Philly Improv Theater: Philadelphia’s Premier Comedy Improv Training Center
Looking for improv or acting classes for adults in Philly? Look no further than PHIT, one of the longest-running and most trusted names in improv training in the city.
Our community is a vibrant mix of students, instructors, performers, and staff, all brought together by the love of improv and performance. We welcome people from all walks of life, creating a diverse and exciting environment for everyone to enjoy.
Whether you’re a newbie seeking a fresh activity and new friendships, a business professional aiming to enhance your presentation skills, or an aspiring or experienced performer eager to refine your stage techniques, Philly Improv Theater is your ultimate destination.
At PHIT, we are experts in improv and performance, so you can trust us to help you unleash your creativity and achieve your goals in a supportive and dynamic setting. Our instructors are working comedy and theater professionals. You will see them in live theater shows, tv/film, stand-up acts, cabaret and drag shows around Philadelphia and throughout the country. Join our community today and discover the magic of improv and performance with Philly Improv Theater. We know improv. We know performance.
Students are no longer required to be fully vaccinated in order to participate in classes/workshops/drop ins/Skills Lab/Practice groups. Masks are optional at this time. This policy is subject to change without advance notice.
Please review our health and safety policies. PHIT continues to monitor the guidance from public health agencies and Philadelphia City officials. The safety of all of our patrons, staff, and instructors is a high priority. To that end, all instructors are fully vaccinated.
I HAVE QUESTIONS !
Glad you asked! Improv is the art of creating a spontaneous character, situation, scene, or even an entire play from a single word, phrase or idea provided by an audience, based on a prompt from the performers. That doesn’t mean the actors are just “winging it” Improvisers use a very precise set of techniques that focus on communication through observation, listening and reacting in the moment to a given situation. It is these exact skills that make it look like the actors must have been preparing for weeks!
YES! Whether you want to be a comedian, actor for stage or screen, write the next great novel, lead a team of executives, or have fun and enriching experiences with friends, you’ll discover taking an improv class provides a platform for better problem solving, communication, developing and maintaining trust, and rock-solid confidence. Sounds great, wouldn’t you agree?
Best of all, learning improv is FUN! Like all performing arts there are elements that seem challenging at first and then one day you can’t recall a time you didn’t improvise. Think of it like learning to ride a bike. At first you might fall down, then you are a little wobbly, but with a little help and support you keep doing it, and one day …. wooosh! You’re off and flying! Improv is just like that. You never forget the wooosh! of that first big laugh from an audience!
The Harold is a format or structure in which improvisers play with a suggestion provided by the audience. It is considered a classic structure and has spawned many assorted variations. At PHIT we believe players who learn how to improvise with HAROLD have a strong set of skills which translate well into many varieties of improv structures. It can be challenging at first, but the more you do it the better performer you will become.
PHIT’s improv program starts with level 101 where students learn basic, foundational improv skills– working from a positive state of mind, practice listening, true collaboration with Yes And!, creating an environment out of thin air, and performing scenes based on a single suggestion. Each week builds on the skills learned in the previous week. And each level builds on the previous one, adding skills like emotional range, relationship, patterns, group games, as well as developing essential performance skills like learning how to use your body, voice and imagination. Everything leads towards our level 501 where students learn and perform a full HAROLD.
Experience is great!
If you have performed or taken long form improv classes with a training center similar to Philly Improv Theater (locally ComedySportz Philadelphia/PSI, Crossroads Theater, The Lab in Ambler) or classes in Boston, Chicago, Los Angles, New York , Washington D.C., or elsewhere please contact our Education Director for permission to start at level 201. Regardless of prior training or experience we do not start students higher than 201.
If you have performed or taken long form classes and it’s been a while since you last performed or had class we suggest starting at Level 101. We understand that starting at 101 may seem too basic. Improv is a performing art and like all performance based activities like music, dance, acting, even sports world class master still practice basic fundamentals regularly. Improv is no different.
Our Acting program is great for anyone who is brand new to performing as well as advanced level actors and improvisers seeking to hone their techniques. Throughout the program, students develop their confidence to perform in front of others, build their ability to memorize text and present it to an audience, learn how to use their voice and body to be more persuasive in their communication. We don’t follow a specific, prescribed philosophy (Method, Stanislavsky, Meisner, Classical). Instead, we pull the best concepts from many approaches to create the best training and tools that work for the individual.
It is true that in the past, PHIT offered classes in both stand up and comedy writing. Many comedy theaters offer these courses, in addition to teaching improv. When we re-opened, we thought long and hard about what we wanted to offer. Our name is PHILLY IMPROV THEATER. We made a specific choice to focus on improv and theater. Our training center is not the “jack of all trades” school of comedy. We focus and excel at what our name states, improv and theater. Taking a class at PHIT means you are learning the best improv and performance techniques. Students who complete our program leave with enviable and highly desired skills and experience.
All programing is intended for adults age 18+ We do not currently offer programing for kids or teens at this time.
When you choose to start your improv or acting journey with Philly Improv Theater, you will find our instructors “walk their talk.” They are all experienced teachers AND highly trained performers. They actively perform in improv, cabaret, live theater, television, and film. Our instructors are on staff, not independent contractors. They are invested in your learning and progress, to guide and support you every step of the way from your first class warm-up to your final class showcase and everything in between.
Most of our core classes meet in person, once a week for eight weeks. Most classes are two hours. There is generally a class showcase the weekend after the last class so you delight your friends, colleagues, and family with your new skills!
Specifics about each class (day of the week, time, showcase, instructor info) are provided with the class description.
For over 15 years, PHIT has been transforming ordinary people from all walks of life into extraordinary comedians and performers. Our instructors are working performers and experts in improv of all styles, devised theater, acting, story telling, music, cabaret, movement, and digital improv production. They have toured the country, work in Europe, on podcasts, radio, TV, Broadway, and on line. They teach at the university level, train corporate clients, and work with middle and high school performers as well. Using a curriculum developed over 10+ years, classes at PHIT create a fun, welcoming, safe environment for trying something new and sharpening existing skills. It’s no wonder we’ve won Best of Philly and were named one of 20 Best Improv Comedy Schools Around the World by Rant.