Diversity and Community Engagement at PHIT
We are not what other people say we are. We are who we know ourselves to be, and we are what we love. That’s okay. - Laverne Cox

Representation in the performing arts is critical. However, far too many aspiring comedians, actors, directors, and producers are discouraged from this pursuit because they do not see their faces, bodies, and experiences reflected on the stage or screen. Philly Improv Theater recognizes this as a problem, and is committed to increasing representation and opportunity in comedy among and for historically marginalized identities. These identities include:

  • people of color
  • people over 40 years of age
  • people in the LGBTQIA community
  • women, people who are gender non-conforming, and people who identify outside the gender binary
  • people with physical, emotional, or cognitive disabilities
  • people who are active duty military service members or military veterans.

Towards this end, PHIT offers Diversity Scholarships, which allow recipients to take free classes at our training center. Since 2016, PHIT has awarded $50,000 in scholarships each year, allowing hundreds of students who might not otherwise be able to do so to learn at the PHIT Training Center.

In addition to scholarships, PHIT’s Diversity Program also offers practice groups specifically for students from historically marginalized identities, opportunities to meet and discuss diversity at the theater, and a chance for greater involvement in our diversity work by joining the informal diversity committee.

For more information, read on, follow the links below, and/or contact PHIT’s Diversity Coordinator, Benjamin Kuss, at bkuss@phillyimprovtheater.com

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Apply For A Diversity Scholarship

Each year PHIT makes $50,000 in tuition scholarship opportunities available to students from historically marginalized identities. These scholarships are awarded 5 times throughout the year. In addition, a travel stipend is available to successful scholarship applicants who need assistance covering the costs associated with getting to our classes.

  • Scholarships are awarded individually each session. If awarded a scholarship, you may take one core level class (a class ending in “01” – i.e. Improv 101, Sketch 301, Acting 201, Stand-up 101, etc.).
  • If you are unable to take a class during the session for which you are awarded, you may delay your scholarship 1 (one) session and use your scholarship in the next session.
  • Scholarships may not be exchanged for cash, nor may they be used to receive a discount on non core-classes (i.e. workshops, master classes, etc.).

Past recipients are encouraged to apply again. PHIT seeks to train people from diverse backgrounds who are serious about comedy, intend to take a full core curriculum of courses and audition for stage shows and house teams.

Current Application Deadline for Session 4, 2018:
Friday, June 15th, 11:59 p.m. (online)
Saturday, June 16th, 9:00 a.m. (hard-copy mail or drop-off)
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Participate In Our Diversity Programming

We offer identity-based practice time and space regularly at PHIT. Follow the link to visit and join the “PHIT Diversity Program and Pals” Facebook group so you can receive timely announcements of upcoming events and join general discussion of diversity at PHIT, in the Philadelphia comedy and theatre communities, and beyond!

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Serve On The Diversity Committee

In order to increase representation and opportunity at PHIT, and to do our part to address these issues in the wider Philadelphia performing arts community, we need you! If you would like to get involved in diversity programming and outreach at PHIT, we have a number of volunteer opportunities, and we are open to your ideas. Please email Benjamin Kuss, PHIT’s Diversity Coordinator, to learn more!