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This week





  • SKETCH on the ROCKS adopts Second City type formula for independent sketch comedy groups...

    April 11

    SKETCH on the ROCKS adopts Second City type formula for independent sketch comedy groups... At The Playground we think SKETCH comedy ROCKS. Most of the top sketch comedy groups in Chicago tend to be independently produced. At SKETCH on the ROCKS we want to help groups in their process of creating new shows. Sketch groups will be given 6 week show runs; 3 weeks of development focusing on improvising premises, writing the improvised scenes and re-working the scenes after putting them up in front of a live audience; and then the groups will have a 3 week show run presenting the scenes that have been developed. Current and aspiring sketch groups are welcome to apply for a run at SKETCH on the ROCKS by emailing Bill Meincke at


    April 9

    The Reader Recommended and Time Out Critic Pick OUT OF CHARACTER return to The Playground Fridays at 8PM. Some of the best shows on TV revolve around a single character- East Bound and Down, Nurse Jackie, Californication. Each week a member of the OUT OF CHARACTER cast prepares a written character piece as though he or she was the star of their own hit television series. The Out of Character cast as a whole then explores the characters life and creates a world around that character

    Tickets are $10 available online now

  • IMPROVISED X-FILES...The Truth is out there....FRIDAYS AT 10

    April 4

    THE TRUTH IN COMEDY IS OUT THERE... The creators of the smash hit Improvised Friday Night Lights present The Improvised X-Files. The cast will apply their wit to the tropes, story arcs and character types made famous by the Fox Network's cult hit. Each week the show presents two special agents investigating a mysterious incident. Is it aliens? Monsters? The Government? Probably all three. Only THEY know for sure. Inspired by, but not related to actual series's plot, audiences need not be familiar with X-FILES to to enjoy the show.


  • Congratulations to Alison Banowsky WInner of GIVE ME 5 Season 12

    April 3

    The Give Me 5 crowned it's Season 12 winner Wednesday night. Congrats to Alison Banowsky for winning an incredibly competitive Finale featuring some incredibly funny sets from the next generation of solo (Give me 5 performers). Tom Fell won best bit with his "Last Hurrah" sketch. Congrats to everyone who performed in the Finale. Great Work.

  • AV CLUB Points to THE PLAYGROUND as a Top Comedy Incubator

    March 27

    Where there are established theaters with a national presence like iO (formerly Improv Olympic) and Second City, there are incubator theaters to induct new recruits into the improv and sketch world, and set them on the right path. But The Playground has become so much more than a starter space. The tiny Chicago black box was the first to recognize the power of solo sketch, and offered opportunities for comics to showcase their best on a weekly basis. Coupled with president Matt Barbera’s industry savvy, The Playground fostered the kind of environment that put people like Saturday Night Live’s Paul Brittain and Tim Robinson on the map, and offered opportunities to countless others. No longer content being thought of as the place where Second City Mainstage players can dust off the ol’ improv cobwebs, The Playground is in the process of launching a production company.

    For the full article:,90453/2/


About us

We are the nation's only non-profit cooperative dedicated to the art of improv comedy. Over 200 artists and 13 member ensembles work on a volunteer basis to operate the theater and perform live improv, sketch, and stand-up comedy seven nights a week. The Playground is the perfect place to start your night!

The Playground is cash-only. Tickets for many shows may be purchased in advance through Brown Paper Tickets by clicking the "Buy tickets" link next to the show you're interested in seeing. Tickets are non-refundable.
You may reserve tickets by calling (773) 871-3793 or by E-mailing us at No purchase is required to reserve tickets.
BYOB Policy
The Playground Theater is BYOB. We do not provide bottle openers, glasses, or corking services. You must be 21 or older to drink alcohol in the theater, and we reserve the right to verify the age of any patron.
Age Restrictions
There are no age restrictions for attending shows at The Playground. However, our shows are generally appropriate for those aged 16 or older.
We hold auditions for our Incubator Program about every three months. Please contact for more information.
Contact Information
If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us at (773) 871-3793 or E-mail us at