take class at the same time.

Tuition for the three camps range from $295 to $750.  For more detailed information about tuition and registration, please contact NJPAC’s Arts Education Department at 973-353-7058.

With its roots in the improvisational games of Viola Spolin, The Second City developed an entirely unique way of creating and performing comedy.  Founded by Spolin’s son, Paul Sills, along with Howard Alk and Bernie Sahlins, The Second City was experimental and unconventional in its approach to both theatre and comedy.  At a time when mother-in-law jokes were more the fashion, The Second City railed against the conformist culture with scenes that spoke to a younger generation.  Today, the Second City continues to produce the premiere comic talent in the industry. 

About NJPAC Arts Education
Every year NJPAC’s Arts Education offerings reach over 60,000 students through live performances, in-school residency programs and arts training classes.  With a variety of offerings including jazz education, through NJPAC’s Wells Fargo Jazz for Teens program and its new Brick City Jazz Orchestra, to school training programs that address the NJ Standards in the Arts, there is an offering for everyone.  NJPAC Arts Education programs are made possible by the generosity of:  Bank of America, The Arts Education Endowment Fund in Honor of Raymond G. Chambers, Leon & Toby Cooperman, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, Amy C. Liss, McCrane Foundation, Merck Company Foundation, Albert & Katharine Merck, The Prudential Foundation, The PSEG Foundation, David & Marian Rocker, The Sagner Family Foundation, The Star-Ledger/Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Surdna Foundation, Verizon, Victoria Foundation, Wachovia, a Wells Fargo Company and The Women’s Association of NJPAC.

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States.  It is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey -- where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day.  As New Jersey’s Town Square, NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the State’s and the world’s best artists, while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city.  Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts.  NJPAC has attracted over seven million visitors (including more than one million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents.  Visit or call 1-888-GO-NJPAC for more information.

Programming is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, and by Discover Jersey Arts.  NJPAC is a wheelchair accessible facility and provides assistive services for patrons with disabilities.

The Second City
The Second City is the leading brand in improv-based sketch comedy. With theatres in Chicago and Toronto, Training Centers in those cites as well as Hollywood, 11 full time touring ensembles, thriving corporate communications and theatricals divisions as well as television and film operations, The Second City has been called "A Comedy Empire" by the New York Times.  Their Training Centers reach a diverse audience of students each year, with curriculum of Improvisation, Acting, Writing, and Directing for both adults and children.