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2020 Fall Adult Classes

Fall 2020 Classes

Fall Session I: 9/22 – 10/29

Fall Session II: 11/3 – 12/17

6 weeks of classes. 1 night per week.

“Every day I realize more and more that my ability to hear and really understand the spoken word, and my love for bringing life to the written word, does not come from anything I learned in school.  It all comes from Byrne and Joyce Piven.”

Murphy Monroe

Alum / Executive Director, Actors Gymnasium

Up Next… Hip Hop and Session II classes – Now through December

Hip Hop with Eldridge

Thursdays, 5:30 to 6:30pm
Sept 24 to Oct 29


$15 drop-in rate. Sign up 30 minutes before class to ensure you have a spot!

Solidify your technique and get connected with the Chicago dance scene by training with Eldridge Shannon, professional dancer and Piven teacher. Each week, students will learn a hip-hop combo based on themes including Musicality, Storytelling, Confidence, Performance, and Freestyle Movement. Drop in for one week to try something new or attend every class to build your repertoire.

17+. Students younger than 17 can request attendance with parent permission.

Virtual Dungeons & Dragons with Bec McNamara

Tuesdays, 7:00 – 9:00pm, Nov 10 to Dec 15



Suit up for adventure with Dungeons and Dragons! If you’re new to RPGs or an old hat looking for a safe place to explore RP skills, this is the class for you. Dungeons and Dragons is a collaborative storytelling game allowing you the players to control the adventure. Part game play to help us loosen up skills and part D&D, this class will explore making decisions and taking personal risks in periods of ambiguity. This game is run on the D&D edition 5e with some house rules and uses a legacy build for all D&D games, so players will impact the world the next group will play in. No experience necessary! No materials necessary!

Improvisation, Games & Risk Taking (Storytelling Focus)

Thursdays 7 to 8:30pm, Nov 5 to Dec 17


Learn Piven’s core improvisational technique and apply it to storytelling. Each session of the class is centered on a different theme. Past themes have included stories of the sea, family relationships, and magical realism. Under the expert instruction of a senior teacher, students will create and perform stories by focusing on text exploration, subtext, dialogue and narration. Open to new and returning students.

Robin Chaplik’s “Leadership Lab”: Bring life and laughter to your online presence

Tuesdays, 7 to 8:30, Nov 3-Dec 15


Robin Chaplik will draw from her multi-layered career as a director, writer, performer, and teacher to deliver a virtual Piven experience to your home. She will adapt traditional Piven theatre games for the Zoom platform. Robin will direct students in scenes and share lessons about on-camera performance in the process. She is looking forward to creating a vibrant communal experience for each student.

Session I – September through October

Improvisation, Games & Risk Taking

Tuesdays, 7:00-8:30pm, Sep 22-Oct 27

A1F20 (VIRTUAL) / A11F20 (ON-SITE)


The Good Humor Class – Improv, Games and Risk Taking

Explore comedy via improv, story, and scene with master teacher and Jeff Award-winning writer/director/performer, Robin Chaplik. Learn comedic techniques for stage and screen. Create original characters, text, and performance. No prior experience being funny necessary.

Creating in the Cracks with Joanne Underwood, LCSW and Master Piven Teacher

Wednesdays, 7:30 to 8:45pm, Sep 23-Oct 28



“I don’t want to live a small life,” writes poet Mary Oliver. In a time period that can constrain and restrict us, we invite you to live as expansively as possible. While you move forward on a structured, personal journey, your fellow classmates will serve as a source of inspiration and support. You will reference Julia Cameron’s text, Walking in the World: The Practical Art of Creativity as you deeply engage with your artistic processes.

Artists from all disciplines are welcome. This class is for new and returning students.

More about your instructor:

Joanne Underwood is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been counseling people for over a decade. She strives to create a warm, supportive atmosphere in which problem-solving can take place. JoanneShe specializes in helping those suffering from anxiety, depression, trauma, college-related issues, relationship difficulties, and life transitions. She was affiliated with the C. G. Jung Center for many years and views therapy as meaning-making journey and a creative endeavor. Besides working with individuals, she leads support groups for creative artists, and teaches acting at the Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston.