iO Theater is an important part of improv history and culture. Located in Chicago which is rich in improv history dating back to the 1960’s. It started as a theater to explore the form of improv known as long form. STarted by Del Close and Halpern in 19-something. It become a place where many famous people trampsed through being taught by the ever serious Del Close.
He was well known for his stern style of teaching and produced some of the greatest comedians of our time. Teaching there for 20 years gave Chicago and the iO Theater a basis in greatness that continues and has expanded today. To say improv has grown or to say iO theater has grown would be a vast understatement. The iO theater is one of the mecca’s that wanna be improvisors flock to to perfect their art of cracking people up.
In addition the art of writing funny has become very much tied to the improv scene and sketch writing. In addition to teaching people who have always wanted to be goofy on stage and call it improv for a profession, they aslo teach people who want to write and use improv as a creative technique to get the juices flowing.
Not everyone who learns at iO is going on to do professional improv on a stage. Many people learn it for personal grown and now for business development and interpersonal skills. The iO Theater has grown to recognize that. Their business model has expanded to include high class classes or courses for business people, students, writers, and actos. As well as other random professions that can just benefit from humor. Doctors are using it as healing techniques in trauma as well.
Additionally iO has remained a vital part of hte flourishing improv scene in Chicago by also puttin on regular and quality shows in night clubs. A time honored tradition amoung the notoriously shady profession known as comedian.
And all flavors of improv have come about. There’s the Improvised Shakespeare in Chicago and the Whirled news Tonight. Your F$@ Up Relationshiop, The Deltones, as well as regular Harold House teams. And even my favorite, musical improv. iO has expanded to include after school pograms and programs for businesss to expand their team building exercises. Take that Jerry in accounting. No, really, take that suggestion and let’s create something Jerry!
Anyways, if you hadn’t heard about iO theater now you have. And if you already knew about it maybe it’s time to go visit again. Or maybe be like me and secretly plan on running away and spending your whole life savings on going to their school. To each their own.