About the Program

Anne Libera (Director of Comedy Studies, History and Analysis of Modern Comedy) served as Executive Artistic Director of The Second City Training Centers and Education Programs for 8 years where she is now Artistic Associate.  She has worked with The Second City since 1986 and has taught in The Training Center since 1991. Her book, The Second City Almanac of Improvisation is published by Northwestern University Press. For The Second City, she directed The Madness of Curious George and Computer Chips and Salsa, the Theatre on the Lake productions The Second City Goes to War and The Second City Looks at The Windy City as well as touring company productions that have appeared all over The United States. in Edinburgh, Scotland and Vienna, Austria.  Outside of Second City, she has directed Bunny, Bunny for Iilinois Theater Center and Stephen Colbert’s one man show Describing a Circle. She reviewed theater on WGN radio and written for NPR news quiz show Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. She has been an artistic consultant to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry and serves on the governing board for Gilda’s club Chicago.

Norm Holly (Creating Scenes through Improvisation) is the Artistic Director, Head of Conservatory and Acting Programs for The Second City Training Center. He has directed Second City shows including Baby Richards Got Back and 40 Oz. and a Mule. He was the Assistant Chairman of the Columbia College Theater Department for eight years and directed many productions there including Caucasian Chalk Circle with Jeff Perry and Barbara Robertson and Once in a Lifetime with Michael Maggio. Norm appeared in the New Broadway Theater production of Streamers with Dennis Farina, directed by Terry Kinney. He was director of the live comedy series Anti-Comedy I/II/III with Dino Stamotopolous and Andy Dick, on-camera director for Cinifolio (now Short), and director and producer of Second City’s NBC pilot as well as dozens of revue productions.

Jen Ellison (Writing Comic Scenes) is a native of North Carolina and a graduate of DePaul’s Theatre Conversatory.  Jen has directed, written, and performed all over Chicago.  Credits include: Trap Door Theatre, The Mammals, Comedy Sportz, Theatre Seve, Collaboraction, WNEP, and The Neo-Futurists.  Most recently, she directed Benchco’s most recent review in The Skybox Theater.  Jen teaches Ethics at DePaul and Writing for The Second City Training Center.  She is also a graduate of the Second City directing program.

Jeff Griggs (History and Analysis of Modern Comedy, Writing Comic Scenes) is the author of the book Guru; My Days with Del Close. He is a resident director for The Second City and is a Professor of Theatre, Filmmaking, and Screenwriting at DePaul University, Columbia College, and The Second City Film School. As a filmmaker, his recent films are XYZ, Frosting, Marginally Detained, and the upcoming The Mobley Test.  

Tania Richard (Acting III: Sketch and Theatrical Comedy) has performed on Broadway, with The Second City, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Court Theatre, The Goodman, among others. She taught in The Second City Training Center and in Columbia College’s Cinema and Television Arts. She has also held position at DePaul University and Chicago Dramatists, among others. Tania is an Antiracism Educator and has led antiracism training for Fortune 500 Companies, tech start ups, non-profit organizations, universities, theatres and Presidential Campaigns. She is currently the producer and host of Tania’s Take: race, culture and the culture of race. She’s a published author and an award-winning playwright. She has appeared on Chicago Fire, Chicago Justice, Chicago PD, Empire, Proven Innocent, The Chi, Work in Progress as well as multiple commercials. Tania has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, The Story, OUT CHICAGO, The Chicago Tribune and on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight speaking on issues of culture, race, equity and inclusion. www.taniarichard.com.

Lillian Frances  (Acting III: Sketch and Theatrical Comedy) began acting, improvising, and directing at Northwestern University where she received a Bachelor of Science in Theater. She has performed with improv ensembles at iO Theater and other venues in Chicago, and assistant directed and performed at Boom Chicago in Amsterdam. Directing credits also include a Second City National Touring Company, the all women’s improv groups Jane and Sirens, the critically acclaimed sketch groups GayCo and Stir Friday Night, and various ensembles at iO and The Playground. She worked for several years as a lead facilitator for Second City Business Communications where she designed and facilitated training programs for Fortune 500 companies and worked as a Core Faculty Member for the Second City Training Center. She currently teaches at Columbia College, owns and runs Laugh Out Loud, and  is thankful every day that she gets to say “I love what I do.”