Board President/Executive Director
Butch Roy loves improv. It all started almost 20 years ago with attending a show at the legendary Brave New Workshop, which turned into studying improv at the Brave New Institute, which later led to becoming the Technical Director at the Brave New Workshop, a position he proudly held for eight years. Somewhere in there he also earned his B.F.A. from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, got married, had some kids.
In 2002, Butch founded Improv A Go-Go, a weekly, all improvised showcase of some of the best local and national improvisers. Now in its fourteenth year, this Sunday night show still manages to sell out on a regular basis. In 2006, Butch started the Twin Cities Improv Festival (TCIF), a four-day event featuring shows and workshops. Held each June, TCIF has grown every year, attracting some of the most well-respected and talented improvisors on the continent.
“Butch Roy is first and foremost, an Improv technician. What I mean by that is that his skill-set is founded on solving problems instantly. Whether you need a thunder clap to help justify a moment in a scene that you haven’t yet realized you need, or to make the lights work in the next 5 minutes, he’s your guy. I often think back to when I was his understudy on a show for the Brave New Workshop and he would explain the cues for a scene which might involve simultaneously resetting the light board for the next transition, cueing up the next sound cue on the minidisc, and making the current sound cue into a live microphone with your mouth while holding down the guitar pedal in front of you that he rigged up as an effects processor. He always explained it as if this was what all tech people did. I still think he assumes he’s normal and that all technicians can do this. He’s not and they can’t. Butch Roy is perhaps the most versatile and phlegmatic technician I have ever known. And I have known many. Like I said before, he’s your guy.” – George Grubb
As the Executive Director of HUGE, Butch brings vision, technical expertise and passion to every HUGE production.
Board Secretary/Education Director
Jill Bernard is an internationally recognized improvisational theater performer and instructor. She began in 1993 with ComedySportz-Twin Cities, and was on the ComedySportz world championship team in 2004 and 2009. A proud co-founder of HUGE Theater, she has taught and performed improv in Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and in forty of the United States; and also on an episode of MTV “Made.”
Her experience includes the Scrimshaw Brothers’ of “Look Ma, No Pants” (1999 – 2003), the Second City Training Center’s DeMatt Showcase ensemble “StoryBox,” (2003 – 2004) and her critically-acclaimed award-winning solo show “Drum Machine.” She is also one-half of the duo SCRAM with Joe Bill of the Annoyance Theater. Jill has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theater from the University of Minnesota (1998) and an Artistic Associate of the Chicago Improv Festival, she has studied at the Annoyance Theater, Improv Olympic, the Brave New Workshop and other organizations; and is the recipient of the 2005 Chicago Improv Festival Avery Schreiber Ambassador of Improv Award, and the 2007 Miami Improv Festival award for Best Solo Show. She was also the winner, in January 2000, of the Executive Vice President Award for outstanding contribution to Human Resources, the highest award in the American Express Human Resources function. She’s also the voice of God, the Holy Ghost, the Virgin Mary and other religious figures in a series of confirmation videos for Sparkhouse.
Jill is responsible for education and assorted operations tasks for HUGE Theater.
Molly Chase first fell in love with improv while in high school and then pursued a career in business development for socially driven start-ups, online product development for Discovery Communications, and eleven years at Turner Broadcasting, where she most recently served as vice president and executive producer of Cartoon Network New Media. Since moving to Minneapolis, Molly served as managing director at Springboard for the Arts for four years and now works as an independent consultant.
Molly teaches, directs and performs at HUGE Theater and serves on the advisory board of Harbor Theatre Group. When not performing or working in arts administration, Molly is the co-host with worst memory on comedy podcast Totes Recall (totesrecall.com). Molly trained at Dad’s Garage Theatre in Atlanta, where she also served on the executive board, and performed long-form improv at Relapse Theatre.
As the Managing Director of HUGE, Molly’s responsibilities include strategic planning, financial forecasting, and special events.
Board Treasurer/Artistic Director
Nels Lennes has extensive experience with nationally recognized improvisational theater groups including The Groundlings, Annoyance Theater, and The Upright Citizens Brigade in addition to his Twin Cities collaborative experience since 1995. Nels has recently directed the Twin Cities productions of Ka-Baam!! and Creature Feature, continues to co-produce the weekly improv showcase “Improv A Go Go” as well as perform with local improv groups. As an instructor, Nels has taught many courses on improv, as well as Master Series classes of his own design. Nels is also an accomplished screen actor, appearing in several films as well as commercials for national marketing campaigns.
Nels oversees the artistic direction of HUGE productions.
Adia Morris Swanger is a dancer, actor, writer, non-profit professional and TV personality, which means that Google Calendar is her lifeline to sanity. Adia’s favorite X-Men character is Nightcrawler, being a teacher is the most satisfying thing she’s ever done, and she believes that peanut butter chocolate chip cookies are heaven in dough form.
Adia offers expertise in non-profit arts management and theater practices.
Robin Gillette has been working in the nonprofit arts world since 1990, ever since she graduated from Carleton College with a psychology degree that’s been surprisingly useful. What started as a career in stage management in Minneapolis and New York evolved into work as an off-Broadway general manager, a production coordinator for the Lincoln Center Festival, and Associate Producer of Contemporary Programming at Lincoln Center. She returned to Minneapolis in late 2001 where she continues to make her home and career. From 2006-2013, she served as executive director of Minnesota Fringe Festival, the Midwest’s largest uncurated performance festival. She founded Arts Progress in 2013 and has been helping arts organizations and individual artists more efficiently fulfill their mission ever since.
Robin offers expertise in non-profit arts management and theater practices.