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iO Theater

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The iO Theater is the premier venue for improv comedy in Chicago.

About iO Theater

Widely considered to be the premier venue for long-form improvisational performances and classes, the iO Theater was founded in 1981 by Charna Halpern and the late, great improvisational teacher and director, Del Close. Using theater games created by Viola Spolin, David Shepard created the ImprovOlympic to put up competing improv teams against each other in friendly and funny competitions. At the time, performances were being held at The Players Workshop in Chicago, where Charna Halpern was an improv student and assistant to David Sheperd. She later would become the producer of the competitions, and eventually took over ImprovOlympic's operations. After meeting in the 1970's, Charna approached improv luminary Del about teaching classes at her theater and he agreed. Del quickly became a constant source of inspiration to Charna and her students, and their shared vision for a deeper, more robust form of improvisation – based on trust and agreement, would be rounded into shape and with Del leading the way, the true nature and mission of the ImprovOlympic began to take place. After almost 20 years in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood, Charna Halpern bought a building in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood and moved the iO Theater to it’s new home at 1501 N. Kingsbury St. The new iO Theater now boasts 4 theaters, 2 bars, an expanded Training Center, a kitchen, and an Events space.
Chicago, IL 60642
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Transportation & Parking

Street parking is available!

Nearby Points of Interest