Connect with us!

This week


  • The Discovery offer performers new opportunities to perform.

    September 15

    The Playground is proud to announce our newest program for Chicago Improviser-The Discovery. The Discovery Mission is to provide improvisors with an opportunity to create a show together and put it up at The Playground. The eight week process includes four weeks of rehearsals and creating a show and a 4 week show run.Our Process includes:
    Finding individuals who are interested in performing more in the city
    Auditioning them and casting them on a semi-independent team
    Giving them a coach to guide them to find a new form
    Giving them a 4-week run at the Playground

    We will be holding an audition for new improvisers on Saturday September 27th from 12-6pm with callbacks on Sunday the 28th from 4-6pm.

    What you need to do: Bring a headshot . Bring a resume and Arrive 15-30 minutes prior to your audition time

    What you'll be doing at the audition: There will be20-30 people for each one-hour audition slot, You'll do a couple of two person scenes and a quick montage.

    What are we looking for? A strong independent voice and style, and Mindful supportive storytelling Please sign-up at sign-up genius here:

    If you have any questions please email


    August 19

    In light of recent events and riots in Ferguson, a group of improvisers gather together to base their play around the golden rule of improv: Agreement. Through games and scenes in which there is only One Rule: No Fighting, performers aim to bring awareness to the violence occurring in Ferguson while raising money to donate to the Greater St Louis Area Food Bank. Funds will go to helping feed children of families affected by the violence in the community of Ferguson, MO. The Benefit is Friday August 22nd at 8PM at Chicago Playground Theater. Tickets $10. Additional raffles and donation opportunities throughout the night.


    August 12

    The Playground Theater and Matt Barbera are offering a class in solo sketch comedy. Solo Sketch Comedy is blowing up in Chicago and rightfully so. The skills you will learn in this class will help you in auditions, prepare you for showcases, teach you the fundamentals of an SNL audition, give you a strong starting point to create a one person show, and generally help you create and perform well rounded characters that will help you in all areas of your performance (Improv, sketch ,writing, and directing).

    This six week class focuses on: -Making sure YOU are seen and represented in the solo work you create -Covering the different types of solo sketch scenes -Pitching scene ideas and concepts -Taking the scenes from pitch to stage -The various ways in which solo sketch is used - The differences in set style for different venues such as auditions, showcase, SNL showcase, etc. -Solo sketch in a political / satirical sense -How to begin crafting a solo show

    Class participants will be invited to: The Playground's "HAPPY HOUR" show, Chicago's only solo sketch comedy open mic Thursdays at 6pm, the participants will receive a slot in the next round of the "GIVE ME 5" season Wednesdays at 10pm, and will also be given a class performance showcase.

    The 6 week class is $225. Class times are: Tuesdays 2-5pm and Sunday 12-3pm Classes will be 8-14 participants max

  • DeWayne Perkins Wins THE GIVE ME 500 in a Photo Finish

    August 4

    The Give Me 500 Produced 118 Five Minute Solo Sketch Comedy Sets, By 93 performers, over 29 hours and produced One Champion DeWayne Perkins. DeWayne won the 10pm Finale and had the most overall votes. Other winners this weekend were Mick Mestad winner of the 8pm Finale, Susan Glynn and Julie Marchiano winner of best bit. Congratulations to DeWayne and all the participants in THE GIVE ME 500. The weekend was packed with amazing sets from all the performers. Thanks to everyone who made the GIVE ME 500 so memorable.

  • The GIVE ME 500 - THE WORLDS LARGEST SOLO SKETCH COMEDY FEST - set to ROAR The Playground Aug 1st-2nd

    July 28

    The Playground Theater is proud to present The Give Me 500- The Worlds Largest solo sketch comedy fest. GM500 is a weekend long “Celebration of Solo Sketch Comedy” held at The Playground Theater Friday and Saturday August 1-2nd. The show will feature 100, 5 minute solo sketch performers competing for over $1,000 in cash prizes and the honor of being the inaugural Give Me 500 Champion.

    The Give ME 500 was inspired by the Playgrounds hit show The Give Me 5 (Wednesdays at 10PM). For over 3 years and 13 season of the show, The Give me 5 has given over 400 of Chicago's comedians / improvisers 5 minutes to do the funniest comedic set they can think of.. "The GiveMe 5 is by far one of the most popular shows with the Chicago's comedy Community, every week the audience, show producer and comedians alike are surprised, stunned and electrified by some of the sketches, songs and bits presented." says show producer and Playground President Matt Barbera. "As the show grows performers are pushing each other to higher levels not to be outdone by their comedic counterparts. The result is always interesting and on many nights spectacular"

    Show times for the Give Me 500 will be Friday August 1st at 7p,8p,9p,10p,11p,12a and 1a; and Saturday August 2nd at 1p,2p,3p,4p,5p,6pm with 2 Finales at 8 and 10pm. The preliminary rounds Friday and Saturday will feature 8 performers doing 5 minute sets. Admission to the prelims will be $5. The Finales will feature the winners of all the preliminary rounds, admission will be $15.

    SIGN UP TO PERFORM: email for signup instructions for the #GM500


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