A brief history of the Throwback forms for 2018

Improv is, by definition, unscripted. The mechanics, devices and aesthetic that help a performance hang together are called the “form”. Every year we celebrate some classic forms from the 80s and 90s as part of our Throwback Night, Fridays at 8pm in January and February.

This year features Close Quarters, the Armando, and the Harold.

Close Quarters debuted at Second City ETC in 1997. Formed by Peter Gwinn and directed by Noah Gregoropoulos. It explores scenes with heightened characters that exist more or less simultaneously in adjacent spaces.

The Armando form grew out of an ImprovOlympic Chicago show that started in 1995. Created by Adam McKay and Dave Koechner and directed by the legendary director/teacher Del Close, the form involves scenes inspired by a monologist, originally improvisor Armando Diaz himself.

The Harold is the original long form, created by The Committee in San Francisco in the 1960s and honed at iO Theater in Chicago in the 1980s as a collaboration between Del Close and Charna Halpern. It weaves together three threads into a single piece.

If you would like to nerd out further, The Improv Resource Wiki has extensive descriptions of many forms here:

A note from the cast of Show X!

Show X was founded in 2010 by Eric Knobel, M Ritchie and Andy Kuhlmann of the legendary improv group Splendid Things. It was an opportunity to bring together improvisors who admired each others’ work but never got to play together, drawn from Brave New Workshop, ComedySportz and the then-itinerant HUGE Theater. The show was on Monday nights to accommodate the schedules of working improvisors. The original cast was Lauren Anderson, Jill Bernard, Fred Beukema, Joe Bozic, Mike Fotis, Eric Knobel, Andy Kuhlmann, Nels Lennes, M Ritchie and Butch Roy.

In the years since, through no fault of our own, the show has been touted as “The Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young” of local improv, “a bona fide supergroup”, an “all-star squad” and “the best of the best”, “venerable” and “impactful”. The show moved from the Bryant Lake Bowl to HUGE Theater when it opened in December 2010. In 2013, Eric Knobel passed over production of the show to HUGE Theater, without noticeable changes to the show format.

As the years went by the cast lineup had to shift. Many of us started families, moved away, or cultivated more demanding careers. We added improvisors who had a combination of many years of experience, solid improv chops, high visibility and great personalities. The current cast includes: Lauren Anderson, Jill Bernard, Rita Boersma, Tim Hellendrung, Katy Kessler, James Rone, Butch Roy, Taj Ruler, Jen Scott and Hannah Wydeven.

The cast of Show X are working professional improvisors, teachers and directors who are on the lookout for improvisors who match the spirit and demands of the show. Once a year the cast makes nominations for new members. Some years we add no one, this year we’ve added four people.

We are pleased to announce our new cast members: Alexis Camille, Gubby Kubik and Heather Meyer will start in October and November and Lupe Muraszewski will be joining us in 2019.

In addition we would like to express gratitude to our Show X Emeritus – performers who are no longer active cast members, but are always part of the Show X family: Joe Bozic, Fred Beukema, Joshua Eakright, Mike Fotis, Dan Hetzel, Andy Hilbrands, Eric Knobel, Andy Kuhlmann, Nels Lennes, Aric McKeown, M Ritchie, and Troy Zimmerman. You may still see them when they drop by to visit.

Show X was born out of a desire for veteran improvisors to come together in a weekly showcase, and it continues as a beacon of improvisational theater. A beacon, in literal terms, is a fire or light set in a highly visible place as a warning, signal, or celebration. The warning we offer is that you might start improvising with your friends in your twenties and find that you never stop. We signal that improvisational theater can be consistently high quality and being “made up” is not an excuse, but rather a strength. And we celebrate the art of being joyful and goofy, while at the same time truthful and compassionate.  We try to provide light on a night when other theaters are dark.

This is your standing invitation. Come join us, any Monday at 8pm, $8, HUGE Theater.

AUDITIONS: Family Dinner 2018

Family Dinner is holding auditions!

Please fill out the form below to request an audition time for Family Dinner 2018 – directed by Rita Boersma

Family Dinner, created by M Ritchie and now in its 7th year at HUGE, is improvised realism. An unscripted dramatic comedy in two acts about a family gathering for a holiday meal. Act One is the arrival and Act Two takes place at the dinner table sharing REAL FOOD.

Family Dinner will run Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm in November and December at HUGE Improv Theater
You must be able to make at least 6 of the shows.

AUDITION times will be scheduled:
Saturday 9/22, 10am-1pm & 4pm-7:30pm
Monday 9/24, 5-7pm

You must be able to attend at least 4 of the 5 rehearsal times:
Sunday 9/30, 1-3pm
Saturday 10/6, 1-3pm
Saturday 10/13, 1-3pm
Saturday 10/20, 1-3pm
Saturday 10/27, 1-3pm

If you do not see the form below – CLICK HERE

Job Posting: Managing Director (Part-Time)

Application deadline: September 29, 2018
Start date: Negotiable, targeting November 2018
To apply: Send your resume, your ideal number of hours (between 20-30/week), and a cover letter to


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).

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

HUGE Theater was started in 2005 by five improvisers: Butch Roy, Jill Bernard, Joe Bozic, Mike Fotis, and Nels Lennes. HUGE incorporated as a non-profit in 2009 and found a permanent space in the Lyn-Lake neighborhood of Minneapolis in 2010. Our 2018 budget is $600,000.

Improv is theater for everybody. The raw material of improvisation is the honest expressions, experiences and passions of the performers and audience. It’s immediate theater.

Long form improvisation is the art of creating performances that are unscripted. It is different than playing improvised “games” or improvising within a scripted piece. HUGE gives long form improvisation – and the people who enjoy performing and watching it – a stage.


The managing director creates and sustains community relationships, writes and manages grants, leads human resources, develops and maintains systems and infrastructure, and coordinates board meetings. The managing director acts in the capacity of executive director in their absence.


Fundraising, Community Building and Special Events
As part of fundraising, meaningfully engage the improv community in HUGE’s work and mission, and make sure our organization’s gratitude is fully expressed. Examples of fundraising include the annual 28-hour Improvathon (timed to coincide with GiveMN’s Give to the Max Day) and the monthly-donation based Member Program.

*Manage grant calendar, track deadlines for proposals and reports, and work with executive director and other staff to write and submit proposals.

*Ensure systems of evaluation and data tracking are in place, and that accurate financial and programming data is available for reporting.

Financial Management
*Lead the annual budgeting process, assisting the management team and other staff with the strategy and creation of budget.

*Monitor monthly financials closely, charting progress and identifying trends as well as potential issues and opportunities.

*Communicate with the Board Treasurer to develop financial strategy and policies.

*Work with the independent bookkeeper to verify coding and to produce monthly financial reports.

Human Resources
*Assist in the hiring process by interviewing all potential new employees, including house managers and bartenders.

*Manage staff benefits, including health insurance

*Support the program coordinator and bar manager in training new staff, as needed

*Document and investigate allegations of harassment and coordinate necessary remedies as appropriate

*Work with legal experts and with staff, draft policies and procedures that protect staff, performers, and students

*Create enticing rental packages, negotiate contracts and line up staffing, performances (as applicable) and logistical support.

Board Support and Administrative Responsibilities
*Provide financial reports for Board meeting

*Work with the external bookkeeping service and the Board Treasurer, prepare annual 990 filing, including accurate statistical data on program

*Oversee the development, implementation and ongoing improvement of administrative systems and processes, including (but not limited to) staff policies/procedures and evaluation processes/procedures

*Documentation of processes, manuals, and guides (as needed)

*Experience in managing events and projects, supervising staff, and developing and adhering to budgets.

*Attention to detail, accuracy.

*Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills. Engagement and understanding of the improv community a must. Practicing artist preferred.

*Ability to handle multiple demands.

*Demonstrated ability to follow through on commitments and to meet deadlines.

*Willingness and ability to learn and grow to meet the changing requirements of the job.

*Interest in creating and managing systems to meet the needs of a highly innovative, entrepreneurial and creative organization.

*A minimum of 3 years experience in nonprofit or project management required. The ideal candidate will also have experience building and managing databases.

When someone is banned from HUGE for sexual harassment or assault

We have been asked by our colleagues at FairPlay MN to speak about when someone is banned from the theater for sexual harassment or assault.  First we would like to explain that the management team of HUGE Theater is not a court of law, we have never banned someone as a punishment. That is outside our scope. In the few instances when we have banned someone, it has been to protect their victims, protect potential victims, and to reclaim our space as a safe place.  

Our protocol for sexual harassment investigations ends with various possible outcomes. We first take into account the wishes of the known victims as to the outcome that would be best for them. Then we consider what would make sense to protect our community.

When we first began sexual harassment investigations a couple of years ago, there were cases in which we banned someone for a limited amount of time – the logic was in some cases a person needs a window of time to examine their behavior and do some research and education, and their victims need some space.  When the ban expires the individual would be free to submit shows to HUGE, attend shows, perform as part of a cast, or audition for shows. The report we took in these cases had a list of people with whom we would never cast them, or put together in an audition group. In all honesty, although we do not want to rule it out because there may be cases where it is the victim’s preferred solution, we do not know if we would consider a limited time ban again, for the logical questions that it raises: how do you measure if someone is no longer a risk, and how do you notify anonymous reporters that the ban has expired so they may see that person at HUGE again?

We have permanently banned very few individuals. Whether it is a permanent ban or a limited ban, the community is not notified of the ban. It is our job to make sure the ban is enforced, we would never put that work on community members. We alert the front of house staff, the house managers and staff. We also have alerted directors, casts and team members who had active shows which would require either recasting or cancelation.

We are always working to make HUGE an even safer space where creativity and artistic expression can thrive. Please let us know if you have any questions or if there is anything you suggest we do to further this mission. My email is and the anonymous feedback form is on the bottom of the contact page if you click the link above. 


HUGE Theater Happy Hour with the Board 2018

Hey everyone – we had a really wonderful Annual Happy Hour with the Board on Thursday August 16th. I didn’t take any notes on it because I was still reeling from Molly Chase‘s resignation earlier in the day. Molly is a beloved colleague. I admire her as a compassionate advocate and one hell of a sharp cookie. These years working alongside her have been an irreplaceable education, I am so grateful to her. It was difficult enough to get through the presentation, I didn’t have it in me to be the scribe you deserve, apologies.

I can, however, provide the slides containing ticket sales, financial information and education statistics for you to read: Happy Hour 2018 Board slides

Adia Morris opened the meeting with a recorded message to everyone!

If you have any questions, I will do my best to answer them. You can email me at We also have an anonymous contact form, please scroll down on our contact us page.

Thank you, friends

Dear friends of HUGE,

I am posting to let you know that I am resigning as managing director and from the board of HUGE Improv Theater. My last day will be Sunday, September 2, 2018. While my heart is willing to keep going forever, I need a rest from the schedule and responsibility that comes with this important work. It’s time to give someone else a chance to make their mark and to help guide HUGE through its next chapter.

I first walked through HUGE’s doors in March 2011, three days after I arrived in Minneapolis. I started as managing director a few months later, about six months after HUGE opened.

In an earlier draft of this post I tried to mention some key moments, but it’s overwhelming. It’s maybe enough to say what you probably already know: HUGE has been repeatedly saved and sustained by the involvement and support of its community, that HUGE is where we instinctively gather when terrible things happen, that HUGE is where people come when they need respite from hate, that HUGE offers a creative home that encourages people to recognize improv as art and themselves as artists.  

It would be hard to overstate how essential HUGE has been to my life here, to my work and growth as an artist, and for introducing me to the incredible people of the Twin Cities improv community.

I thank you so much for being a big part of my life the last seven years. I encourage you to give some extra support to those working to make our community an inclusive and safe space. It’s some of the hardest work there is. Financial spreadsheets are easy; creating a space that’s a haven from toxic masculinity, sexism, racism and hatred is hard. The great news is, everyone can help shoulder the load. We can participate in Fair Play public meetings, engage with diversity and inclusion forums like Our Cities, Our Stages, and we can all take responsibility for educating and challenging ourselves.

I truly appreciate the opportunity to have worked at HUGE, and I’ll still be around regularly in my capacity as a performer and teacher. I look forward to see y’all there.

All my best,

p.s. I will not be able to attend the Open House/Meeting at HUGE – there is 0% chance I could make it through without being a total mess – but I have put some slides together and I know it will be a great meeting, as always.

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.

EDIT: POSITION FILLED Job Posting: Artistic Director




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


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).


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


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.



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.



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


  • 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.