Program Develops Young Talent with a Wide Range of Diverse Backgrounds Culminating in a Showcase Performance
As The Second City continues its concentrated efforts to bring diverse voices to the forefront of of the comedy world they are proud to present the 4th cohort of Bob Curry Fellows in their culminating showcase on Wednesday, June 7th at 8pm in the e.t.c. theater (230 W. North Ave. 2nd Floor Pipers Alley). Directed by Second City Training Center Artistic Director, Matt Hovde, the showcase will highlight ten weeks of master improv training with original material and best of Second City archival scenes.
Building upon a unique partnership established with Universal Television, the Bob Curry Fellowship is a professional mentoring and development program focused on cultivating the best new voices in improv and sketch comedy. A highly competitive and rigorous process, applicants must audition to be considered for the program. In 2017, close to two hundred applicants submitted with sixteen diverse actors and improvisers selected including Riley Mondragon, the program’s first transgender fellow.
The success of The Bob Curry Fellowship program is already being felt on Second City’s stages, as several participants in the fellowship have been cast in The Second City’s professional companies. Rashawn Scott, Shantira Jackson, Martin Morrow and Tien Tran are graduates of the fellowship who now perform on the Second City Chicago resident stages.
“In four years, we’ve seen a tremendous impact the fellowship has made with creating a bridge to our resident stages and the comedy industry at large.” Dionna Griffin-Irons, Director of Diversity and Inclusion.
Director Matt Hovde agrees. “This program has become my favorite event of the year. To watch so many funny and talented people of all backgrounds come together is humbling and inspiring. The last four years of the program have brought a real change to the culture at Second City, bringing so many new and underrepresented voices to our work. These voices are a vital part of the future of our theater.”
"It's fantastic to see how far we've come as an institution since we started our Outreach program in 1992,” states Andrew Alexander, CEO & Executive Producer of The Second City, Inc. “But the work is not done and I'm thrilled that our team has created such a valuable and intensive program of study that we can offer tuition free in the name of one of our treasured alumni who was a true trailblazer."
A limited number of tickets are available to the general public to attend the showcase by contacting the Second City box office at 312-337-3992 or online at www.secondcity.com
Bob Curry was the first African American improviser to perform as a member of The Second City Mainstage in 1966. After his tenure at The Second City, he continued to develop as an artist. Bob Curry was a Joseph Jefferson Award-winning actor and inspiring director who coached many actors of color in the Chicago theatre community including fellow Second City alumni Aaron Freeman on several projects and directing “Paul Robeson” at Kennedy-King College shortly before his death in 1994.
The Second City Diversity and Inclusion
Created in 1992, the Diversity and Inclusion program is Second City’s ongoing commitment to introduce the improv art form to new diverse voices, underserved communities and develop new talent by attracting exceptional performers and writers, teaching workshops to colleges and organizations and building new community partnerships.
The Second City
The Second City is the leading brand in improv-based sketch comedy. With theatres and training centers in Chicago, Toronto and Hollywood, 11 full time touring ensembles, thriving corporate communications and theatricals divisions as well as television and film operations, The Second City has been called "A Comedy Empire" by The New York Times. The Second City has a current student body of 3,500 per week and is the largest school of improvisation and sketch comedy in the world.