Your browser is not optimized for viewing this website.

More information »

Philly Improv Theater

Practice Groups ( Improv)

BIPOC Practice Group


with Chris Esperance

Calendar Jun 17, 2023 at 12 pm

Come play and meet new people in this improv meetup facilitated by PHIT Artistic Director Derek Hayes and PHIT instructor Chris Esperance. Free of charge and no experience required.

Note: This is a closed event and only for anyone who identifies as Black, Native American, Native Hawaiian, Alaskan Native, Desi, Asian, Pacific Islander, Chicanx or Latinx.

** All participants are required to show photo ID and COVID vaccination card (clear screen shot is OK) at the door in order to participate.**

Prerequisite: No experience necessary!

Date: Saturday June 17th, 2023

Time: Noon - 1:30 p.m.

Location:  Room B (not an accessible space)

Instructor: Derek Hayes and Chris Esperance


Derek Hayes (he/him) currently serves as the Artistic Director of PHIT. He is an alum of the Washington, DC comedy scene, where he interned and trained at Washington Improv Theater. Amongst multiple WIT projects during his time in DC, he is a founding member of the all-Black troupe Lena Dunham. Since moving to Philadelphia in 2017, he has been a performer, instructor, and director at PHIT, while also a producer for the We The People Improv Festival in 2018 and 2019. Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, Derek’s digital comedy projects have included co-producing four full length online sketch shows with the DC based Cookout Collective, as well as becoming a Features Contributor for The Onion. He also co-created and hosted over 30 online episodes of Hold Up!: a Black Book Club, which has been performed live at Washington Improv Theater and as a part of Contemporary Theater Company’s Ocean State Black and Funny Improv Festival. 2021 brought Derek’s most rewarding project thus far: his son, Kenny.

Chris Esperance is a comedian, writer, improviser based in Philadelphia, PA. Chris co-hosted the Mad Ethnic Comedy festival which included a variety of improv, podcast and stand-up acts from the tri-state area. He has improvised on Harold, House teams including Metropolis and Dunk Tank and several Indie teams in his years as a performer. Chris was accepted to Magnet Theater’s REMIX sketch diversity showcase and wrote/performed in PIT’s NYC Sketchfest. He has trained at the Philadelphia Improv Theater (PHIT) and the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB-NY) and writes for the sketch comedy team Pagliacci (@pagliaccicomedy) with the Boogiemanja sketch comedy collective.

Queer Practice Group


with Kelly Jennings

Calendar Jun 24, 2023 at 11:30 am

Come play and meet new people in this improv meetup facilitated by PHIT Education Director Kelly Jennings and PHIT instructors Johnny Di Sciascio, Emily Harnett, Francesca Martin. Free of charge and no experience required.

Note: this is a closed event and only for anyone who identifies as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Non Binary, Intersex, Asexual


Prerequisite: No experience necessary!

Date: Saturday 24 June 2023

Time: 11:30 am - 1:00 p.m

Room: A

Instructors: Johnny Di Sciascio, Emily Harnett, Kelly Jennings, Francesca Martin



Johnny Di Sciascio:  Johnny currently teaches Levels 101, 201 and Intro to Musical Improv workshops for PHIT. Johnny has been performing/teaching improv since LITERAL middle school. He studied and performed improv for 2 additional years in College while at Conservatory in NYC. He's a HUGE fan of having as much fun as you possibly can whilst under the necessary guise of learning important skills and knowledge: an approach he strives to implement in any and every class he teaches. He also LOVES traveling! :)

Emily Harnett : Emily Harnett (they/them) Emily is a life long actor, writer, comedian and professional laugher. They earned their BFA in Acting from Point Park University. Emily previous studied at Emerson College’s Comedic Arts program. They currently write for their sketch channel which is launching in the next few month and perform stand up around Philly. They are passionate about teaching through play, exploration and acceptance.

Kelly Jennings (She/her): Kelly Jennings is the current Director of Education and Corporate Training for Philly Improv Theater. Kelly has been performing and teaching improv for over 30+ years. Most recently she taught for ComedySportz Philadelphia leading high school workshops, adult levels 101- 401, master classes, Rec League, Minor League Coach, and delivering Applied Improv workshops for corporate clients, and served as Co-Artistic Director. Kelly directed one of the first two long form teams at CSZ, DARKWOOD: Fairy tales for a modern age. Previously at PHIT she taught levels 101- 301, and an all women's Harold Class. She was a founding member of the Philly based long form team LunchLady Doris, and Cecily in Cecily and Gwendolyn's Fantastical. She is the show runner and producer of Timeprov - The Improvised Doctor Who Parody. Kelly is a member of Actors Equity.

Francesca Martin: Francesca (she/her) is thrilled to be back teaching Improv again! She studied Theatre at Florida State University, where she fell in love with improv, sketch comedy, and comedy writing. Francesca has had two original shows produced, and has worked theaters around Philly and the country! Currently, she is helping lead the PHIT Queer Practice Group and performing in Teacher’s Lounge at PHIT Harold Nights. In Francesca’s class, you can expect energy, excitement, patience, and zero judgment.



Forgot password?
Staff Log In