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HUGE Theater announces new Artistic Director

HUGE Improv Theater is thrilled to announce that our new Artistic Director is Rita Boersma.

Rita has been part of the Twin Cities theater community for 16 years, as an improviser, actor, storyteller, teacher, writer and director. Rita is a 15-year ComedySportz veteran who also has been a writer and performer in the MN Fringe Festival for the past six years. At HUGE, she is a performer in The Mess and Show X and over a dozen other productions including Family Dinner, Off Book, Ka-baam!!, Beatbox and The Show. As a director of long-form improv, she most recently helmed Attenborough, the 2017 season of Family Dinner, the 2016 season of Neutrino, and she was a co-director of Party Riot. Rita has extensive show production experience and is also one of HUGE’s most highly-rated teachers.

Rita has worked in the non-profit sector for ten years: coaching speakers, training staff and developing programs. While at nonprofit Youth Frontiers, she was a trusted mentor who fostered the creative process and encouraged the growth of individuals as well as the organization. Rita’s background also includes video production; she uses her sharp sense of story and her ability to move people to communicate her clients’ message with humor and heart.

Rita will begin her work as Artistic Director in mid-August. Part of her vision for her new role is: “to seek out innovative ways to get new faces and new types of shows on stage, to further HUGE’s vision of artistic excellence, and to push the potential of this incredible art form.”

Please join us in welcoming Rita to HUGE!

Additionally, we want everyone to know that announcing Rita as our new Artistic Director concludes an incredible search. We at HUGE were blown away by the resumes and cover letters we received, locally, nationally, and one from the UK. Narrowing the field to four finalists was a difficult task, and we found the finalist interviews for this position were inspiring and exciting. From this experience, we are heartened that the health of the Twin Cities improv community is strong and the bench of talent is deep. We are so grateful to all of the applicants, and we are enormously grateful for this community.

Job Posting: Artistic Director

ARTISTIC DIRECTOR : HUGE Improv Theater

Job Posting

Application deadline: June 28, 2018
Start date: Negotiable, targeting August 2018
To apply: Send your resume, your ideal number of hours (between 20-30/week), and a cover letter to jobs@hugetheater.com

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Hours: 20-30 hours/week (some evenings and weekends are required)
Compensation: Salaried employee, per year earns: from $21,500 (for 20 hours/week) to a maximum of $32,250 (for 30 hours/week)
Other benefits: Results-oriented work environment (flexible hours), free parking. At 30 hours per week, employees receive stipend for health care premiums (currently set at $300/month).

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HUGE Improv Theater (HUGE) is an artist-led non-profit dedicated to supporting the Twin Cities improv community through performance and education.

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HUGE’s artistic director is responsible for shaping, communicating and implementing the artistic vision of HUGE, for the continued development of performers at HUGE, and for major decisions regarding the hire and ongoing professional development of artistic staff. This role is part of the management/operations team, along with the executive director, director of education, and managing director; and is accountable to the management/operations team and reports to the executive director.

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ABOUT ARTISTIC DIRECTION AT HUGE THEATER

HUGE’s vision is to continue the development of the art form of longform improv, and to foster diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our work. We do not constrain our programming to a particular style of longform improv. Instead we seek to showcase a variety of styles that demonstrate excellence in performance; for example, we celebrate foundational forms of improv and we encourage experimentation.

Another important aspect of HUGE’s organizational philosophy is that there should be a clear path to the stage: for students to transition into performers, and performers to continually develop as artists and artistic leaders.

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RESPONSIBILITIES

Big Picture

  • Align artistic programming with HUGE’s mission, and support artistic excellence
  • Articulate HUGE’s artistic vision and represent the theater
  • Influence theater direction and management as part of the management/operations team
  • Contribute time, talent and general support for HUGE’s fundraising efforts
  • Foster working relationships and familiarity with the Twin Cities improv community, which is at the heart of all we do

Show development and scheduling

Currently, approximately 30% of shows on our stage are produced by HUGE directly, while the remaining 70% of shows are produced independently.

For shows produced by HUGE:

  • Direct 1 to 3 shows a year
  • Hire and supervise directors and assistant directors
  • Oversee auditions and continue to refine audition process for all HUGE-produced shows

For independently produced shows:

  • Oversee, promote, and refine the show submission process
  • Communicate and coordinate with independent directors and producers regarding artistic decisions
  • Program show schedule
  • Provide guidance on audition and rehearsal best practices

Evaluation and feedback

  • Provide artistic evaluation and feedback for HUGE Wednesdays shows and all weekend shows by: attending a minimum of two performances during their run, monitoring and assessing quality, and providing formal feedback to show producers and directors and/or cast that includes recommendations for potential next steps.
  • Work with program coordinator to gather online feedback from evaluation form that goes to all casts, directors and assistant directors; targeting an 80% minimum participation rate. Include this information in feedback given to the shows’ director (and assistant director and/or producer, as applicable). Meet with Directors (and Assistant Directors) to discuss.

Program Development

  • Interface with Director of Diversity and Inclusion to develop continued progress in the areas of diversity and inclusion on HUGE’s stage
  • Oversee and continue to develop the Assistant Director Program. Formally create a description of purpose, path, expectations, evaluation and feedback
  • Create avenues for artistic and professional development of directors. Formally create a description of purpose, path, expectations, evaluation and feedback
  • Expand show pipeline and evaluation process and communication with an eye on transparency and timeliness
  • Develop new shows and programs in alignment with HUGE’s mission

Logistics and communication

  • Communicate show selection and coordinate scheduling with producers and directors
  • Announce show selection and schedule with public
  • Schedule auditions and callbacks (as applicable) in coordination with program coordinator
  • Ensure that safety standards and boundary check-in practices are known and followed
  • Be the general artistic point of contact for HUGE, for example manage artistic queries regarding licensing shows, or general inquiries from theaters, festivals, and show producers

REQUIRED EXPERIENCE:

  • 7+ years professional improv experience
  • 3+ years experience teaching and directing improv, with an emphasis on longform
  • Must demonstrate effective management skills that align with artistic values and HUGE’s mission and values
  • Strong organizational, oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and manage multiple projects and deadlines
  • Ability to lead others
  • Strong supporter of artists and students, including fostering a safe and inclusive environment.

The ideal candidate will also have experience in nonprofit management.


 

Glossary of terms

Because of the changing nature of improv groups and productions, it’s useful to clarify the terms as HUGE is using them:

Show:  Any production proposed and/or booked at HUGE
Group : May be a set cast (i.e. The Mess) or may be a production entity that assembles a cast for a run of show.
Producer:  Person responsible for production support on the show side – may include all aspects of the group’s responsibilities outside of the artistic direction of show content, i.e. scheduling rehearsals, point of contact for logistics for both cast and venue, etc.
Director:  Person responsible for the quality and content of what is performed on stage – point of contact with venue for matters of artistic vision and quality as well as any issues,  concerns and feedback involving the cast.
Assistant Director: Responsible for working with the director to co-create and communicate the vision for the show with the cast through rehearsals and notes.

 

Big changes at HUGE Theater 

Nels Lennes has announced he has decided to step down as Artistic Director of HUGE Improv Theater to prioritize his family. He will continue to serve on the Board of Directors of HUGE. Nels said, “As a founder of HUGE, I still feel my input and contributions to be valuable, and the responsibilities of a board member would suit me more than both board member and staff.”

We are grateful to Nels’ work as a founder, board member, and Artistic Director of HUGE Theater since its founding in 2009. Nels got his start in Twin Cities improv in 1995, and went on to train at The Groundlings, Annoyance Theater, and The Upright Citizens Brigade before coming back to Minnesota to perform in and direct dozens of shows and train hundreds of improvisors.

HUGE will announce information about a search for the new Artistic Director shortly. Meanwhile, we extend our thanks to Nels for his foundational work and contributions to the Twin Cities improv community.

Twin Cities Improv Festival Workshops!

The Twin Cities Improv Festival is an annual celebration of the best of improvisation. The 2018 festival features workshops from nationally-known instructors on Saturday June 23. Scholarships are available! Please CLICK HERE


PRICES
Individuals: $60 per class
TCIF performers: $50 per class

There are opportunities to study with Tara DeFrancisco and Rance Rizzutto (Here)!
and/or Pepper Barry and Laura Eichorn (Virginia Slims)!
and/or Rich Baker and Rolland Lopez (Rollin’ in Riches)!

TCIF workshops are not suitable for absolute beginners – and all workshops are 18+

Register now – These will sell out. 


SATURDAY, JUNE 23RD:  10-1PM

Improv Rehab with Rance Rizzutto (HERE)

Looking to get out of your head, create richer environments and stay connected to your group while improvising? Every improviser picks up a bad habit or two along their journey. Improv Rehab targets the big ones and keeps the entire group actively participating throughout


SATURDAY, JUNE 23RD:  10-1PM

Play the RiR way! (Rollin’ In Riches) 

Cut-to’s, tag-outs, time dashes…Rollin’ in Riches has these often (but not always!) in their shows! We get asked a lot about it…how do we know when to do it? How do we know WHAT the move is? When one person makes a move, how do we know it’s a new move and how do we know what they’re intending? In this workshop, we teach how we go about doing these things when we play!


SATURDAY, JUNE 23RD:  10-1PM

My Status, My Choice with Tara DeFrancisco (HERE)

“No one can make you inferior without your consent.” Improvisation tells us to say yes to things, but creative yeses help us avoid traps of low-status or being pigeon-holed. You make choices, you don’t have your right to choices made! Let’s laugh and do the unexpected. (Female-identifying and non-binary players encouraged, but all are welcome.)


SATURDAY, JUNE 23RD:  2-5PM

Your Show from the Top Down with Pepper Berry (Virginia Slims)

This unique workshop focuses not just on scene work but on your show as a whole. Your show has a beginning and end so it has structure, it slows down and it speeds up so it has a tempo, it can have an emotional through line or a narrative. There are so many things to do with it other than a mixed bag of random scenes leading to a blackout. Whether you come to this workshop with your teammates or individually we will explore how to make your shows unpredictable to your audience, your teammates and YOU through variety, effective action, character choice and most importantly communication with your teammates through those choices. This ain’t your average workshop. I’ve flipped it on its head so don’t expect to be sitting down half the time, come to play hard!


SATURDAY, JUNE 23RD:  2-5PM

POV: Passion, Originality, Voice. with Laura Eichhorn (Virginia Slims)

Why just BE in the scene when you can LIVE in the scene? It’s all about specificity of POV. Laura delves into what makes your characters tick and will help you get laughs using their honest and unique wants and needs. Learn how to quickly find your character’s point of view and stick the fuck to it.


INSTRUCTOR BIOS

Tara DeFrancisco (Here) was awarded “Funniest Person in Chicago” by the Free Press, “30 Under 30” in the Windy City Times, and “25 Funniest Females 2009” in Curve Magazine for her ventures in stand up, sketch, and improv. She teaches improv courses and workshops to people of all ages and backgrounds across this nation, and that’s about the most rewarding thing ever – traveling to elementary and high schools, colleges, and offices all over the country as both an introductory instructor and a professional Comedy Consultant. Tara has taught for all ComedySportz, iO, and Second City in Chicago, both in-house and on location. Tara is a 3-year veteran of Second City Touring Company, a decorated ComedySportz 3-time MVP, and an iO teacher, coach, house performer, and enthusiast. There are no words for how very thankful she is.

Rance Rizzutto (Here) has performed, coached and taught improv for years. Long-form with iO Chicago (Chaos Theory) and other various independent groups. Short-form with ComedySportz and Second City Theatricals (aboard NCL ships). Musical and hip-hop/rap with The Deltones, Baby Wants Candy, and The Beatbox. Even silent improv in The Silent Treatment. Rance has coached and designed team building and provided services for Intel, Nike, AT&T, Wells Fargo, IBM, Hewlett Packard and more. He’s even done improv all over the world, mostly in Here, a two person musical with Tara DeFrancisco herself! He is also known for his photography, hypnotism, and hosting.


 

Rich Baker (Rollin’ In Riches) has been improvising since May of 1999 and  began teaching in 2005. Since then he has been a faculty member for Second City Chicago, Second City Hollywood, Westside Comedy Theatre, ComedySportz Chicago and The Comedy Shrine.

Rolland Lopex (Rollin’ In Riches) is a student, teacher, player, coach. Short-form enthusiast, long-form lover.
“I didn’t know I was gonna fall in love with this art form but I love the moments that occur when you don’t know what you’re about to do and say.”


 

Laura Eichorn (Virginia Slims) grew up in Portland, Oregon, where she started acting as a wee sprite. She moved to New York at the age of eighteen and got her BFA in acting from Marymount Manhattan College.

In New York, Laura worked as a model, making the cover of two magazines… and over twenty covers of cheesy romance novels. She continued working as a model when she moved to Los Angeles, until she discovered that doing comedy was much more interesting and fun. (Even more fun than posing with a hunky guy while wearing an old timey wedding dress.)

Laura is a graduate of The Second City Conservatory and Long Form Program as well as iO West and spends most of her time writing and performing.

Pepper Barry (Virginia Slims)  –  After a brief stint at stand up in Texas, Pepper Berry moved to L.A. to be a screenwriter and then fell into music where he spent 15 years playing in bands around the Los Angeles punk scene, touring the United States and recording albums with either his old band Buck or his current band Bobot Adrenaline.

Being a fan of SCTV he began studying at The Second City Hollywood where he quickly fell in love with improv. He is a graduate of The Second City’s Conservatory and Long form programs, iO West, UCB, The Nerdist, Comedy Sportz, The Second City Directing Program as well as studying at the Groundlings. Besides Virginia Slims, Pepper is a cast member of The Second City Hollywood’s long running The Really Awesome Improv Show as well as a past member of The Second City House Ensemble, the iO Honor Roll team. He has played on iO Harold teams B-Side and (nebraska), and can be seen on the Nerdist House team Aeroplane. He is currently a teacher and director at The Second City Hollywood.

Between the two of them Laura and Pepper are grads of or have studied at The Second City Hollywood, Upright Citizen Brigade, iO West, Comedy Sportz, The Nerdist, and the Groundlings. They are ridiculous improv nerds at heart and available to teach workshops at your festival as well.

 

AUDITION NOTICE: Creature Feature & Ka-Baam!!

We are holding JOINT audition times for two shows coming to HUGE this Fall: Creature Feature and Ka-Baam!

YES – you may absolutely audition for both of the shows listed!

We will collect responses and send audition schedules as quickly as possible – rehearsal and performance schedules are listed below

KaBaam!! the improvised comic book:  
director: MJ Marsh
assistant director: Emily Lindholm

Creature Feature
director: Meghan Wolff
assistant director: TBA


The Details

AUDITION TIMES will be scheduled:
Saturday 6/9 – 10am-6pm
Monday 6/11 – 4pm-7:30pm
Callbacks will be held Friday 6/15 and Saturday 6/17 from 5pm-7pm if needed to see more of your skills.

PERFORMANCES
Creature Feature – Sept/Oct on Fridays at 8pm
KaBaam!! – Sept/Oct on Saturdays at 8pm

REHEARSALS
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, cast are expected to miss no more than 2 rehearsals.

Creature Feature – Thursdays 7-9pm

Ka-Baam!! – Sundays 6-9pm


CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR AUDITIONS

If you have any questions about auditions or casting – please email Butch@hugetheater.com

 

2018 Hangout Auction Winners

Thank you again the incredible members of the Twin Cities improv community for putting together another amazing Hangout Auction to support our weird little home!

The Hangout Auction Winners:

– Play and drink with outOFcontext!  ::  Craig Corsi
– Dog walking with Kristen Ragnacci!  ::  Jill Bernard
– Learn woodworking with Chad Anderson!  ::  Natalie Little
– Dinner with your parents…and John Gebretatose!  ::  Bree Dalager
– Photos with Adam Iverson!  ::  Andy Christian
– Lunch with Ship Scavengers!  ::  Sean Dillon
– Your own episode of Next at Bat!  ::  Eric Heiberg
Hangout for the Anxious Introvert with Katy Kessler!  ::  Erik Ostrom
– Be the Dally with DillyDallHaus!  ::  Craig Corsi
– Personal Record Store Day with Ian Fish Man!   ::   Michael Fotis
– Be a guest on the Food Scientists Podcast!  ::  Sandra CarterSmith
– Hug David Lipkin!  ::  Bree Dalager
– Cross Stitch and Bad Movies with Squash Banana!  ::  Ariel Lopez
– Dinner with Robin Gillette!  ::  Heather Meyer
– Cody Narrates the Audience in Song Takes You to The Biggest Ball of Twine in MN!  ::  Erin Kennedy
– National Day of Improv with Nathan Kelly!  ::  Bryan Pierce
– Mini Golf, Art and Ice Cream with Two, Too (in Tutus too?)!  ::  Heather Baldwin
– Lift Weights with Hannah Wydeven!  ::  Jill Bernard
– Duo with Jill Bernard – LOCAL BIDS ONLY!  ::  Amy Zajack
– Duo with Jill Bernard – OUT-OF-TOWN BIDS ONLY!  ::  Eric Caldwell
– Pastry Tasting with Shea!  ::  Michael Hanson
– Custom Puzzle Room with Craig Corsi (1 of 2: Cooking Theme)!  ::  Bree Dalager
– Custom Puzzle Room with Craig Corsi (2 of 2: Technology Theme)!  ::  Heather Baldwin
– Dune board game day with Adam and Mookie!  ::  Breanna Cecile
– Dune on LASERDISC with Colossal Park!  ::  Andy Christian
– Get puzzled with Jesters Comedy Improv!  ::  Danny Sussman
– An evening of karaoke with Lounge Lizzy!  ::  Mary Wright
– Watch Bryce watch Rita watch Twisted!  ::  Jacob Scott
– Classic video game day with Bryce Kalal!  ::  Michael Deneen
– Loiter with jorts!  ::  Breanna Cecile
– Legos at the Science Museum with Subatomic Duck!  ::  Mary Wright
– Dinner and a Play with Heather Baldwin!  ::  Amy Burge
– HUGE Golden Ticket!  ::  Kristin Turnblom
– HUGE Golden Ticket!  ::  Ariel Lopez
– HUGE Golden Ticket!  ::  Afton Benson
– Food from India and movie night with BollyProv!  ::  Eric Heiberg
– Thrift shopping with Bree!  ::  Christopher Harrington
– Fiasco with the Frogs!  ::  Christopher Harrington
– Duo with DallaValle!  ::  John Bickford
– Second Breakfast with Second Breakfast!  ::  Danny Sussman
– Board Games with Jeff and Abe!  ::  Christopher Harrington

Thanks to everyone who fought and clawed and won – the Hangout Auction raised a grand total of $4296.40 to support HUGE Theater !

 

Class cancellation for Sunday 4/15

ATTENTION SUNDAY STUDENTS – We are cancelling all Sunday 4/15 classes and rescheduling for 6/17. Thank you for your understanding.

Your homework assignment for today is to do an improv scene with a snowperson….

Audition Schedule: Small College Town

April 14th

12:30 – 1:00 1:00 – 1:30 1:30 – 2:00 2:00 – 2:30 2:30 – 3:00
Joseph McGowan Michael Renner John Bickford Brianna Kocka Kelsey Dilts McGregor
Nikhil Enugula Sarah Busch Courtney Miller Brooke Fanning Ryan Klima
Kayleen Barlow Anna Marie Schmidt Mara Klocksien Emily Townswick Lars Midthun
Janay D. Henry Phil Schramm Marty Wessels Laura Hild Amelia Helm
Ryan Sanderson Andy Christian Monique Dargis Jack Rybarczyk Rebecca Patterson
James Satter Travis Galloway Pamela Mazzone Michael Aultman Shelby Schroeder
Christian Unser Vicky Nierengarten Ben Wagner Kya Fischer Siri Hellerman
Kim Lambert Edd Jones Lilly Rotter Laura Berger Valerie Hurst
Madhu Bangalore Ryan Blix Linda Saetre Michael Deneen

April 21st

12:30 – 1:00 1:00 – 1:30 1:30 – 2:00 2:00 – 2:30 2:30 – 3:00
Joseph Facente Will Schroeder Alicia Eler Cherelle-Renee Childs Ava Bird
Gabby Vanden Avond Ariel Starzinski Julietta Benson Danielle Heinert Matt Tatone
Erik Hoversten Brad Krieger Mike Koscielny Max Beyer Jack Kelly
Issabelle Allen Brid Henry Ally Rae Max Besner Jenny Wahl
Jeffrey Ross Amanda Schille Amee Nefzger Banks Peter Centner Kyle Dekker
Jesse David Burrows Chris Ragnacci Adam M Mellerup Tommy Feichtinger Sabrina Diehl
Justin Betancourt Cicely Robin Laing Dan Schwartz Tommy Caravello Vanessa Tu
Kristen Marks Cody Madison Eric Geistfeld Amy Zajack Vann Daley
Ernest Olhead Mike McCarron Erica Solomon Hope Slusar Joey Hamburger

AUDITION NOTICE: SMALL COLLEGE TOWN

– Last day for audition sign ups is April 5th
– Audition dates will be sent on April 8th

The producer has the right to end sign ups early if audition size reaches a
maximum point but will work to see as many people as possible

Small College Town is holding auditions for its run at HUGE Theater on Fridays
at 8:00pm in July and August.

Small College Town is an improv show inspired by the classic forms of Spoon
River and Small Town. By adding a fun, collegiate twist to it, the show will follow
four people who will go through the college experience, from application to
graduation. In tandem with four players who will play everyone else. A new and
unique college town and experience will be created every night. Structure and
fun will allow the cast to dive deep into a big life change with all the twists and
turns that college brings, up until that last day.

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Show run:  Fridays at 8:00pm, July/August at HUGE Theater
Auditions will take place at HUGE Theater in half-hour slots on the following
days:
–  Saturday April 14th – 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
–  Saturday, April 21st, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

*** Please arrive early to fill out audition form and conflict sheets. No headshot or
resume will be needed.
To schedule an audition please fill out this FORM

Rehearsal dates and times:
May 5th, 12th 19th, 26th, June 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th
11:00 am to 1:00 pm

May 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, June 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th, July 2nd
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

At the audition, you will be asked to notate conflicts that you have with any of the
rehearsal dates. It is possible to miss a few rehearsals however availability will
be factored into the casting decisions. If you have any questions regarding this,
please email dwbelin@gmail.com

Rehearsals will be at HUGE Theaters and other rehearsal spaces and where
rehearsals are located will be communicated to performers in a timely fashion.
At least 50% of the cast will be comprised of people who have not been
cast for Wednesday or Friday/Saturday shows that have been at HUGE. If
you are early in your improv career, this would be a great project to audition for.
If you have any questions, please email Denzel Belin at dwbelin@gmail.com
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This project is celebration of a classic form with a new twist. We shall learn from
the past and each other to create a fun and engaging team and performance.
At auditions, please bring a strong sense of play, support, and creativity.
Having familiarity with the college experience is not required; this show will
celebrate everyone’s experiences and what they can bring to the table.
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Small College Town will be produced and directed by Denzel Belin and assistant
directed by Mawrgyn Roper.

HUGE THEATER POC IMPROV JAM

The last Sunday of every month from 4-7pm

Improv is for everybody. In an effort to get more people of color aware and interested, HUGE Theater’s diversity officer John Gebretatose is hosting a POC improv jam. This is an opportunity to meet new people, to create, to play together and to help start a new era where people of color are represented more on stage.

All ages and free of charge, sandwiches provided.
Please come as you are, that’s more than enough.

Includes an introductory workshop on improv followed by some scenes on stage – participation is optional.
The POC improv jam is a relaxed and non intimidating event.

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.

Got questions? No problem, email John Gebretatose at john@hugetheater.com or visit the Facebook group.