Discover Classes. Earn Rewards.

Piven Theatre Workshop

The Piven Theatre Workshop is a renowned professional theatre and actor training center that has been operating for over 40 years. Offering a community-oriented approach to theater training and performance, the Workshop provides mentorship opportunities, extensive scholarship and community outreach programs, that train approximately 1,000 students annually.

Piven Theatre Workshop

Upcoming Classes at Piven Theatre Workshop

  • Improv and Games for the Stage!

    Unlock your inner performer and experience the sheer joy of play with Piven Theatre Workshop. Discover new and perfect old skills in a fun and supportive environment, culminating in an open workshop for friends and family. Join this ensemble-building class for an unforgettable experience on stage.

    Next start date: Tuesday, May 14th, 6:30–8:30pm Central Time
    Price: $250
    View full details
  • Playwrights as Actors: Applying Piven Acting Techniques to Writing Effective, Playable Scenes

    Explore the art of crafting dynamic scenes that come alive on stage through the fusion of playwrighting and acting techniques. Dive into character connections and dialogue dynamics, honing your skills in creating scenes that resonate with authenticity and dramatic tension.

    Next start date: Thursday, May 23rd, 6:30–9pm Central Time
    Price: $250
    View full details
  • Improv, Games & Risk Taking

    Unlock your creativity and ignite your passion for theater with this dynamic class at Piven Theatre Workshop. Discover the renowned Piven Technique through engaging theater games and improvisation in a supportive ensemble setting. Perfect for those seeking to unleash their artistic potential and explore the world of performance.

    Next start date: Tuesday, Jul 9th, 6:30–8:30pm Central Time
    Price: $225
    View full details
927 Noyes St, Illinois City, IL 60201
Piven Theatre Workshop
Evanston, North Side
927 Noyes St
Btwn Ridge & Sherman Avenues
Illinois City, Illinois 60201

See all upcoming classes at Piven Theatre Workshop

See all Acting classes in Chicago

Purchase a Gift Card


For over 40 years, the Piven Theatre Workshop has maintained both a professional theatre and a nationally acclaimed actor training center for children and adults. The mission of Piven Theatre Workshop is to encourage a process of creative exploration that celebrates each individual’s unique voice through an ensemble-based, community-oriented approach to theatre training and performance. This mission, as it has evolved over 40 years, is pursued through the three branches of the organization: the training center for children and adults which serves over 1,000 students annually and provides mentorship opportunities for emerging theatre artists and educators, the extensive scholarship and community outreach programs, and the professional Equity theatre committed to new works and literary adaptations.

It has been producing highly acclaimed productions throughout its history and has evolved into an Equity house. In recent years, it received five Recommendations for Joseph Jefferson Awards, an After Dark Award for Outstanding Ensemble, a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Adaptation and a nomination for Best Original Score. Not only does the theatre support a Resident Ensemble of actors, it has also proven valuable as a training ground for directors such as Eric Simonson, Jennifer Green, Robin Chaplik and Jessica Thebus and award-winning playwrights such as Sarah Ruhl, Jennifer Barclay and Michael Stock.

The Piven Theatre Workshop now annually trains approximately 1,000 students from age 9 to adult. By focusing on the creative process rather than the pre-patterned result, on releasing the natural sense of play, and on the richest personal expression evoked through the communal experience that is theatre, the Piven Theatre Workshop training program has touched countless lives over the years. For all the spawning of celebrities, the Workshop’s greatest value over the years are the many students who have taken into their lives and varied professions an enriched understanding of the human exchange and greater confidence in the value of their unique presence.

Piven Theatre Workshop is well known for its exemplary history of community outreach, consistently providing extensive aid through its scholarship program, offering training at little or no cost to under-served and economically disadvantaged students. During a school year, the Workshop grants approximately $30,000 worth of need-based scholarships to students. In addition to scholarship aid, the Workshop currently maintains outreach programs with Chicago’s Off the Street Club and through PEEP, the Piven Empowerment through Enrichment Program, offering classes to adults with disabilities.

Stagebill designated the Pivens “Chicago’s first family of acting” and praised them for founding “one of the most successful theatre training programs in the country." The Pivens have received the Evanston Arts Council Youth and Education Award, the Evanston Mayors Award for the Arts, the Chicago Drama League’s Crystal Award, and the University of Chicago’s Glorious Gargoyle Award for lifetime contribution to the theatre. In 1996, they were named Artists of the Year by the Chicago Tribune and in 2000, they were honored with a Joseph Jefferson Award for lifetime achievement. Byrne and Joyce Piven have both received lifetime achievement awards from the Chicago Improv Festival. Byrne Piven passed away in 2002 and the Piven Theatre Workshop now continues under the leadership of Co-Founder and Artistic Director Emeritus Joyce Piven and Artistic Director Jennifer Green. In 2002, the City of Evanston designated Noyes Street with the honorary name of Byrne Piven Place.

Reviews of Piven Theatre Workshop

(5.0-star rating across 1 review)
  • Improv, Games & Risk Taking

    Reviewed by SCOTT J. on 4/17/2024
    Amazing Instructor

Teachers at Piven Theatre Workshop

CourseHorse Gift Cards

  • Creative & unique gift for any occasion
  • Thousands of classes & experiences
  • No expiration date
  • Instant e-delivery (or choose a date)
  • Add a personalized message
  • Lock in a price with the Inflation Buster Gift Card Price Adjuster™
Buy a Gift Card
gift card with the CourseHorse logo gift card with the CourseHorse logo