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The Reach

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See the Next Generation of Great Comedians

See the Next Generation of Great Comedians

Participants will enjoy a performance by the famed iO Theatre improvisational acting troupe during Phi Theta Kappa’s 50th Honors Institute at Loyola University in Chicago June 5-10.

Using theater games created by Viola Spolin, David Shepard created the ImprovOlympic theatre (now the iO) in 1981 to pit competing improv teams against each other in friendly and funny competitions.

As the theater began to become popular among the improv troupes being formed in Chicago, former student and new producer Charna Halpern met legendary Second City director and improv luminary Del Close. With Del serving as the mentor and Charna the guide, “longform improvisation” was born, and the two would eventually help change the face of improvisational comedy.

The ImprovOlympic theater quickly became the mecca of improvisation, and its approach to the art — and comedy in general — began to shape and influence the minds of many of today’s most iconic and influential comedic entertainers. Alumni include Tina Fey, Mike Myers, Amy Poehler, and Chris Farley, among many others.

After almost 20 years in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood, the iO recently moved to a new home in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. The new location boasts four theaters, two bars, and an expanded training center and events space.

The iO actors will travel to Loyola University to perform their critically acclaimed, long-running news satire, “Whirled News Tonight,” for Honors Institute attendees.

“Whirled News Tonight” strives to provide not only a satirical turn on current events, but also another human point of view of those stories. The show was created by Jason R. Chin and has been playing to packed houses since September 2003.

The iO performance is presented as the 2017 Freeman Lecture, which honors Dr. Janice Freeman and Dr. Joyce Freeman. The twin sisters are both Phi Theta Kappa alumni and retired professors of biology at Texas A&M University. They were named Distinguished Alumni in 1975 and recipients of the Board of Directors Alumni Achievement Award in 2005. The Freemans have served on the Society’s Board of Directors, on the Foundation Board of Trustees, as chapter advisors, and as alumni advisors.

Learn more about the 2017 Honors Institute online, and register before the May 12 deadline.



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