The Playground Theater, founded in 1997, remains the only continuously operating non-profittheater in Chicago dedicated to an art form invented in Chicago - Modern Theatrical Improvisation. The Playground was founded in 1997 by its original member companies. The Playground theater exists as a non-profit co-op, governed by its member companies, or "teams." The Playground currently features 13 member ensembles and over 200 performers in addition to guest teams, and members of the theater's Incubator Program Located at 3209 N. Halsted Street, The Playground features performances every night of the week at 8pm. Other shows at other times also regularly occur.
From time to time the theater holds auditions for its signature Incubator Program, in which applicants are judged on their skills at scene-based improvised comedy. Those who pass are assembled into Incubator Teams with a certain guaranteed number of shows on The Playground's stage. The newly hatched teams are then free to govern their own fates, hire their own coaches, and generally pursue a career as an improv ensemble. Some Incubator teams eventually wind up applying for membership status with the theater.