Dec 13, 2013 View All News

Second City comes to Brick City


Second City comes to Brick City

NJPAC and The Second City improv troupe team up on comedy workshops for teens and adults.


New Jersey Performing Arts Center and The Second City, the country’s leading improv comedy troupe, 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 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 lifelong 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,” said Kerry Sheehan, President, The Second City Training & Education Programs International. “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.”

Instructors from The Second City will teach improv and sketch comedy at a two-week Teen Camp for students ages 15-18 running Aug. 4-15 and a one-week improvisation workshop for teens ages 15-18 with the Autism Spectrum Disorder running Aug. 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 Aug. 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 ranges from $295 to $750.  For details 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 theater 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 premier comic talent for the industry.

Dec. 13, 2013