Today we’re remembering Samantha Pereira. Samantha was a HUGE teacher, performer, director who passed away in December 2015. If you never had the good fortune to meet her, you can read about her here in the Star Tribune.
It seems impossible that almost two years have gone by. At HUGE Theater, we feel Samantha’s absence powerfully, especially the first Sunday of every new class session or when we glance up at Samantha’s photo on our theater wall. One of our classrooms is dedicated to Samantha with a plaque we thought she’d find most fitting: The Improv Jedi Training Center.
This year HUGE Theater is making a donation to Puerto Rico hurricane relief in Samantha’s honor.
Love for Samantha expresses itself in lots of ways. Her former students, Erik Nielsen and Gubby Kubik (pictured here, during Improvathon), have honored her for two years in a row by dedicating their Iron Audience participation to Samantha, who herself was an Iron Audience participant, which requires staying awake and watching 28-hours of improv as part of HUGE’s annual Improvathon fundraising event. Samantha is pictured on the left, in 2014. She not only completed 28-hours of watching improv, but was the group’s cheerleader and champion.
Both Gubby and another former student, Liv Augusta Anderson — pictured here with her tattoo and class certificate inspiration — have gotten a tattoo inspired by Samantha. As Liv says, the tattoo has brought “a bit of Samantha to my arm. It doesn’t make me miss her any less, but it’s nice to literally put my heart on my sleeve.”
(As I type this, I realize that all three of these former students of Samantha have become improv teachers now. I can’t help but think Samantha would be proud.)
Samantha Pereira Scholars
Samantha had a special interest in making improv available to everyone. Each semester since her loss, we have named a Samantha Pereira Scholar: someone who is a scholarship recipient of exceptional merit. The following people are just the sort of students Samantha would have cherished.
Winter 2016 – Allison Dahlberg
Spring 2016 – William Sobolwski
Fall 2016 – Shauna Madison
Winter 2017 – Mawrgyn Roper
Spring 2017 – Jada Pulley
Fall 2017 – Mairead Koehler