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The ascent of improv is one of the most important stories in popular culture
— The New York Times

Take A Class

Uptown Theatre for the Creative Arts is a new home for local comedy and entertainment arts, driven by the talent of its community. Improv, sketch, stand-up and more, from homegrown performers doing what they love to do: engage, explore, and experience.



We teach the fundamentals of long-form improvisation including: agreement ("Yes, and..."), active listening,  and will learn how to improvise comedic scenes and perform the long-form structure known as the "Harold".

Improv classes are a great way to develop and improve personal skills like:

  • teamwork & collaboration,

  • listening,

  • reacting and adapting in real time

  • leadership,

  • public speaking

  • being in the moment

  • supporting the ideas of others without judgement

  • and much more.

Improv training is a way of learning how to behave on stage, in an effort to improve how we behave in life.


UTCA's sketch writing program is taught by industry professionals who have written and performed for TV and digital media. You will get real life industry experience. The Sketch program includes three levels and focuses on strong characters, strong premise based sketches, satire, parody, digital content and putting it all together for a live stage show.


We can’t teach you how to be funny, but we can help you start to find your voice, develop successful habits and help you put together your set. Learn the process and develop your own material in a workshop-style environment then perform on stage in our student stand-up showcase!


Come play, perform and make new friends! Improv is a great way to build confidence, sharpen listening skills, use your imagination, and have a blast.  Students will learn improv exercises and games and the fundamental skills learned with us can be applied to all aspects of life, and will stick with them for years to come. No experience needed. 


Devin Mahoney

Devin Mahoney

Devin Mahoney

Improv Levels 1-3
Sketch Writing 1&2

Devin grew up in Utica, NY, where he spent a good deal of his childhood watching the television shows and movies that inspired his love of comedy and passion for storytelling. After graduating Siena College with a degree in marketing and management, he earned his master’s in television and film from The Newhouse School at Syracuse University.

In 2004, Devin moved to Los Angeles to begin his career in entertainment. He’s worked in the writers’ room of dozens of comedies, on over two hundred episodes of television, including Scrubs, Better Off Ted, Outsourced, The Millers, Downward Dog, and I’m Sorry,. He served as a Consulting Producer on Duck Dynasty, scripting reality television and most recently worked as a Consulting Producer on the Netflix original series The Curious Creations of Christine McConnell from The Jim Henson Company.

Devin has studied and performed at legendary comedy theaters iO West, The Upright Citizens Brigade, and The Second City Hollywood



Cortland Cloos

Into to Stand-up

Improv for Vets

Cortland Cloos has been performing both improv and stand-up comedy for the past nine years. Cortland is a former member of the improv/sketch group Horrible Folks. He has hosted and performed as part of the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival. He has also performed as part of the Del Close Marathon. Cortland can currently be seen on stage in and beyond the NY region. He is working on producing and performing in programing for the UTCA as well as assuming instructor duties for stand-up and improv classes. Cortland is a veteran of the United States Army. He is married and lives in the Central New York region.

-Former member of the improv/sketch group Horrible Folks.

-Co-wrote and starred in the award winning (Cucalorus Cough Syrup Film Festival) Drunk Uncle Benny Goes to War

-Trained at the DSI Improv Comedy Theater in Chapel Hill, NC

-Former member of two house teams for DSI Comedy Theater

-Former member of the DSI Stand Up Corps

-Hosted and performed as part of the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival

-Performed as part of the Del Close Marathon




Intro to Stand-Up

Brendan’s quick wit and unique perspective has made him a crowd favorite all over the east coast and has earned him the title of CNY’s funniest comedian 2 years in a row.