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We’ll See This Thing Through – There Are Hundreds More Just Like Me and You.

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The numbers are in, most of us have gotten some sleep, we have sponsors to thank and winners to announce!

IronAudience2014

To say that this year’s Improvathon was amazing would be a crazy understatement

The group of delirious individuals you see above watched and took part in the entire 28 hours of improv this year – kept awake by coffee from Common Roots and we were even able to surprise/wake up our Iron Audience with a sundae bar donated by Haagen Dazs in the middle of the day!

THANK YOU to our sponsors!

CommonRoots HDShops LOGO


The results

This is what it’s all about – Give To the Max Day is THE fundraising day of the year for HUGE Theater since we made the (potentially risky) decision to give our supporters a break from constant fundraising and focus our efforts on our biggest event of the year – we reached out to members, friends, families, co-workers, audiences and everyone else we could reach and the response was genuinely overwhelming. We checked our math over and over again when we saw the numbers coming in and many tears were shed as HUGE not only exceeded our fundraising total from last year, we did it before GTMD had even officially begun and then went on to destroy our fundraising goal for this year!!!

The Numbers – $25,000 was our goal…

Our official GiveMN.org tally is $37,657.

HUGE won the 5am Golden Ticket – which was increased to $2,000 this year thanks to the generosity of the Bush Foundation and GiveMN!

Grand total with all online donations, Golden Ticket and door proceeds, our total comes to:

$44,965! 

Even more amazing, we had 776 gifts online, the 12th highest number of gifts overall among every group that participated in Give to the Max Day.   To be clear: HUGE is a tiny little tugboat among oceanliners participating in GTMD. This is astonishing, humbling and cause for much celebration.

Every single person who participated is part of this achievement – staff, photographers, techs, donors, cleaning volunteers, runners of errands, and ALL the performers – Thank you so much!


The Winners

We are also thrilled to announce that our top Iron Audience fundraiser was Breanna Cecile!

She brought in $1,044, and her fundraising page is #8 among 67.

Top five fundraising performing groups:

1st place:  The Away Team, which brought in $3,155.

2nd place :  Snack Time

3rd place:  Ladyfriend

4th place:  Horseface

5th place:  Community Ed!


In closing, another heartfelt thanks – if you know anything about this theater you probably know how much difference every single donation, no matter how big or small,  makes to this place.  If you know anything about me you know how important it is to try and thank people enough for all the help they give and let them know how much difference they make to this place and to me.

The numbers are the simplest way to measure the success of a day of fundraising but the impact of this single day cannot easily be described – I can tell you that there are lots of important days running the theater along the way.  Some incredibly fun days, which we try to share with as many people as we can. There are some hard days and some scary days, which I try not to share unless I have to.

And then there is a day like this year’s Give to the Max Day, which is difficult to share at all because words fail at the task and it feels like more love and joy than any one person can contain.  This past Thursday so clearly, vividly demonstrates to everyone how amazing this community is, the unbelievable things we can do and have fun doing them and – more than anything – why it is such an honor and a privilege that I get to spend my days in service of this place and all these people.

All the amazing people and performers did not choose to call HUGE their home because it is a special place – HUGE is a special place because these amazing people choose to make it their home.  And for that I will never stop thanking everyone and it will still never be enough.

Thank you for making this dream possible and keeping it going.

Butch Roy

- Executive Director of HUGE Theater and Humble Servant

WORKSHOP: Musical Improv with Madde Gibba

NOVEMBER 30th from NOON-2:30, $40 cash or check preferred
HUGE Theater 3037 Lyndale Ave S

Madde Gibba’s drop-in class was so insanely popular that she has agreed to teach another session.
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Please register here, do not delay!

WORKSHOP: Auditioning for Scripted Projects with Heather Meyer

DECEMBER 7 1-4PM, $45 cash or check preferred
HUGE Theater 3037 Lyndale Ave S

So you’re an improvisor! But what if you wanted to be in a play or a film? Do you know what is expected of you at an audition for a scripted show?

Improv is an excellent tool for performers, but auditioning for a play or film is a different process. This class demystifies auditioning for film and stage projects, and gives guidance and tips for before, during, after the audition and what to do when you get cast. You’ll get help finding a monologue that works for you and understand how to prepare yourself. You’ll also learn about the different types of auditions, behavior at audition, resumes & headshots, cold reading, national auditions, local auditions and how to leverage your improv skills to really shine in the audition, even if you’ve never done a scripted audition before! No need to prepare anything in advance of the first class.

Heather Meyer has been working in casting for the past 7 years for various theatres and production companies. She is currently the Casting and Development Manger at The National Theatre for Children. She sees over 800 auditions across the country every year.

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Please register HERE!

Riots Squads and Fire Hoses

Bradley recently emailed me with some concerns, presented politely, which led to a wide-ranging discussion that’s published here.  

Negative/constructive feedback, in some form or another, has been going on since the IAGG started – I did the scheduling, ran the website, paid for the hosting, worked the box office and hosted the show and gave out all the money at the end of the night – and what I’ve found along the way is that people don’t really trust altruism. 

They don’t understand when someone is willing to do a shitload of work just to give them something to be nice or because they believe in it. So they make some assumptions that there has to be something nefarious they aren’t being told and sometimes they make some petty, incorrect and hurtful accusations about someone who is working their ass off to try and do something for other people.

I should be used it by now and it shouldn’t bother me as much as it still does. But it does. I have been told that somebody must be making money off the IAGG or the improv festival or that I’m just doing it to help myself and my friends and screw everyone else, that there MUST be something else behind it. There isn’t.

And as much as the conversation I had with Bradley gives me hope that it’s getting better and maybe I’ve earned some measure of trust with my efforts – the message we got the next day from the Anonymous Contact Form is exactly the kind of thing that makes me want to give it up.

I would like to just put this in the “hate mail” pile and move on but I thought it was a good chance to show a contrast between this exchange I had with Bradley – which was productive while being honest about things that HUGE does that upset him and included great questions and suggestions – with one that is based on anger and assumptions and doesn’t do anything to help anyone make things better.  

It would be great if this exchange could be a good example going forward of how to approach things (even if you’re going to do it via the Anonymous Contact Form) and say something before you get to the point where you want to sit down and send something like this to HUGE about all the things we do wrong that you hate.

I have tried to limit my personal responses but my in-line replies are included below as several points seemed directed specifically to me.

Message sent 10/31 just after midnight:

I can’t believe that Mayhem is up again in their own show time. Duos I would rather see and who don’t get as many opportunities because one of their members isn’t on the Board of Directors: We Know Each Other, Polar Bear Centric, License to Krill, Ferrari McSpeedy, and the list could go on.

[ Butch’s Note:  this is already predicated on Mayhem being selected while others were not because of my position on the Board.  If there’s one positive thing I can say it is that I’m glad they just came out and said it instead of implying and hinting.

Second – None of the groups listed had proposed a show at the time we were programming November. Another area where HUGE can’t really be blamed for the actions of outside shows. If you want to see all those groups on our stage, send them angry emails telling them to propose shows.

Third – the wrong-est assumption made here is that any of these issues are this simple, as illustrated the conversation between Bradley and I in the previous post ]

Then there’s the slew of non-duo shows I’d rather see than a duo for 45 minutes, which I won’t go into – I’ll just say that this incredibly talented and creative community comes up with actual hundreds of great ideas, and you squash them with a duo that we’ve seen just a few months ago.

[ Butch’s Note:  This is like saying there are hundreds of shows that The Fringe Festival “squashes” in favor of only putting up the shows that enter the Fringe lottery.  We decided a duo would be good to put up between two larger-ensemble shows for contrast, actually. And we chose the duo that we had the strongest proposal from at the time ]

Honestly, Mayhem is not special

[ Butch’s note: That’s because you live in an awesome city full of awesome improv. I’m ok with being average in this town, that’s still better than most ]

and I’d rather see people that I can’t see in the hour right before them or on every Monday night. I am so sick of this theater and its management not caring about providing opportunities for the students it creates. It’s infuriating that Butch is such a loud proponent of people starting shows at other venues, and then blatantly poaches one of the best time slots for a duo we’ve seen recently. Mayhem, why don’t YOU go start another show at another venue and worry about only getting 4 audience members instead of poaching a time slot that you know will have attendance because of Family Dinner? Your management is so flagrantly socially irresponsible, it breaks my heart for Twin Cities improv. This theater does not belong to the city, to the improv community, or to its students – it belongs to a few selfish and often incompetent board members and the people they favor.

[ Butch’s Note:  I did that. That’s why there is a theater for you to complain about my management of.   

I not only did shows for 2 people when we opened, I did it in a building I spent my life savings leasing and built with my own hands so that everyone can have an improv theater – I also worked to create the 8pm time slot I’m accused of “poaching audience” from and the 9:30 showtime that was created so improvisers at ComedySportz wouldn’t have to choose between doing shows at CSZ or HUGE so we could be good neighbors and good members of this community ]

The answer to the issue at hand is this:

 

The Board of HUGE are improvisers

HUGE is built for improvisers as a place to perform

The means HUGE is also a place for the Board of HUGE to perform

 

I won’t apologize for it and it’s not going to change – we will continue to make the best, most impartial, decisions we know how about what to put on our stage. If you find that infuriating or it makes you sick, that’s unfortunate but I won’t pretend that we’re not going to program shows like Mayhem, Drum Machine or any others that include Board members.

We are going to put those shows up and we’re proud of them.

If you don’t believe that those decisions are impartial, nothing I say is going to matter – I will have to just stand by my thirteen years of hard work for this community and all the thought and consideration that was put into all those decisions along the way.

I can do that and sleep well at night – I wish you the same.

Bring on the Days of Wine & Roses…

This exchange took place via email on a recent afternoon between Bradley Machov and Butch Roy. It started as one thing, and expanded into a whole lot more. It’s presented much as it was written, with slight edits for public presentation.

 

Bradley:

I think you should seriously consider, every time you announce new show lineups, posting a paragraph or so description of why that show was selected–both for the run itself and for the timeslot chosen.

The August Happy Hour with the Board went a long way for me in elucidating the process of how shows are chosen, but for one thing, not everyone was at the happy hour. And as I’m sure you’ve noticed (based on questions asked at the happy hour, as well as that long blog post you published a few months back) you have a bit of a perception problem when it comes to lineups. I’m one of HUGE’s biggest fans and supporters, and even I’m sometimes baffled–and angry–by decisions made about shows. I think more upfront explanations would help dispel at least some of those negative feelings.

Really, the big issue is not about the shows themselves, but the people in the shows. HUGE makes such a big deal about it being “your theater” and a place for everyone. However, how many shows put up in 2014 had an audition process for that run? Zero, by my count. Granted, not every show needs auditions. Star Trek, for instance, would probably kill its momentum with brand new casts each year. But why doesn’t a show like Creature Feature and/or Survivors of the Undead Plague mix it up yearly? Or hold auditions to at least potentially mix it up? As it is, the only show that provides a consistent opportunity for “everyone” to be a part is Throwback Night. And while Throwback Night does a commendable job of getting some new faces on stage, it has also–for example–cast one of the board of directors for all three years running. (Again, a specific example of the larger point. That one thing alone does not justify this whole email.)

[In that last paragraph I had forgotten that Darjeeling Unscripted and The Improvisors held auditions. So the “Zero, by my count,” point isn’t completely valid, but 2 still isn’t that noteworthy. ~Bradley]

The more often you return the same cast/people to your stage, the less chances there are to discover new talent. Duh. But not only does that discourage said new talent, it also discourages anyone with a vested interest in seeing HUGE fulfill its mission: supporting the improv community in the Twin Cities. By definition, you’re only supporting the people you put on stage.

Granted, the community is way too big to give all deserving performers consistent stage time at HUGE. I totally get that you have to draw the line somewhere. But I wouldn’t be writing this email if I was the only one who felt this concern. I’ve talked with enough people about the issue of stage time (who gets it and who doesn’t) that it’s an issue possibly bubbling under the surface more than you realize. (Maybe you do fully realize it, but it’s then still an issue that you’re having trouble resolving.) I’m an advocate for finding more opportunities to hold auditions. But for now, an explanation of why the show was chosen for the run it got could at least be a step in fixing the problem.

Butch:

I think that is a fine idea, posting what exactly it is that got that show chosen for that time slot – might be a good, ongoing way to illustrate some of the thinking that goes into selecting shows

We really don’t have a terrific “announcement” process and that’s something that could really use some help as well, with this feature a part of it. Shows don’t really get announced when they are booked since we’re booking all over the calendar at all times but we could issue announcements along the way, yes.

To the second part, I do know and understand that it’s an issue, and it is something that we’ve tried to address – but a big part of the problem as I see it is that the perception around who gets into shows and how opportunities are counted is a bit off from the reality. By which I mean, the assumption that it’s something that HUGE neglected or failed to do.

Throwback Night may have been the only show we held auditions for but that accounts for 30% of the shows that HUGE produced in-house last year (given that the Throwgram shows are the same casts from Throwback night) which is much higher than zero, but I do get complaints that say the very same thing.  

Creature Feature held auditions last year as part of an effort to introduce auditions to the longer-standing shows and invite newer people to be part of them instead of just having them be something that happens every year that nobody knows how to get into. We didn’t hold auditions this year because that cast is still so new to doing that show that we wanted to push them further before changing it up.

HUGE produced: Creature Feature, Star Trek, Throwback Night, #hashtag, He/She/Them and Dr. Harold. That’s it.

Those are the six shows with casting under our control that we could hold auditions for, one of which we did hold auditions for and the people cast in that show were automatically the casts of the subsequent Throwgrams.

Survivors of the Undead Plague, Adventures of Tim, Troy and Damian, The Mess, The Improvisers, Family Dinner, Polar Bear Centric, Mayhem, Mustache Rangers, Speed Goat, Off Book, Yes Anderson, M4W, OMG, Positive TERI, This is Yay, Bearded Men, Secrets of the Twin Cities and Followers of Djibosh  (that’s all the rest of the weekend shows for the year 2014) are the eighteen shows came to us from outside with casting already done.

HUGE doesn’t produce those shows and can’t very well hold auditions for them.

[Touching on a legitimate legal issue that will be addressed further in a bit]

I think when people look at the big picture of what happened at HUGE for the year and opportunities that were given out, they often fail to count those shows as whole casts of improvisers that got an opportunity on our stage – it’s easy to choose to see “HUGE didn’t do anything to let us into those shows” but the reality is more like “HUGE did a lot of work to give all those shows an opportunity (in fact we took KaBaam!! (a HUGE show) off the calendar to give more opportunities to more shows) and those independently produced shows didn’t do anything to let you into them.”

Part of that problem is that the difference between “our shows” and “not our shows” is largely invisible. We want to give them all the same weight and stand behind them equally to our audiences; we don’t want to put our stamp on “our” shows and leave it off the others. When we first started I always jokingly used the tag line “This is a HUGE production” on our shows, but we quickly stopped because we never wanted there to be a “mainstage vs second-stage” feel to any of it, or make it seem like we were endorsing some shows but not others.

If the show is on our stage we put all the same weight and resources behind it, and calling out the difference felt like it took away from that; but it may have led to the confusion we’re having now as well.

And you are correct – almost none of those shows held auditions – but that isn’t HUGE’s failure, and I think we can help promote the general idea that people proposing shows should also hold auditions, and we’re happy to be the venue for those auditions any time we can.

But rather than people being upset at HUGE for what we could be doing, everyone should remember to ask their friends that produce shows the same question.

I know we’re never going to make everyone happy with the number of opportunities there are, because there are too many people and groups to fit into the schedule AND still give any of those shows enough of a run to call a fair amount of time to build any audience. But rather than seeing how few people we’re opening things up to, I see the open proposal process via our website submission form as a giant open door. And I’m proud of the fact that whole casts of improvisers from the community are getting chances – not just to come be part of something we create and tell them what kind of show to do, but also to put together a show they imagine and want to put on stage.

The problem you touched on isn’t as simple as it looks to those people that are inclined to be upset at HUGE. Could we work on communicating this in some way? Maybe so. I’ve always shied away from HUGE telling groups how they “should” run things, since we neither have nor seek any authority over how things are done outside our theater; and it’s hard to give simple advice from HUGE’s voice without that advice sounding like “rules.”

We ARE adding a line to the show proposal form about auditions, and using HUGE as the venue for auditions to further encourage them.

Thank you for bringing it to us – that’s a step that too few people take.

I’m always happy to explain (in far too much detail) why HUGE does things, but people seldom ask.

And yes, some of those shows include members of the Board of Directors – we’re an artist-led theater and I make no apologies about putting members of our Board in shows. If the inference is that they are in shows because of favoritism, that’s a very different conversation that speaks to whether or not the board can be trusted to make those decisions impartially.

I maintain that we can and do, but if people don’t believe it when I say it – and some do not – then really the issue is that they don’t trust what I say in the first place and nothing else I say will matter anyway.

 

Bradley:

Thanks for the reply. It went a long way towards answering many of my concerns not answered at the happy hour.

There’s still clearly that perception problem, though. I think inviting the public into your thought process will help. If the perception is that there’s favoritism, or impulsive decisions, or whatever; laying out the thought process should help dispel that. The explanation won’t be good enough for everyone, but if it’s a reasonable explanation it should be good enough for most people.

The Creature Feature/Survivors of the Undead Plague (SOTUP) example perfectly captures that point. I’m sitting here thinking, “Why couldn’t Creature Feature have held auditions again? Why did the same cast have to return?” Regardless of whether I’m happy with that explanation, I feel like I at least now understand why.

And I know intellectually that SOTUP is Damian’s thing. But from the outside it feels very much like a HUGE show. Maybe just because of how well it fits with Creature Feature, maybe something else. But again, I’m sitting here thinking that it’s a show that could easily hold auditions every year. If I saw something from HUGE like, “We love SOTUP and love the job Damian does with it. We love how perfectly it complements CF in our fall lineup. So we’re more than happy giving our 9:30 slot to those guys…etc etc…” That would probably at least help me understand the rationale more. Just putting a show on your stage is standing by it in a big way. I don’t think there’s too much harm in making it clear that it’s an outside producer, but one that you trust completely to produce a great show. But I definitely could be wrong.

There’s clearly a fine line here. A duo like Polar Bear Centric, or even a group like my own Positive T.E.R.I., is clearly not HUGE’s doing–that’s a group that developed on its own and approached HUGE with a show. But again, perception–SOTUP (again, as just one example) seems different in a way I can’t put my finger on.

Butch:

There are so many levels at play in the relationship you described – it almost entirely has to do with creative control and intellectual property – but they are real, legal concerns that we have to answer around shows.

SOTUP created their own show long before HUGE existed and it has evolved over time, over which HUGE has no input and doesn’t seek any either. They created the “improvised zombie movie,” and that was such a great fit for our show that we built a longer relationship with Creature Feature around that understanding.

This past year Damian came back and said he was thinking about doing something different with the show, and I had to tell him that the 9:30 Halloween show is based on it being an improvised zombie movie – we had an agreement for a zombie movie show and if it wasn’t going to be an improvised zombie movie we’d have to evaluate the new idea as a brand new proposal.

This year, I was asked to direct SOTUP (which further muddies the water over whose show it is from the outside, I’m sure) but I was only the director of that show this year – Damian still owns it just as much as HUGE still owns the 9:30 show slot. HUGE could decide to put up a different show in that spot just like Damian could ask someone else to direct the show next year.

If HUGE told Damian how to do his show or reached out and tapped Damian to “come up with an improvised zombie movie for our lineup,” then it would be a commissioned work and we’d have to parse out who owned the end result because of how the laws around intellectual property work in Minnesota. We are purposely not a “work for hire” stage; we want to give groups the utmost freedom to take their shows anywhere they want without worrying if HUGE needs to give them permission or have any credit.

The example of the flipside is probably The Score. HUGE cast the group Crab Hands as a whole group to do our show called The Score. If they go elsewhere to perform it, they are called Crab Hands and so is their show, even if they perform the same structure with iPods from the audience, etc. If we remount The Score at HUGE they know there is no promise that they will be the cast, etc etc. All of which is an understanding we had to learn along the way to be clear about with the casts themselves, but we have left it out of things the public needs to know or worry about in regards to the shows.

Likewise with Family Dinner and Neutrino – Family Dinner was created by Michael at ComedySportz a long time ago. HUGE did not put the show on until it was resolved that Michael could bring it to our stage. And if Michael chose to take Family Dinner elsewhere next year, we’d have no way to stop him (nor would we seek to). But while it is on our stage we promote just as hard as any show that we produced. We love it and we’re proud that it’s on our stage and, more than anything, that is the message we want to communicate to the public.

Neutrino was still in the hands of the last group that ran it, even though it hasn’t run in the Twin Cities in 7 years – we still had to wait for the rights to the show to be officially transferred to me before HUGE would even discuss doing it ourselves – and that’s an even deeper level since it gets into the rights to do a show that neither group involved came up with.

These are lines that may seem fuzzy and/or invisible from the outside, but they are lines that we actually have to maintain very clear definitions for in order to protect ourselves from disputes and problems down the line – and to make sure that groups that want to create a show and mount it on our stage know that we’re not going to try and assume ownership of their show in any way. So I assure you that those things are very deliberately treated the way they are in order to make sure that our door is open to everyone with as few hurdles and snares as possible. That is part of how we support artists – we make it as easy as we can on them, even though it means more work on our end sometimes.

Sometimes, as you may have noticed, we have to scramble and insert a show into the lineup. That’s a great example of HUGE being responsible for when people outside of our control drop the ball, or expectations aren’t communicated clearly by me when booking shows. Sometimes communication around show end dates, absences so groups can do a festival elsewhere, etc., get fumbled and mistakes are made and we get caught less than prepared.  I’ve had groups forget about shows after the Fringe, or I’ve not clearly confirmed the run dates that change because of holidays, etc and then we’re in a position of telling shows they’re expected to put something up they might not have been planning or ready for.

But if they say, “Well we can’t,” then we would be the ones left holding the ball and scrambling to fill the schedule, which happens far more than it should (even though it doesn’t happen very often at all). But we don’t have any way to compel people to do what we say (which is funny when people claim that we “control” things) and I don’t think anyone does it intentionally or maliciously but there is a point when people find it easier to say, “Well I give up;” because they have tried all they can think of but they also know we HAVE to do something to fix it. HUGE can’t just shrug and tell the audience, “Well there was supposed to be a show now, but they didn’t show up.”

So that’s the downside of not producing all the shows ourselves – when we scramble and put up Solomon Kane for three weeks of Wednesdays, it’s not because we saw a chance to sneak in one of Nels’ projects for more stage time, we did that because we emailed everyone with a submitted Wednesday show proposal and couldn’t get any takers. The buck stops with us, so I had to turn to Nels and basically force him to put something up with no notice, just to fulfil the promise of our Wednesday show. That’s not something I want do to someone outside of HUGE if I can avoid it.

When it comes time to screw someone by asking them to do something we know sucks, I will always see if I can do it myself before asking someone else to take a deal that sucks. People do too much for us for me to feel OK asking them to do the things that suck.  If there’s a scheduling error and a group needs to be cut, my groups get cut first. Some people might choose to see greed that I put our shows in first, but that is why the Board of Directors shows are 2-3 weeks over odd dates – we fill in the weird gaps in the calendar because offering another show 3 weeks in the middle of June is bullshit. I would be insulted if someone offered me 3 random weeks but expected me to do all the marketing and everything just as seriously as a full run. So rather than insult someone else, we will just take it and do it since we have to market all the shows anyway.

If we did produce all the shows, we could hold auditions, schedule everyone and just worry about hiring and firing actors and directors – but that wouldn’t serve the overall mission nearly as well. And I think giving shows the chance to step up as producers is a valuable one that teaches lots of people what that means and all that goes into it. The occasional scramble is the price of doing things that way, when people find out it’s harder than they thought. And then we learn along the way as well.

 

Bradley:

Man, if only there was a clear and concise way to get that out there.

To button things (at least for now), I haven’t seen anything to convince me that my original idea isn’t a good idea. If anything, I think it’s an even better idea. But ultimately it’s up to you, and I’ll obviously continue to support and stand by HUGE regardless of whether it’s implemented or not.

 

Butch:

Oh yeah – I’m on board with that part all the way back from the first email

I always attach my usual caveat to things that I hope will help people feel better about what we’re doing: That no matter what or how much you say, there are always people that either don’t believe us or assume there’s something “more” that we’re leaving out or hiding.  

All of which is me saying that, at some point, people will decide what they believe about what and why goes on here – and no amount of talking makes that any different. But it makes it so much better when someone actually does come forward and ask questions, make suggestions, or tell us something that bothers them.

So thanks for doing that.

 

Events and meetings at HUGE!

Did you know you can rent HUGE for an event or meeting?   Contact jill@hugetheater.com for information! 

HUGE Theater Rental: Special Events

Fully ADA accessible 3,200 sq. ft. space with an attractive lobby and adjacent parking lots. The space can accommodate up to 100 guests.

Lights, projector and sound equipment are available for use. A technician will be on site to answer all your questions and to respond to technical needs.

Daytime theater reservation

7 days a week, pending availability

Our best value base price for the space for up to 6 hours; includes a host and technician (both required). Extra charge for each additional hour.

Client selects start and end time; theater is available between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Evening theater reservation

Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays, limited availability, higher pricing

 

BEER AND WINE BAR

HUGE carries an excellent selection of local and micro brews at our bar, and can usually accommodate special requests for beer and wine with advance notice.

 Pricing models:

  • Cash bar (your guests would pay $5-6 per drink)
  • HUGE can run a tab for you and take 10% off your total bill
  • You can make a bulk purchase in advance at a 15% discount rate. Once the pre-purchased drinks ran out, we could switch to either running a tab for you or running a cash bar for your guests.

 Small additional charge for bartenders.

We require our theater bartenders to run the beer and wine bar.

CATERING

HUGE Theater does not require use of a particular caterer, nor do we require a minimum catering purchase. We recommend Common Roots Catering, but you can use the caterer of your choice.

3037 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55408 | 612 412 4843 | hugetheater.com

 

Throwback 2015 Rosters

It’s done!  After much rigorous thought and deliberation, I have created the team rosters for the 2015 season of Throwback Night!

As mentioned before, these were not easy decisions to make.  Over 80 people auditioned, and only 33 were assigned to teams.  A giant thank you to everyone who auditioned!  Here is the breakdown:

Harold – directed by Joe Bozic

Kevin Albertson
Madhu Bangalore
Michael Blomberg
Lizzie Gernes
Eric Heiberg
Drew Kersten
Josh Kuehn
Mark Mikula
Cody Nelson
Lauren Schwein
Dawson Walker

Close Quarters – directed by Nels Lennes

Jordan Bainer
Sophie Brossard
Dustin Brown
Molly Chase
Zoa Green
Ellen Q. Jaquette
MJ Marsh
Sid Oxborough
Kristen Pichette
Erin Sheppard
Anna Tobin

Deconstruction – directed by Butch Roy

Alex Carlson
Lauren Chesnut
Mike Fotis
Beth Gibbs
Casey Haeg
Adam Iverson
Adam Litz
Kenny Pierce
Michael Renner
Brian Rice
Mike Trost

Throwback Auditions Complete!

I hope everyone had a great time at Throwback auditions, because I had a blast.  How lucky am I that I get to sit down and have 80+ improvisers make me laugh so hard I get a headache?  Very lucky.  This is such a vibrant and active community, and these auditions proved that.  Everyone did such a great job, and my decisions will be extremely hard.  I hope to have the rosters up by late next week.  Stay tuned!

-Nels

Throwback Audition Schedule

Hey folks! Here it is… your schedule for this year’s Throwback Night auditions. You have been assigned a 1 hour time slot. Please plan to be there for the entire hour. If you have any issues with your spot on this schedule, please let me know ASAP at nels@hugetheater.com

THROWBACK AUDITION SCHEDULE
(click that)

-Nels

Improvathon 2014 FAQ and Info-teria!

 

What is Improvathon?

Improv-a-thon is a 28-hour improv marathon fundraiser benefiting HUGE Improv Theater. It is timed to coincide with GiveMN.org’s Give to the Max Day, an annual statewide day of giving, on Thursday, November 13.

When is it? What is the schedule?

Wednesday, November 12 at 7:00 – 8:00pm

Doors open; snacks and socializing

 Wednesday, November 12 at 8:00 p.m.

28-hours of Improvathon shows officially begin at HUGE.

Thursday, November 13 from midnight until 11:59 p.m.

24-hours of improv as part of GiveMN.org’s Give to the Max Day

So that’s it? 28-hours of improv and fundraising?

Basically! But it ends up being much more. It is a chance for the larger community – students, performers and audience — to get together. In years past, the Improvathon has been the impetus for brand new groups to form. It is also an important opportunity for many students and performers to get on stage and show their friends and family – inside and outside the Twin Cities — why improv and HUGE are important to them.

Plus, any team can tag in Butch Roy, Nels Lennes, or Molly Chase to join on stage at any point during the Improv-a-thon.( Jill Bernard availability is limited due to family travel.)

Also, there are amazing people who sign up to be Iron Audience members and watch 24-hours of improv. These intrepid souls form the backbone of the audience, especially at 3:30 in the morning, and support performers.

I’m uncomfortable with fundraising, but I want to perform. Can I just sign up for a performance time?

Not really. Improvathon is HUGE’s biggest annual fundraiser. We are asking each performance time to try to raise at least $350. In years past we haven’t specifically asked groups to fundraise as part of this event, but it is very important to sustaining the theater. Part of our hope and vision that Improvathon could raise $25,000 for HUGE this year. (It sounds like a lot, but that’s less than one month’s operating expenses.)

We will do our best to make fundraising easy for you – and there are a lot of tools to do that, through GiveMN.org’s online donation site and through tips and samples we will provide. Keep in mind, this isn’t about cold calling strangers. You’ll be asking family and friends who know you, and are asking them to support a nonprofit cause that’s personally important to you.

If you are truly uncomfortable asking friends and family to donate, please choose another way to perform at HUGE. Everyone is welcome to Space Jam each week, or to enter the Improv A Go Go lottery, or to take a class and perform in the showcase, or to submit a show idea, or all of the above. And those are just the opportunities at HUGE, there are many more in the Twin Cities. All to say, this is not just a performance slot, it is a chance to financially support a nonprofit theater with a mission to support the improv community.

Can I be in more than one group that performs?

Of course! We just ask that you consider how thin you are spreading yourself in terms of time and energy, but also your ability to contribute to each groups’ fundraising goals. Also know that there are a lot of improvisers who want to participate, and so try to leave room for others.

How many performance slots are there, and how do I sign up?

There are approximately 42 timeslots available, about the same as last year.  Here’s the form to request at performance time: LINK COMING SOON

Is this a competition?

Yes. The performer/group that raises the most funds will receive a custom coaching session from a special guest, either in March or during Twin Cities Improv Festival in June. In addition, the group will receive their name on the wall, bragging rights, and a free membership to the HUGE Annex for rehearsal time for a year.

The Iron Audience member who raises the most funds will receive a Golden Ticket to HUGE, good for a year of free shows, and a hoodie with a special badge. All Iron Audience contenders that complete the 24-hours will get their names on HUGE’s wall, plus a T-shirt and badge.

Why does HUGE schedule this to coincide with GiveMN.org’s Give to the Max Day?

The short answer is HUGE will be eligible to win $1,000 – $10,000 extra dollars based on incentives from GiveMN.

In addition, Give to the Max Day (GTMD)  is an important arts and nonprofit awareness tool that makes a big impact statewide. By participating in GTMD, we are part of a much larger event, and are supporting fellow Minnesota nonprofits.

I can’t or don’t want to perform. Is there another way to participate?

Come watch some shows! Bonus points if you make a donation to HUGE via GiveMN.org at home and then bring a printout to HUGE.

Be an Iron Audience Contender - If you are comfortable with staying up for 24-hours, this could be a great option. If not, just come out and watch some shows! A lot of us will be there, and it will be fun.

Volunteer – We’ll need 30 hours of box officers, tech booth operators, help with food, general tidying, massage therapists (?), you name it! A volunteer sign-up sheet will be posted soon.

Encourage people to contribute before they come to the theater – Our goal is to get donors to donate online and bring a printout w/ them to HUGE. It’s faster/easier for them and for the box office.

Offer or find a Matching Grant – GiveMN has piles of research that says projects with Matching Grants receive more donations. A Matching Grant can be as small as $100 to be effective.

Finding matching grants for your group are a great strategy if you want to win the top fundraising prize, but also is a great thing for people that want to give before Give to the Max Day. It is a great way to get the word out and start fundraising right away. At present, we don’t have a matching donor set up. You could get one for your own group. Or ask your work if they donate to 501c3 nonprofits like HUGE.

Donate!– Back a team of your choosing, don’t be shy.

Spread the word!– Word of mouth is incredibly important to HUGE, not only for the Improvathon, but for all our shows. If you haven’t reviewed HUGE on Yelp or Google, consider doing that. Sincere, great reviews are among the most valuable gifts you can give.

I’m uncomfortable with fundraising, but I want to be an iron audience member. Can I just show up and stay?

Not exactly. You are certainly free to come to HUGE and watch as much improv as you’d like! To participate as an  Iron Audience contender, though, is to participate in an important part of the fundraiser. This portion of the event is arguably the most “a-thon” part of the whole Improvathon. We are asking each Iron Audience contender to please sign up by November 5 and to commit to raising at least $100 for HUGE as part of the event.

We will do our best to make fundraising easy for you – and there are a lot of tools to do that, through GiveMN.org’s online donation site and through tips and samples we will provide. Keep in mind, this isn’t about cold calling strangers. You’ll be asking family and friends who know you, and are asking them to support a nonprofit cause that’s personally important to you.

Does having an Iron Audience really help?

Performers are grateful for the Iron Audience, and the tremendous boost their presence gives. In return, performers work hard to create the best show possible for the audience, even at — or maybe especially at —  3AM. Beyond that, Iron Audience helps HUGE by posting on social media and, of course, and by raising funds.

What does an Iron Audience member get?

Those who watch 24 hours of improv (midnight to midnight) get their name on HUGE’s wall and a badge, plus an Improvathon T-shirt. Beyond that, HUGE does what it can to make Iron Audience contenders welcome and comfortable.

What are the Iron Audience rules?

The rules are based in the honor system — the idea is to be in the theater watching performances, and no performances can be skipped. Sleeping through shows and/or being absent from the theater are outside of the spirit of the event. That said, people need to take breaks for bathroom and snacks, and may want to step outside under the awning to get some fresh air. It is also possible a person might doze off here and there. All of these things are acceptable.

The Iron Audience portion of the event runs for 24-hours and begins promptly at 12:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 14. There is a kick-off reception and four hours of improv prior to that (starting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night) that you are of course welcome to attend. But it’s not part of Iron Audience.

What if I change my mind or get sick, or get called in to work?

This is a low-pressure, low-stakes event where your health and peace of mind are top priority. If at an point you’re feeling sick and/or just need to take a break or go home, you should! We will never stop being grateful for all you do.

Last year it got a little stuffy in the theater. Any plans to combat that this year?

Oh, yes. You bet.  We installed lovely ceiling fans and are scheduling longer breaks to get the theater cleared out and freshened up.

I don’t see the answer to my question here – who can I contact?

Feel free to send questions to molly at hugetheater dot com.