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Diversity and Inclusion

Mission Statement

The Second City is deeply committed to creating and advocating for diversity, equity and inclusion at all levels of the institution. We firmly believe that unique experiences, points of view and diverse perspectives are at the core of the art form our artists create, and are reflective of the audiences we serve.  We believe that our comedic satire should speak to both the community in which we operate and to the larger world. We are committed to fostering a safe and supportive environment, ensuring that the values of diversity, equity and inclusion are upheld in all areas of our organization from the classroom to the stage.

Value Statement

-Fostering community with cultural sensitivity.
-Increasing access to our programs, scholarships, and performances to underserved communities.
-Facilitating and engaging in dialogue across departments on empathy, equity, diversity and inclusion.

Diversity and Inclusion

Our Diversity and Inclusion division is an ongoing commitment to expose the improv art form to new voices, underserved communities and talent seeking careers at Second City. Our goal is to open doors, create a bridge and make this work accessible and inclusive.  We believe everyone, regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation should experience the gift of improv.

Learn about our  Diversity and Inclusion unique focus areas and our impact and influence here

In our 23+ years, we’ve reached a lot of people and transformed lives and careers. That’s the best gift you can ask for.

Let Us Come To You

Let us come to your university, womens shelter, gender studies class, community organization or group and share the gift of improvisation and our diversity programming.

This programming includes:

  • Master Diversity Workshops tailored for multicultural groups.
  • Guest Artist Lecture with improv demo and performance.
  • Workshops that address gender, race and LGBTQ themes.
  • Workshops for at-risk, alternative schools and underserved communities.

NBC Universal Bob Curry Fellowship

The Second City Diversity and Training Center is proud to announce our 4th annual Bob Curry Fellowship with generous support from NBC Universal. This one of a kind professional development master program offers up to 16 fellowships to qualifying actors and improvisers from diverse multicultural backgrounds to train and study at Second City Chicago and Toronto. Taught by Second City’s top instructors and directors, this unique fellowship boasts a rigorous master program for serious minded talent seeking a career in sketch comedy. Our highly competitive fellowship is tuition free and awarded to exceptional talent selected by audition and adjudicated by Second City directors and producers. Since the inaugural launch in 2015, over 50% of the graduating fellows were hired by Second City for careers in touring, resident stages, theatricals, cruise ships and the Training Center.

The Bob Curry Fellowship program is specifically seeking talent/applicants including, but not limited to those who identify as any of the following: Asian Pacific, Sub Continent Asian, African American, Hispanic, Native American Middle Eastern.

Are you the next Bob Curry Fellow?
Check out last year’s Bob Curry Fellows…  showcase.

Who is Bob Curry?
Bob Curry was a Second City alumni and the first African American actor who performed on the our resident stage in 1966. A Joseph Jeff Award winning actor and inspiring director, he coached and mentored many actors in Chicago’s theatre community. Our fellowship is named in his honor.

Bob Curry Fellowship Auditions
The Second City is holding auditions to cast and award up to 16 distinguished comedy fellowships to qualified performers of diverse ethnic backgrounds in the third annual NBC Universal Bob Curry Fellowship. Auditions are Monday, January 25th by appointment only.

In 2016, the Bob Curry Fellowship is a ten week master professional development tuition free program launched by The Second City Diversity and Training Center divisions. Taught by Second City’s top instructors and directors, this one of a kind fellowship highlights a culminating showcase presented to industry execs, NBC casting and Second City producers and directors. In the past two years since the fellowship’s launch, over 50% of the actors and improvisers were hired by Second City for careers.

The Bob Curry Fellowship program is specifically seeking talent/applicants including, but not limited to those who identify as any of the following: Asian Pacific, Sub Continent Asian, African American, Hispanic, Native American Middle Eastern.

Qualifying candidates can send inquiries to for 2016-2017 upcoming auditions and open house info dates to attend. Auditions will be announced fall/winter in each respective city.

The Chicago Bob Curry Fellowship is offered annually. The Toronto fellowship is offered every two years.

Talent must audition to be accepted into the program. To be eligible, talent should be a graduate of a Conservatory level improv program e.g., Second City, iO theatre, Annoyance theatre, UCB, etc. Professional actors with a degree in theatre or extensive stage experience with some improv training are also qualified to submit. Headshots and resumes will be reviewed for audition consideration and scheduled appointments on a first come basis.

Next Steps
Talent should submit headshot and resume only during the submission window.

October 2017 (Toronto) January 9 -11, 2017 (Chicago only).

Early submissions will not be reviewed or qualify.

About the Audition
The audition will consist of twenty minutes of improvisation within a group of eight and a personal choice of a two minute comedic monologue or stand-up piece. Callbacks will be determined.

2017 Programming dates:

Open House Meeting: Wednesday, November 16
4:30PM – The Beat Lounge
230 W. North Ave. 2nd Floor (Pipers Alley)

Auditions: January 2017
Fellowship begins March 2017 – June 2017
Tuesday/Thursday 4-7PM
Second City Training Center
230 W. North Ave. 3rd Floor
Inquiries and talent submissions e-mail

Auditions: November 1, 2016
Second City Training Center
Mainstage – 51 Mercer St.
Fellowship begins January 2017 – April 2017
Inquiries and talent submissions e-mail

Limited audition slots. No phone calls, please.

Emerging Voices Scholarship

Apply Now!

NBCUniversal Second City Emerging Voices Scholarship Awards:

Three scholarships, one in each of the cities with The Second City training programs – Chicago, Toronto and Hollywood, will be awarded for one year of advanced improvisation or sketch writing training. Applications are particularly welcome from candidates from diverse communities. Qualified talent will be selected from annual auditions, submission, or Bob Curry Fellowship as applicable in each city.

Download the Second City NBC Universal Emerging Voices Scholarship application

Timeline and instructions:

Inquiries are open at all theatres.

Chicago: September 19 – September 25, 2017
Award Notification: November/December 2017

Toronto: April 4 – April 10, 2017
Award Notification: May 2017

Hollywood: August 22 – August 28, 2017
Award Notification: October 2017

Shows & Festivals

Toronto Diversity Weekend

The 2017 Toronto Diversity Weekend: April 22-24
The Second City Training Centre, 99 Blue Jays Way, Toronto

Saturday April 22, 2017

12PM: Meet & Greet and Weekend Kick-Off
Join artists, Second City staff, alumni and talent. Learn about what we do, opportunities for training and work. Connect with a diverse community and share your voice, story, poem, stand up or whatever you like.

1:30PM: Telling Your Truth with Dionna Griffin-Irons
Join Second City’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion to hear about her journey, and how she found her voice.

3:30PM: Improv Workshops
Hands-on, practical experience in improv for actors and performers. Ideal for performers who want prep for Monday’s audition. Open to all experience levels. Space limited (RSVP to with Diversity Weekend in the subject line).

7:00PM: DiverCity Monthly Show (ticketed event)

Sunday April 23, 2017

10AM-12PM: Intro to Sketch Writing
Write and develop your comedic voice! This introductory workshop teaches the fundamentals of sketch comedy writing. Open to all experience levels.

Monday April 24, 2017

All day: The Second City / NBC Universal Emerging Voices Scholarship Audition
The Second City is casting talent for various projects, including the Diversity Scholarships Program. Email to reserve an audition slot, submit headshot and resume, and get criteria for audience. All talent must have an appointment to audition.

8PM: The Bob Curry Fellowship Showcase (ticketed event)
Come celebrate the sixteen 2017 Fellows with a two-act Showcase of original work. Directed by SC alum Nigel Downer.

Activities are open to all performers, students or improvisers, regardless of comedy experience. For more info, e-mail with “DiversityWeekend” in subject line to RSVP. Be sure to include which events you are attending and submit headshot and resume for auditions.


Contact & More Info

Contact Us

To inquire about college workshops, lecture demonstrations or a visit to your school or university, contact:

Dionna Griffin-Irons
Director of Diversity and Inclusion
312-664-4032 ext. 3577

Diversity Relationship

Build a Relationship with Outreach

Let us come to your university, gender studies class or shelter. We will share our outreach with your community.

Find out how we transform lives and communities.

Off the Cuff Podcast

Bob Curry Audition Tips

Are you an actor or improviser who recently submitted for an audition slot for the Bob Curry Fellowship? Listen to this podcast to get prepared and hear what the Fellowship is all about!
Featuring Dionna Griffin-Irons, Matt Hovde, Peter Kim, and Torian Miller

Diversity Partners

A few of our partners…
After School Matters
United States Embassy
Norway & Latvia
Urban Prep Academy
YMCA Black and Latino Achievers
NBC Universal
Big Brothers Club
Columbia College
University of Chicago
Northwestern University
A Long Walk Home
DePaul University