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 trend, 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
  • Members of the LGBTQIA+ community, including people who are gender non-conforming, and people who identify outside the gender binary
  • Women
  • People with physical, emotional, or cognitive disabilities
  • People who are active duty military service members or military veterans.

To 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 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.

PHIT recognizes that it, like many similar theaters around the country and the world, was created in a time and place that favored white supremacy. As an institution we have benefited from, participated in, and perpetuated systems that favor dominant groups in American society. We do not claim special expertise or secret knowledge of how to solve these problems, but are committed to honest, good faith efforts to correct inequities which we find through our own investigation or which are brought to our attention by members of the community. As individuals and as an organization we are not perfect and do not claim to be, but we are committed to acknowledging and correcting mistakes – which we will make. If you would like to report an experience you have had at the theater that involves and/or impacts our efforts towards inclusion, equity, and diversity – good, bad, or somewhere in between – you can do so by speaking to a member of staff who you feel comfortable sharing a concern with, contacting to our outside human resources consultant, or letting us know using our anonymous community feedback form (with the option to identify yourself if you would like staff to follow up).

For more information on our efforts toward inclusion, equity, and diversity, read on, follow the links below, and/or contact PHIT’s staff at contact@phillyimprovtheater.com.

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Apply For A Diversity Scholarship

Each year PHIT makes $50,000 in full and partial tuition scholarship opportunities available to students from historically marginalized identities. These scholarships are awarded 5 times throughout the year. 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 wants all students to continue to learn and grow in our Training Center.

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until all scholarships are awarded. See the application page for more details…

While PHIT remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic we are not accepting applications for scholarships. Any person who received a scholarship which expired during our shutdown will have the time to use their scholarship extended. Details will be emailed to scholarship students when we begin re-opening.

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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

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 our PHIT staff to learn more!

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