John Gebretatose leads our program(s) to increase diversity and inclusion at HUGE Theater – and in the Twin Cities improv community in general – this is just the beginning and we look forward to John’s role and the Diversity & Inclusion work to continue to grow at HUGE!
The POC Jams
One of the first and most immediately visible additions was the POC Jams!
Currently a monthly event held on Sunday afternoons, we hope to add more as demand increases!
The objective of the POC improv jam is to bring people together who may or may not know about improv to come together to learn more about improv, meet new people, play with people you’ve always wanted to play with or network. No experience required.
People will learn about the principles of improv, what classes HUGE Theater offers, what auditions are coming up and what scholarships or other resources are available to minority students.
There’s an introductory workshop on improv, participants do some scenes on stage and participation is optional. The POC improv jam is a relaxed and non intimidating event. It is supposed to be playful, fun and easy. Yay!
Why is this event for POC only?
Since it’s about having representation it makes sense to have a space where people can feel they’re important and deserve to be in the room. The value to having a non white POC jam uplifts marginalized groups. Also, there’s other events for that. A lot of them.
Bringing in people from all walks of life to our theater to take classes and to perform is important, even though improv doesn’t cast to type, having a diverse range of people adds value to the art, socially and to the theater. Having a more diverse improv theater yields way more benefits than to not have one. Creating diversity takes a lot of work; traditionally and currently improv is mostly white person’s game and while some minorities have seen shows or taken a class, the percentage of minorities that are actually represented on stage is low and that can limit the amount of interest from minority groups to be involved.
It isn’t as simple as casting more POC – we want to find and improve the places where our art form has been less welcoming to performers of color, which isn’t just one task – it’s looking at every task with diversity and being more inclusive in mind and helping overwhelmingly white theaters and producers find their blind spots so we can do better.