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Remembering Ray Hakko

There are no words to express the grief we feel over the loss of beloved local improvisor Ray Hakko, who passed away December 4, 2019.

He wrote about his journey to improv through the 55+ program at the Brave New Workshop. His passion soon spilled over and Ray found his way to HUGE Theater. As a student, audience member, and performer, Ray became much beloved for his understated warmth, kindness, and imagination, and inspired us all with his example as a life-long learner. His absence will be painfully felt, but his impact on our community will be with us for a long time to come.

Upcoming Drop In Classes

Every Tuesday 5-6:30PM, $10 suggested donation, free for members.

An ongoing investigation of improvisational scenework with local instructors, open to all experience levels. No registration required, just drop in!  One student writes: ” I am just so darn grateful for the chance to learn from these experienced improvisers. These classes are a gold mine for me.  Here I get the chance to practice with improvisers of all levels…. So valuable.” Suitable for students over age 18.

12/10/2019
“Challenge Accepted!” with Anna Tobin

12/17/2019
“Animals and Anthropomorphism: Playing Beasts and Objects” with Will Schroeder

12/24/2019
NO CLASS – Christmas Eve

12/31/2019
NO CLASS – New Year’s Eve

1/7/2020
“An Actively Active Listening Listener” with Emily Lindholm

1/14/2020
“Masters of Time and Space” with Gaia Mencagli

1/21/2020
“Enjoy the Silence” with Sarah Baker

1/28/2020
“Supporter Heroes” with Pamela Mazzone

2/4/2020
“Using the Michael Chekhov Acting Technique to Define a Character” with Rich Remedios

2/11/2020
“Use Your Life” with Phil Petersen

2/18/2020
“How to Eat Food in Front of People: A Step-by-Step Guide to Looking Ridiculous on Your Own Terms” with Benjamin Domask

2/25/2020
“F*ck Fear: How to Step Out & Step Up” with Maria Bartholdi

3/3/2020
“The Invocation” with Sean Dillon

…more classes to come! This is an ongoing class, upcoming teachers and subjects TBA

Improvathon 2019 Schedule

WEDNESDAY, NOV 13
8 PMButts & Beef
8:30 PMMud Coven
9 PMWhereases
9:30 PMThe Shrieking Harpies
10 PMThe Bearded Company
10:30 PMFeel Good About Yourself Orchestra
11 PMCrumplestiltskin
11:20 PMBollyprov
11:40 PMLast Action Movie
THURSDAY, NOV 14GIVE TO THE MAX DAY!!!
12 AMGttMD Kickoff/The Ops Team
12:30 AMSleepover
1 AMLarry the Fable Guy
1:30 AMHollow Bones
2 AMTracktastic
2:30 AMShelly & Ethel: Take the Stage!! presents “”We’re All Doomed,”” a live improvisational show about Who Cares P.S. Butch don’t take any of this out this is all part of the title; yes, this part too. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
3 AM201: Kelly & Julietta Edition
3:30 AMThe Kid
4 AMGhoulish Endeavors
4:30 AMSympathetic Magic
5 AMMichael and Bret in the Morning
5:30 AMPUPPPETS
6 AMCloud Wars
6:30 AMSwoon River
7 AMSTUDENT JAM!
7:30 AMBREAKFAST
8 AMBenches (with Pam)
8:20 AMSubatomic Duck
8:40 AMNon-zero Chance
9 AMResist Sleep
9:20 AMUSA’s Newest Duo!
9:40 AMHotel Shampoo
10 AMAwesome Floss
10:30 AMCommunity Ed
11 AMAdorable
11:30 AMDoubtless
12 NOONLUNCH BREAK
12:30 PMStrays
1 PM1up
1:30 PMKids at Camp
2:00 PMTarantino
2:30 PMRandomly Chosen
3 PMCacophony
3:30 PMFickle Me, Zelmo
4 PMSTUDENT JAM!
4:30 PM15 for 2
5 PMWomen of a Certain Height
5:20 PMKistKrauseRouse
5:40 PMDINNER BREAK
6 PMCLEAN UP
6:20 PMUbookuitous
6:40 PMThursday Night Bingo Club
7 PMPOC Ensemble Jam
7:20 PMRat Queen
7:40 PMThe Provettes
8 PMMurderClown
8:30 PMComedySportz
9 PMjorts!
9:30 PMBlackout
10 PMThe Mess
10:30 PMMAYHEM
11 PMDillyDallHaus
11:30 PMDrum Machine
12 MIDNIGHTRESULTS AND
WE ALL FALL DOWN!

Improvathon 2019 Registration and FAQs!

Improvisers at HUGE Improv Theater are taking the stage — and not giving it back for 28 hours — to raise money for the the non-profit artist-led improvisational theater. It’s a one-of-a-kind fundraising barnstorm that coincides with Give to the Max Day, November 14, an annual event when Minnesotans display their generosity by celebrating and donating to local nonprofits through GiveMN.org.

REGISTRATION
Improv Performance Request: https://hugetheater.formstack.com/forms/iat19
Iron Audience Contender: http://tinyurl.com/iat19iron

NOTE: We’re having some trouble with the Iron Audience tinyurl. Please use this link in the meantime: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1R5Rtn0rTmxLQd0itNTc_s7R81FM_XTpubkOGC8wvSIw/edit

There is an Improvathon Kickoff Meeting at HUGE Theater – October 16th at 6pm!

Come ask questions, get more info and meet your fellow contenders as we gear up for GTMD2019!


SCHEDULE
The Improvathon gets underway on Wednesday night, November 13, starting at 8PM, leading up to the official Give to the Max Day start at midnight on Thursday, November 14.
A succession of more than 125 local improvisers will lead audiences through 28 hours of spontaneous, unrehearsed, improvised theater. The program will end at midnight Nov. 14.

The goal of HUGE’s 28-hour Improvathon is to raise funds for the LynLake-area theater and support improvisational theater in the Twin Cities. In addition to producing 500+ shows a year, HUGE teaches 600+ students annually, and supports the education and career development of performing artists.

Admission is pay-what-you-can, with a suggested minimum donation of $10. HUGE is located at 3037 Lyndale Ave. South near Lake and Lyndale in Minneapolis.


GENERAL FAQ

What is Improvathon?
Improvathon 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 14, 2019.

What is the schedule?
Starts: Wednesday, November 13 at 8:00PM
Ends: Thursday, November 14 at 11:59PM

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.

Also, there are amazing people who sign up to be Iron Audience contenders 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.

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

In addition, HUGE will be eligible to win $1,000 – $10,000 extra dollars based on incentives from GiveMN.
2019 Prizes include
– $500 Golden Tickets every 15 minutes
– two “Power Hour” challenges – each worth $6,000
– hourly $1000 Golden Tickets
– $500 Early Giving Tickets, starting Nov 1
– the final $10,000 Golden Ticket!

Every donation through GiveMN on GTMD is an entry to win those prizes.

What are some easy ways I can 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 (midnight to midnight), 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. (See Iron Audience FAQ below for more details.)

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. Contact butch at hugetheater dot com if you’re interested.

Donate! – Back one or more teams 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 Google, consider doing that.
Sincere, great reviews are among the most valuable gifts you can give.


FAQ FOR IMPROV PERFORMERS

How many performance slots are there, and how do I sign up?
There are approximately 42 timeslots available, about the same as last year.  The link to the form to request a performance time is: https://hugetheater.formstack.com/forms/iat19.

**registration does not guarantee a spot as an Iron Audience or in the schedule as a Performer – though we will do our best to accommodate requests**

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.

Is there a prize?
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 HUGE scarves.

Pro Tip: 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.

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 $500. 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 $100,000 or more for HUGE this year. (It sounds like a lot, but that’s about two 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.

Cool, I will renew my Membership that day for part of my fundraising goal!
Oh, gosh, you guys. Members and Memberships are ALWAYS very much appreciated but administering this has grown too complex to sustain. We’ve enacted a rule that memberships — while enormously appreciated — will not count toward Improvathon team goals nor will it count toward the final tally of what is raised during Improvathon.


FAQ for IRON AUDIENCE

Every year, around 11-25 people sign up to be Iron Audience contenders, which means they plan to stay awake to watch 24-hours of improv (midnight to midnight).

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 contender 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.

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

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 into work?
This is a low-pressure, low-stakes event where your health and peace of mind are top priority. For that reason, we reserve the right to discontinue any person’s participation in Iron Audience, including in concern for health, safety or comfort. If at any 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.

I’m uncomfortable with fundraising, but I want to be an Iron Audience contender. 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 sign up by November 5 and to commit to raising at least $100 for HUGE as part of the event. (Registration link is here: http://tinyurl.com/iat19iron.)

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 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.

I don’t see the answer to my question here – who can I contact?
Feel free to send questions to Sean at hugetheater dot com.

What were those registration links again?
Improv Performance Request: https://hugetheater.formstack.com/forms/iat19
Iron Audience Contender: http://tinyurl.com/iat19iron

NOTE: we seem to be having some trouble with the Iron Audience tinyurl. For now, please use this direct link instead:
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1R5Rtn0rTmxLQd0itNTc_s7R81FM_XTpubkOGC8wvSIw/edit

Who is in the chair?

This came to our by way of FairPlay with an ask that we make a statement in response :

“The [ directors ] that HUGE Theater hires for their shows to produce are seemingly missing the intersection in representation. While I applaud the number of non-male identified people they have hired to direct, they are aggressively white, and often will employ a POC female as an Assistant Director. This is not a good look and I don’t feel comfortable informing people of auditions there when there is no POC in leadership roles in the rehearsal rooms. Their diversity leader is looking more and more like a token as far as leadership at HUGE.”

OF NOTE: This came to us at a time when the Assistant Directors (which we certainly view as a leadership role) were still TBD and conversations are still in progress – we made sure to make this note a part of that conversation as well so there was full disclosure and no one would have to wonder if this was a factor

We have been talking to people of color about the director’s chair – Those we have spoken to for Throwback Night have either had schedule conflicts or don’t feel ready themselves.
Those we haven’t spoken to yet may not be on our radar yet as people we know to be interested or perhaps a better fit for another show in the future.

All that means is we are going to keep asking and working – the process isn’t just pushing a boulder up a hill, it’s pushing ten boulders up ten hills and we know we have a lot more to do and none of those boulders has moved as far as we’d like.

We have had some failures where in the rush to diversify, POC improvisors found themselves in less-than-optimal circumstances which is the opposite of the dream. We understand you’d rather we worked faster, so it’s ok if you don’t feel we’ve gotten far enough for you to send people our way, that comfort and trust is what we’re doing a lot of work to earn.

The truth is that you’re right – we’re not there yet.
If we were only doing it for good optics it would be so much easier, but we’re not.
We are hoping you will stick around, because what we are building has a solid foundation, with an eye on sustainability – and we want you to be part of it as well.

To anyone reading: if you feel like you personally have been overlooked for a director’s position at HUGE, please come speak to us, it is a conversation that cannot be had through blog posts

Thank you for calling it out!
Written/Posted by: Butch Roy
on behalf of the leadership team at HUGE

It’s the Annual Happy Hour with the Board of Directors!

Saturday, September 28th, 4:30-6:30pm | Free!

It’s the Annual Happy Hour with the Board of Directors!
Come have a soda or beer, and we will share all the latest news about HUGE and our future plans.

This is one of our favorite traditions and a very important way for us to hear from the people we serve as well as report to them how we are doing. This is a two-way sharing that makes HUGE better.

– Open House from 4:30-5pm – come see the space!

– Meeting from 5-6:30pm – You can come for all of it or just drop in when you can!

If you have questions you’d like the Board of Directors to answer during the Happy Hour, ask them using the link below (anonymously or non-anonymously …nononymously?) and we’ll answer them at the meeting!

https://goo.gl/forms/K6Gffd5AlwTqHOYs1

Board of Directors (Butch Roy, Jill Bernard, Nels Lennes, Robin Gillette, Adia Morris)
photographed by Adam Iverson

Auditions OPEN for Throwback Night 2020

We are excited to announce the auditions for Throwback 2020 running Fridays at 8p in January & February. This season’s forms are Cat’s Cradle, The Living Room and Deconstruction. Directors are Jill Bernard, Rita Boersma and Hannah Wydeven.

Use this form to request an audition for any/all of the following groups:

Cat’s Cradle – Directed by Jill Bernard: Assistant Director – TBD
Rehearsals :: Saturdays 1p-3p, Oct 26th – Dec 28th (no rehearsal Nov 30) and Friday Jan 3rd 6-7p
Deconstruction – Directed by Hannah Wydeven ; Assistant Director – TBD
Rehearsals :: Sundays Oct 20th & 27th, 4-6p and Wednesdays 7-9p, Nov 6th-Jan 1st (no rehearsal Dec 25)
Living Room – Directed by Rita Boersma ; Assistant Director – TBD
Rehearsals :: Saturdays 10a-12p Oct 26th-Dec 28th (no rehearsal Nov 30) and Sunday Dec 15th 1p-3p

AUDITION TIMES will be scheduled:
Saturday 10/5 from 10am-5:30pm
Wednesday 10/9 from 4pm-7pm
Options will be removed as time slots fill

PERFORMANCES
Throwback Night will run Fridays at 8pm in January and February at HUGE Theater

REHEARSALS
We tried to be as consistent as possible but space is limited at HUGE so there are a couple one-off times here and there. Please check to make sure you are able to make the scheduled rehearsal times for the show(s) you would like to audition for – rehearsals will run 8-10 weeks (approximately end October-early Jan with possible holiday breaks), cast are expected to miss no more than 2 rehearsals.

PAY
Each cast member is paid per show night they perform. Here is more information about HUGE’s payout model:
http://www.hugetheater.com/blog/2016/02/28/performer-payment-model/

Please email rita@hugetheater.com if you have any questions

If you cannot view this form, click here:

https://forms.gle/B8UzGHd1SJe9iSZ19

HUGE Show Proposal Form now OPEN!

It’s that tiiiiiime! The Show Proposal form is now open for the month of September. We will be accepting proposals through Sept. 30th, 2019. We schedule the majority of shows 6-8 months out, though we hold a few programming slots open to have greater flexibility to schedule 1-3 months out.

If you have any questions, please feel free to send them to rita@hugetheater.com. Can’t wait to see what you’re all scheming!

Thanks, as always, for considering HUGE as a potential venue for your show.

If you cannot see the form, please click here:

https://forms.gle/XD5tnebBc7ShyxmZ6

Family Dinner auditions now OPEN!

Family Dinner is holding auditions to add performers to the current cast. CLARIFICATION: Director Molly Ritchie has already cast some people. This would be supplementing that cast.

Please fill out this form to request an audition time for Family Dinner 2019- directed by the show’s creator, Molly Ritchie. Assistant Director: Kim Sigler

Back for its eighth holiday season at HUGE, Family Dinner is improv done in the genre of realism. An unscripted dramatic comedy in two acts about a family gathering for a holiday meal. Act One is the arrival, Act Two takes place at the table while eating REAL FOOD.

Thank you very much for your interest in Family Dinner 2019!

PERFORMANCES
Family Dinner will run Fridays and Saturdays, 8:00PM, Nov 1 – Dec 28 2019 at HUGE Improv Theater. You must be available for at least 6 shows. Scheduling will vary.

AUDITIONS
will be held at HUGE Theater. You will be notified of your scheduled time via email.
Sun. 9/1, 12:00 – 7:00 PM
Wed. 9/4, 4:00 – 7:00 PM

REHEARSALS
will be held at HUGE Theater (3037 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis)
Wednesdays 9/18 – 10/30, 6:00 – 8:00 PM, and
Mondays 10/21 & 10/28, 6:00 – 8:00 PM
You must be able to attend at least 7 of the 9 rehearsals to be considered for casting.

PAY
There is a $50 stipend paid per performance you are scheduled.

If you cannot see the form, please click this link:

https://forms.gle/YwGADUJs5GbYLLks5

Farewell, friend

Ian Welch – Improviser of the Year 2016

So often in this community, I hear people say “I don’t remember how we met” about someone that they find themselves close to – which is a tribute to the openness of the people in it and the trust and acceptance that prevails so often in these spaces. Very often the connections come fast and close without a great deal of effort needed and it’s easy to feel you’ve met people that are now a part of your life, which makes it all the more difficult when our community loses someone like Ian Welch.

I remember seeing Ian’s first show in the Improv A Go Go – it was a solo improvised spooky horror genre piece and Ian was clearly nervous but never backed away from the vision he was going for and never rushed through it – I was struck by how bold it was for a new performer and how patient it was, surely rooted in the style that Ian clearly enjoyed.
It was weird, it was quiet, it was brave and it was different than anything else on stage that night.

It was the experience that stands out when I think about Ian.
Ian was as generous and genuine off stage as he was on stage – always curious and interested in what others were creating and learning from everyone around him – as well as being a thoughtful and adventurous creator who was always willing to share his next idea or recommend a book or just quietly share the space and listen.

He was always eager to learn from artists around him and brought his unique voice to every project, which is why it is no surprise that we’ve heard from so many people that got to perform with Ian, even for a short time or on a few occasions, letting us know what an impact he had on them.

What Ian brought to the stage – or to any room he was in – stirred the people around him
The moments and laughter he was part of were that much better because of him.
His sudden loss leaves a great space and sadness that touches everyone around us.

We will miss you, Ian
Thank you for these beautiful memories you left with us.

– Butch Roy
On behalf of the Board and leadership at HUGE