Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Comedy Comeback: Harrisburg Improv Theatre reopens after almost 2 years

Harrisburg Improv Theatre

COVID-19 hasn’t been playing around.

And because of it, neither has the Harrisburg Improv Theatre, which closed for funny business for the duration of the pandemic. That is, until now.

This weekend, the wisecracking and laughter will resume for the first time since March 2020, with classes and shows re-starting.

“This was a weekly part of life for some people,” said HIT owner Jake Compton. “I think people are ready to come back.”

Improv is needed now more than ever, Compton believes. With division fueled by social media and politics, improv is a way for performers to step into the shoes of another, an opportunity to understand a different perspective, he said.

“The world needs improv right now,” he said. “In improv, it is your job to understand different points of view.”

Starting this weekend, shows will run every Friday and Saturday at 8 and 9 p.m. Every Saturday at 7 p.m., the theater holds a free mixer.

HIT also offers improv classes to both beginners and experienced performers. Their “Intro to Improv” course runs on Wednesdays from Jan. 12 to March 2.

Compton explained that improv isn’t just for aspiring comedians, but is a great way to gain confidence, improve public speaking skills and make friends. Before the pandemic, the theater had around 80 monthly performers, he said.

He was quick to point out that, for those who aren’t interested in being put on the spot, their shows are a perfect way to experience improv without actually participating.

Over the years, Compton has been to theaters in major cities across the country, but his community in Harrisburg still stands out to him.

“The funniest shows I’ve seen have been in Harrisburg,” he said. “I believe in the work we do.”

Harrisburg Improv Theatre is located at 1633 N. 3rd St., Harrisburg. Tickets for shows can be purchased at the door. For a calendar of shows and class information, visit their website.

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