Audition Notice: Attenborough

Casting for first run of “Attenborough: The Improvised Wildlife Documentary” at HUGE Improv Theater.
Improvisers with experience in (or comfort with) movement-based performance wanted for a long-form improv show based on BBC nature films. Performers will be portraying animals through movement and vocalization, as well as improvising dialogue as scientists, wildlife photographers, etc ***
Show runs Saturday nights at 10:30, September 3 – October 29 at HUGE
Rehearsals are Thursday nights 7:30-9:30, June 23 – September 1 (accommodating some breaks for Fringe).
Produced by Rita Boersma, Michael Ritchie, and Erin Sheppard.

Sunday, May 29; 4:30 – 6:30pm
Thursday, June 2; 6 – 8pm
HUGE Improv Theater: 3037 Lyndale Ave S. Mpls, MN 55408.
Please bring any known conflict dates for rehearsals and performances.
Please wear closed-toe shoes and come dressed for movement.

To schedule an audition please email Rita Boersma at no later than Friday, May 27 and indicate which audition date/dates you are available.

For all other questions please contact Michael Ritchie at MKLRITCHIE@GMAIL.COM.

*** Please note: This show has the potential to be very physical. Performers will be portraying animals for the most part and should be comfortable being in close contact with other performers, in addition to performing movement-driven scenes.

10th Annual Twin Cities Improv Festival Lineup Announced

TCIFX ::  June 22-26th, 2016 at HUGE Theater

** Full schedule will be posted May 23rd **

Tickets and multi-passes will be available online in June

3 For All
the Adventures of Tim Troy & Damian
Bad MammaJammas
Bearded Men Improv
Brave New Workshop
ComedySportz Twin Cities
Cross Weaving
Darby Lane
Drum Machine
Feel Good About Yourself Orchestra
Ferrari McSpeedy
Five Man Job
Gay/Straight Alliance
Juliet & Juliet
License To Krill
Mustache Rangers
Rated G
Second Wave Feminist Nightmare Enclave
Stevie Ray’s
The Mess
We Know Each Other
Where I Am Now

** Full schedule will be posted May 23rd **

Tickets and multi-passes will be available online in June – Members of HUGE Theater have early access to TCIF tickets…something to think about between now and this summer… Just sayin’

A Message from Five Man Job :: 

Making selections for the improv festival is always an incredible challenge for all the best reasons – really the same reasons we decided to produce the festival in the first place – the Twin Cities is so full of amazing performers and so many groups that we want to hold up for everyone to see each year. Far more, in fact, than we will ever be able to fit in one week or even one month of shows.

We always want this festival to be a great experience for the improv community in the Twin Cities, so for our tenth year we did something different by opening the process up for nominations rather than submissions and our returning headline groups represent performers and instructors that we are most frequently asked to bring back.

What we saw in the nomination form was a wonderful outpouring of mutual respect and admiration between artists in this community when people were nominating their favorite groups (and, since this is Minnesota, usually a humble apology when someone was nominating their own group for consideration) and really great testimonials from audiences and fans about their favorite groups.

As fans of the Twin Cities improv community it was inspiring to see the way we feel about it echoed back in great and loving detail.  As the people that had to trim the list from almost 100 nominations down to just twenty-two selections, it added insight and made the process somehow more challenging.

As festival producers, this is the greatest luxury imaginable – having so many grade A, top-shelf, solid gold performers and groups to invite – and it allows us to put together a festival lineup that is second to none.  The festival is our way of celebrating not only the names on the lineup but all the performers and groups that make the Twin Cities the BEST place to be an improviser, the easiest place to be a festival producer and the hardest place to be a member of the selection committee.

Thank you for all your talent and energy all year long and for allowing us to be your festival for the last ten summers – it is a tremendous honor and privilege that we intend to continue.

Thank you,

Butch, Lauren and Nels


Producers : Twin Cities Improv Festival

TCIF Workshops

TCIFX features an incredible line-up of some of the nation’s best improv teachers, favorites from over the past ten years of the festival.  Scholarships are available! Please contact

Individuals: $80 per class
TCIF performers: $60 per class
Weekday Hero: $120 for a Thursday and Friday class
Six-Pack: $360 for six classes

Thursday 6/23 6PM-8PM
Mark Sutton – Power Improv Characters register

This class is about creating and sustaining great characters that are not needy and dependent. Most improvisers give up power in their characters to help their partners and then hate what they’ve created for themselves. In this class you will discover ways to find whole, real and thoroughly entertaining characters that you can sustain over scenes and shows without losing power or momentum.
Friday 6/24 6PM-8PM – choice #1 Friday 6/24 6PM-8PM – choice #2
Joe Bill – Your Power Improv Toolkit register

The focus of this workshop will be bringing the power of emotional depth and point of view to your improvised Characters and Scenes. We’ll work with understanding the vital differences in Playing for Truth and Playing for Funny & Short Form/Games vs. Long Form. I’ll include personal feedback and ideas for things that you can play with, going forward as new tools on your improv tool belt. I’ll also spend some time troubleshooting issues that YOU the improvisers bring to workshop in order to get to clarity or just recognize patterns to be broken. This workshop will perfectly augment ongoing study of Characters and Scene, Long & Short Form Improvisation and Harold, as well as benefit the Improviser that is currently performing or aspiring to perform with a team or group.

Rafe Chase – Gaining Ground register

In an atmosphere that is both supportive and challenging, Rafe will help the individual players identify and explore areas on which to focus to facilitate their growth as an improviser.  
Saturday 6/25 10AM-1PM – choice #1 Saturday 6/25 10AM-1PM – choice #2
Matt Craig – Improv Diagnosis register

Discover what type of improviser you are using a simplified structure that will enable you to approach scene work in a whole new way. In this comprehensive workshop, we will categorize your strengths and weaknesses in a method that I have been developing for over ten years. You will leave this workshop able to identify yourself as either a proactive or reactive improviser, and why, and then be able to take away the positive and negative implications of both. After this workshop, participants will be able to pinpoint their strengths as an improviser, but also determine their weaknesses so that all who take it will become fully-rounded, unstoppable, improvising juggernauts.
Frank Caeti – Beyond the First Beat register

You have just performed the first couple scenes of your long form, now what? This class will focus on using scenes you have performed early in any long form structure to inspire new scenes and make strong connections. Students will learn techniques that go beyond just following plot and heighten the ideas you originally explored. Time-dash, analogous situation, theme, pattern recognition, character, location, game of scene, and following the fun – are all worthwhile threads to pursue for the second beat and beyond.

*recommended for intermediate to advanced improvisers

Saturday 6/25 2PM-5PM – choice #1 Saturday 6/25 2PM-5PM – choice #2 Saturday 6/25 2PM-5PM – choice #3
Frankenmatt – Creating the Ideal Scene Master Class register

The foundation of great improvisation is good scenes, but how often are we edited before the scene is complete? In this workshop we will focus on improvising two-person scenes utilizing emotion, character, and point of view. The ultimate goal of scenic improvisation is the discovery and manifestation of relationship. We will focus on helping participants learn how to create a complete scene, from beginning, middle, to end. In this comprehensive workshop, we will get you to capitalize on your choices early in a method called one idea, one comment then play the scene to the point of transformation or turn, and finally wrap up with a scenic resolve or at least a solid ending.

*recommended for intermediate to advanced improvisers

Stephen Kearin – Layers register

Improvise open scenes and then we’ll explore the various layers of the work; from Characters, Space Object, First Offers…even Sound! “Drill Down” and “Double Down” in this 3 hour intensive!
Matt Donnelly – History Philosophy Metaphor register

  Before moving a scene forward or focusing on heightening, Matt challenges you to do more with what you got before you invent more.Details, Specifics and Information are always needed for a good improv scene. This workshop teaches you HOW to create those scenic needs while creating enjoyable humor and sound theater as a side effects of generating the best details possible.Enriching your scenes with History Philosophy, Metaphor with allow for DOZENS of options for how to perform a great scene without getting boxed into uncomfortable situations where you’re in your head trying to figure out ONE way of doing the scene correctly.Tell stories, turn small choices into core character beliefs, express how you feel through a valid or flawed analogy and open up your scenes so that they inspire your form and fellow players while doing more with less.
Sunday 6/26 10AM-1PM – choice #1 Sunday 6/26 10AM-1PM – choice #2
Stephen Kearin – FWAAAP! POINK! KA-TAAANK! and Touching the Stone register

FWAAAP! POINK! KA-TAAANK!: Improvising Sound Effects. Unleash your inner machine gun with this introduction to the world of improvised sound effects. Come explore what you already know how to do.


TOUCHING THE STONE: Identifying and exploring First Offers. The very first offers in a scene can offer a shelter from the storm of ideas that overtake us as improvisers. Let “Learn To Return” become a valuable mantra and help you to travel lighter in your work.

Tim Orr – Love, Intimacy, Proximity and Sex (Physicality in Improv) register

Let’s get more love going on in our stories!    By being able to be more physical, we engage both ourselves and our audience on a visceral level. How do we become comfortable with being close to each other, and being physical with each other when appropriate to the scene or story?  We’ll look at some guidelines and techniques for engaging each other onstage.

Caution:  this class can get pretty steamy, so if you don’t like fire, stay out of the kitchen!

Sunday 6/26 2PM-5PM – choice #1 Sunday 6/26 2PM-5PM – choice #2
Rafe Chase – Acting in Longform register

Be “other people” and have their feelings as you explore the style and depth of acting needed to sustain an extended narrative.   Through exercises and longform scenes, Rafe will help you learn to inhabit the moment your character is living, while staying open to the joys and surprises that improv can bring.
Tim Orr – Silent Scenes register

Doing scenes with no talking (!) takes us into a realm of non-verbal communication which is both challenging and eye-opening.  How do we do it with clarity and commitment?  How do scenes build?  We need to pay attention and respond to each other in new and exciting ways.  Fun!

Joe Bill
Joe Bill has performed with, coached and directed a vast number of successful groups and formats including The Screw Puppies at Annoyance, The Del Tones, The Armando Diaz Theatrical Experience and Georgia Pacific (originators of The BAT) at iO Chicago. He directs and performs in Chica Go-Go and is a guest performer in The Scene at The PIT in New York City and he’s frequently a guest improviser in Let’s Have A Ball and ASSSSCAT 3000 at UCB Theater in New York & L.A. In 2015 Joe undertakes an International Tour of Improvisational Duo Shows, paired with some of the best Duo Improvisers in the World. In late January, Joe headlined with longtime friend and Chicago Improv Goddess Susan Messing in Messing With a Friend at the Miami Improv Festival. The rest of 2015 Joe plays with Lee White (CRUMBS Winnipeg) in their show PARADIGM, in the U.K. He’s back in April with longtime partner Mark Sutton in BASSPROV (2009 Nichols & May Award for Outstanding Improv Duo) at The Chicago Improv Festival after playing in Paris with International Improv Legend Patti Stiles (AD – Impro Melbourne) in their show Our Play and in the Festival Cast of Festival Subito!, including a new Duo with Israeli Powerhouse Inbal Lori in Brest, France. He’ll play with partner David Razowsky (Host A.D.D. Comedy Podcast) in Razowsky & Bill, and with Jill Bernard (Huge Improv Theater Mpls.) in SCRAM! and much more through the end of 2015. Joe was one of the co-founders of Annoyance Theater and has performed, directed, taught and acted as an Artistic Adviser for a number of Improvisation/Comedy Theaters & Festivals all over North America, Europe, Australia and South Africa and at every major Improv Festival in The United States. He first studied Improvisation in High School in 1977.

Frank Caeti
Frank Caeti is an actor, improviser, writer, and director. As a performer, his credits include MADtv, The Second City Chicago (Tourco and resident company alum), Key and Peele, iO Chicago, Reno 911, iO West, UCBLA, Just for Laughs Montreal, LA Jolla Playhouse, Kirk Douglas Theater, Dallas Theater Center, and CSz Chicago. He is also one half of the duo FrankenMatt and currently a faculty member at The Second City Hollywood. Currently he performs with at UCB with the house Harold team Zoo Zoo and in The Armando Show ai iO West. He has directed many shows including the hit shows at Second City Hollywood called Undateable and Ithamar Has Nothing To Say, both of which Matt Craig called a directorial tour de forces. Frank has taught improv for ComedySportz and Second City in Chicago and Las Vegas. He has led workshops in dozens of cities including Denver, Seattle, Charleston, Dallas, Vienna, Hong Kong, and Beijing.

Rafe Chase
Rafe Chase has been a working improviser for over three decades and is described by SF Weekly as “one of the most celebrated figures on the San Francisco improv scene today.”
After only three months of classes, Rafe began improvising professionally with Flash Family at the Old Spaghetti Factory in North Beach in 1978. He left three years later to create Riot Squad, where he served as director and head writer for the group which performed both improv and sketch comedy. Rafe joined BATS Improv in 1987, served as artistic director for two years and continues to work with the group as both a teacher and a Company Player.
In 1988, Rafe became a member of Pulp Playhouse, which performed at the Eureka Theater doing improvised stories in the style of the pulp magazines of the 30’s and 40’s.
The next year he formed Improv Theater, which was a popular fixture for several seasons at the ACT Playroom. With Rafe as the artistic director, the group would pioneer the exploration and performance of long-form improv. (Improv Theater’s first full length long-form was a Film Noir done on June 24, 1989)

Rafe was a member of True Fiction Magazine for five years, from its inception in 1994, and is still a frequent guest with the group. In 2007, he teamed with Gerri Lawlor for a series of two person improv shows. In his continued exploration of long-form improv, Rafe has created several formats including Split Decision and Double Feature™.

In 1996, Rafe, Stephen Kearin and Tim Orr created the critically acclaimed three-man group, 3 FOR ALL, which has wowed the crowds in a variety of cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York. Rafe has taught improv for various institutions, including Stanford University and ACT, as well teaching his ongoing private classes. He has also worked extensively with young people and taught improv at Berkwood Hedge Elementary in Berkeley for three years, to students ranging in age from 5 to 11. His work as a writer includes sketch comedy, lyrics, articles on show business history and the self-published comic poem, Alice Is… He also wrote the one-person show, Mysterious Ways for Regina Saisi, his colleague since 1979.

Matt Craig
Matt Craig began his career at Washington University with the troupe Mama’s Pot Roast. He was a writer for Saturday Night Live where he received an Emmy nomination. Previous theater credits include The Annoyance, iO, iOWest, Disney Cruise Lines, Brave New Workshop, The Second City Touring Company, The Second City ETC, and The Second City Mainstage. Recent television credits include According To Jim, The Office, and Frank’s favorite show Mobbed. He is currently a member of the faculty at the Second City Hollywood, taught for the Second City Conservatory in Chicago for five years, and the Brave New Institute in Minneapolis in addition to teaching workshops all over the United States. He works for Norwegian Cruise Lines writing and directing sketch comedy that is performed all over the world. He currently resides in Los Angeles with his lovely wife Rebecca, his daughter Phoebe and his son Jack.

Matt Donnelly
Matt is a Las Vegas-based improvisor – he teaches Advanced Longform for Improv Vegas and performed in Wayne Brady’s “Making **It Up” at the Venetian. He co-stars on Penn Jillette’s podcast Penn’s Sunday School, and Matt & Mattingly’s Ice Cream Social podcast. Originally from New York, he taught at the People’s Improv Theater in New York for six years. He co-created the Neutrino Video Projects, which appeared at the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival and has been franchised to 11 other cities around the world. Previously, he taught improv in the acting program at the New York Film Academy, and is an annual guest instructor at the Columbia University Business School Executive Education Program. His improv teachers include Amy Poehler, Armando Diaz, Charna Halpern, Liz Allen, Miles Stroth as well as many others. He has coached house teams at The PIT, UCB, and Magnet Theatre in New York and is a BFA Acting Alumni of Montclair State University.

Frankenmatt is the duo of Matt Craig and Frank Caeti, find their bios higher up this alphabetical list.

Stephen Kearin
Stephen Kearin began his career with Bay Area Theatresports in San Francisco, where he was a company member for 14 years. He was a founding member of Improv Theater and True Fiction Magazine. Stephen is currently a member of the critically-acclaimed improv ensembles, 3 FOR ALL (along with Rafe Chase and Tim Orr) in San Francisco and Impro Theatre in Los Angeles.

For the past two years, Kearin co-directed Impro Theatre’s “Twilight Zone UnScripted” and recently, “The Western UnScripted” at the Falcon Theatre, all to rave reviews. In addition to lending his unique talents to countless improv performances within the U.S. and internationally, he has appeared in numerous stage productions, including the stilt-walking Iago in San Francisco Opera’s “Otello”, as Sally-Sue Weber in “A Weber Family Christmas” and he originated the role of Movie Mega-Superstar, Blaine Bustier, in “An Evening With Dirk & Blaine”.

Kearin is the co-creator of “Simlish” and was the principal male voice of “The Sims”, “Sims 2” and “Sims Medieval”. He created the Martian languages for Disney’s “Mars Needs Moms”. He is featured in the DreamWorks Animation films “Kung Fu Panda”, “Kung Fu Panda 2”, “Madagascar 2 & 3”, “Monsters Vs. Aliens”, “Megamind,” “Penguins of Madagascar,” and “Home.”

Kearin appears as the terrifying “Principal Mitchell” on the new Disney XD television series “Kirby Buckets”. He stars in “The Bunglers”, winner of Best Comedic Short at The 2012 Manhattan Film Festival. Kearin has been a visiting instructor at Stanford University and Cirque Du Soleil.

Tim Orr
Tim has improvised since 1988 with many San Francisco-based groups, including BATS Improv, Rafe Chase’s groundbreaking longform troupe Improv Theatre, the renowned True Fiction Magazine, and the acclaimed troupe 3 For All. In 2009, he founded a new improv group, the Improv Playhouse of San Francisco.
He has appeared in numerous plays in the San Francisco Bay Area and received critical acclaim for his leading roles in the improvised feature filmsSuckerfish and Security. With Stephen Kearin, Tim co-wrote and originated the role of Dirk Manly in An Evening with Dirk & Blaine.

Tim has performed (and taught) improvisation at the American Conservatory Theatre, BATS Improv, Stanford University, and many other venues nationally (Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Austin, Louisville, Atlanta) and internationally (Amsterdam, Beirut, Helsinki, Leuven, London, Paris, Stockholm). He has served many times as the Director of BATS Longform Intensives.

Mark Sutton
Mark Sutton has been acting, directing and teaching in Chicago since 1987. He is a founding member of The Annoyance and has appeared in more than 75 Annoyance productions including Co-ed Prison Sluts, The Real Live Brady Bunch and Manson: The Musical. Annoyance directing credits include Pigs is Pigs: A White Trash Musical and Marry Me You Idiot. He also served for more than nine years as The Annoyance’s managing director and since 1993, has been a member of its faculty. Mark has appeared at IO Theater with the renowned improv group Georgia Pacific and is a performer and facilitator for The Second City where he is also a former director of the National Touring Company and directed the Canadian premiere of Co-ed Prison Sluts for Second City Toronto. Sutton is also an influential voice in the improv community across the United States and Canada. From 2005-2009, he served as the Artistic Director of The Chicago Improv Festival, and throughout the past decade, he has been a featured instructor in dozens of national improv and comedy festivals. His award-winning comedy BASSPROV (co-created with Joe Bill) has been seen in 30 cities in North America.

We’re in this together

Like many of you, we’ve been following what has been happening in other improv and comedy communities – Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia – particularly the problem of inappropriate treatment and potentially harassing behavior towards women.

We have been made aware of concerns about these issues in our community and that female-identified improvisers in the Twin Cities are organizing to address it. We look forward to supporting those efforts, if and when we are asked. Meanwhile, independent of these efforts we wish to provide our statement of belief on these issues:

Behavior that silences or diminishes women’s – or anyone’s — voices and bodies — onstage, backstage, during rehearsal or in class — will not be tolerated and must change. If such behavior is reported and substantiated we will take all actions available to us to stop the behavior and provide consequences to those that engage in this behavior.

To accelerate and support this change, HUGE is bringing in specialized trainers with expertise to train our teachers and staff. Our goal is to develop a common vocabulary and approach. In addition to addressing immediate classroom and rehearsal situations, it is our hope that this will provide a model for conversations that improvisers initiate with their practice groups, performing groups, and others.

In addition to providing training, we are updating our policies and making our existing policies and code of conduct more prominent and clear with real consequences for behavior found to be in violation of policy.

Most important, we are encouraging all of our staff, students, and performers to speak up about any inappropriate treatment they have experienced. To that end, we are providing clearer and easier ways to report issues.

We have published our harassment and offensive behavior policy, which covers in more detail our policies and definition of sexual harassment. Following are guidelines on when and how to report issues.

Students, please let your teachers and/or teacher assistants (TAs) know about any harassment or discomfort you experience from other students, whether you feel it is intentional or not and whether it happens in the classroom or not. Please give the teacher the chance to address the issue as quickly as possible.

    • Under no circumstances should you continue with an exercise or scene that makes you feel physically or emotionally distressed or unsafe. You will be supported by the teacher if you decide to stop or leave a scene for any reason.
    • It is our belief that under no circumstances should you be expected to tolerate unwelcome sexual attention from fellow students, whether that happens inside or outside class, online, via text, or any other method. While there are limits to what we can help with outside the walls of our classrooms and theater, we ask you to advise us as situations arise so that we can address them to the best of our ability and identify patterns.
    • Under no circumstances should a teacher, show director, or coach — or anyone in a position of power at HUGE or any other theater– demand or expect physical or romantic interest from you.

It is best if you can communicate with your teacher or TA right away. If for any reason you feel uncomfortable or unsatisfied communicating with either your TA and teacher, we encourage you to contact:

Performers are all held to a code of conduct when performing at HUGE.

  • Under no circumstances should a show director, coach — or any other individual — demand or expect any physical or romantic interest from you in exchange for opportunities or anything else. (Certainly there are plenty of examples of improvisers in relationships successfully working together — that’s not a concern. The issue here is use of power in unfair treatment of others.)
  • Under no circumstances should you be expected to tolerate unwelcome sexual attention or advances from other performers, whether that happens inside or outside class, online, via text, or any other method. While there are limits to what we can help with outside the walls of our classrooms and theater, we ask you to advise us as situations arise so that we can address them to the best of our ability and identify patterns.
  • Under no circumstances should you continue with a scene that makes you feel physically or emotionally unsafe. We encourage all performers to leave or end a scene by whatever means works in the moment and to address the issue backstage following the performance (preferably as soon as practicable). We further recommend that individuals bring up issues in the presence of the entire cast present as well as the director/coach, if possible. These issues are not between individuals, they affect the entire group, and the entire group should support the conversation. Failure to support a member of the group in expressing concerns about his or her emotional and physical safety may indicate a much larger problem.

The following outlines our next steps in the framework created by Chicago theaters to help address some of these issues. It is meant to outline a starting framework, and is not representative of the sum total of the steps we are taking to create a safe space for all genders.

1. We will make our current code of conduct, Policy Against Harassment, and whistleblower policy more visible, and to update our contracts to specify that sexual harassment and other forms of unlawful harassment will not be tolerated.

2. We have assigned more than one designee to whom people can make a report, and are posting a Code of Conduct in all classrooms that includes instructions on how to give anonymous feedback.

3. As outlined in our Policy Against Harassment, we commit that to the greatest extent possible all reports will be investigated as confidentially as possible and we give assurance that no retaliation will be tolerated  against anyone who makes a report or cooperates with an investigation.

We acknowledge that inappropriate behavior and unlawful harassment can happen to, and be initiated by, any gender. Also that allies of all genders have reported feeling uncomfortable or ill-equipped to step in and help at the moment they see a problem. We also recognize that there are a number of struggles related to marginalization of improvisers due to race, sexual orientation, age, and other factors. Please know that to focus on female-identified harassment at this critical moment is not to dismiss or diminish other needs.

We also want everyone to know that we are using strong language because we care very much about fostering a safe and healthy environment at HUGE. We do not believe in “good” people versus “bad” people — it is behavior that needs to be identified and addressed. Depending on the severity of the issue, our primary goal will be to point out the problem and provide a clear path/guidelines for making needed changes. In cases of physical endangerment, unlawful behavior or repeat offenses, we will take stronger measures as we are legally able to, up to and including termination of teachers or staff and discontinuing a student’s classes or a performer’s chance to appear on HUGE’s stage. Also possible are a time-limited probation or complete banning of entrance to HUGE Theater.

We welcome your comments and feedback. You can reach us at admin @ or comment via our anonymous feedback form on the bottom of

When the Lights Come Up I Can’t See So Much – I Can Feel Almost Everything

HUGE celebrates five years

photo by Jen Van Kaam

photo by Jen Van Kaam

On the evening of January 30th we gathered on stage to perform together, laugh together and mark the fifth anniversary of our “official” opening night – Per tradition, we take some time to talk about the year in review and the year ahead – what follows is a summary and “State of HUGE” post.  For the sake of time and space, the millions of thank you’s that we owe everyone you see above (and plenty you don’t see) have been condensed as much as possible.  

The People That Make ‘This Building’ into ‘This Place’

We have so many people to thank for all the hard work that goes into HUGE theater on a daily basis and it’s rare (sometimes impossible) that we’re ever all in the same place at the same time. To our incredible Front of House volunteers, House Managers, Bartenders and Technicians – you are the face and the personality of this place that we love so much and the people that allow me to sleep at night knowing it could not be in better hands – Here’s to you.

To Mr. Kevin Albertson – who is the voice of HUGE Theater on social media every single day – Here’s to you, sir.

To Bradley, Cicely, Joe and Breanna – who go way above and beyond to handle the hundreds of little problems most people never even hear about – Here’s to you.

To Adia and Beth – for stepping in to help us, which often means untangling the weird ways we’ve been doing things to help us see a better way to get stuff done – Here’s to you.

To all the Members of HUGE Theater – for your generosity and for continuously supporting this place as it grows into the place it can be, the place the artists of the Twin Cities deserve. We’ve got a long way to go but we’ll get there, thanks to you – Here’s to you.

To Lauren – for always being the Man to our Five Job.

To John and Jenni, Doug and Doug and Mary, Stevie and Pamela – For so many years of hard work that we are lucky enough to have the chance to build upon and being the role models we get to look up to and try to be when we grow up.  I would not be sitting in an improv theater writing this update to our story if it were not for all of you. Thank you so much.

The Numbers

I won’t get into all of the numbers from 2015 – we’re non-profit so our financials are all publicly available online if you’re interested – but there are a few that I would like to highlight to celebrate how far we have come and because they are so critical to the work ahead.

HUGE is proud to be the recipient of a few major grants – The McKnight Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board (MSAB), and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC) have all awarded HUGE with funds to help make our continued existence slightly less impractical and our big schemes for the future slightly less implausible. Writing and applying for any one of those grants would be a large task but all three – for $78K in additional funding this year alone – required the one-and-only Molly Chase, whom we are lucky to have on our team.

Those grants are allowing us to expand our number of classroom/rehearsal spaces so we can offer more space and time to more artists more of the time AND more opportunities for artists to learn and/or teach new skills, which is such a fantastic gift.

:: We also announced on stage that when those classrooms are finished, they will be named in honor of Abe VanderBent and Samantha Pereira – both of whom brought us to tears this year ::

A couple of numbers that are such a great sign for our theater and our community and our mission as a theater ::  

Our fundraising once again reached a record number this year after our biggest Give to the Max Day for HUGE Theater ever. We cleared our ambitious fundraising goal of $50K thanks to the hard work of hundreds of supporters and volunteers plus a generous last-minute gift of $1,500 from the Machov Family Philanthropic Fund.This allowed us to have a year of programming unencumbered by continuous fundraising and still hit a record number of $77,165 in total individual donations for 2015.

One number that always makes me want to show slides (I have learned to resist that urge) to illustrate our mission to support the improv community in the Twin Cities. We began paying artists for performing improv as soon as we had the means to do so. We have continued to increase payments to artists  year after year at a pace that has matched (or at times outpaced) the growth in individual donations and grant support.

I am incredibly proud to say that thanks to receiving  operational grant support in 2015 we were able to lower the threshold at which we pay our some shows. We also expanded a paid teaching assistant program so artists can be paid while they learn to become teachers in their art form.  This year we were also able to connect more artists with more and better paying opportunities to perform and teach — and more — all of which means that HUGE Theater was able to pay artists more than $77K in 2015!

Paid opportunities for artists are important. We not only decline ANY  request for improvisers to work for free — or “for exposure” — we also let the person making the request know  how corrosive the practice is, and emphasize the value of art and artists.

Separately* we were able to pay out more than $107K in payroll in the year 2015!   Someone mentioned to me after the Anniversary show that this number made them glad that we were making something closer to a living wage for our work at HUGE. I neglected to point out that night that the full time staff (Jill, Nels, Molly and myself) are all salaried and our compensation has actually remained the same for years, and for a long time we’ve been able to keep staffing costs down by having our salaried staff working shows as Technicians or House Managers.This growth in payroll is because we have been able to give more and more paying hours to staff!

* Kind of, but not really, since our staff are almost entirely artists as well!

The Milestones and Grindstones

The numbers may be my favorite way to quantify our progress in some areas, but we are an organization dedicated to supporting an art form and a community of artists. This means there are lots of great signals that things are moving in the right direction that aren’t easily represented by integers – this community is constantly growing, collaborating and doing things that we want to support and celebrate. Here are only a couple examples.

The Tiny Funny Women Fest  and the Black And Funny Improv Fest  are two (of the many) forces for change and improvement in our community – working to address issues of disparity, inclusion and diversity in our community and art form, HUGE is proud to provide a home for these events. These festivals are the result of a lot of hard work — they inspire us all to do more and be more.

On Our Stage

There are so many incredible shows being produced by groups inside and outside of HUGE theater that we have been able to curate an unbelievable calendar of shows for 2016. I am super excited to announce them here. (Show info and pages will be added to the regular HUGE calendar soon.)

March/April :: For the third year running, Troika returns on Wednesday nights in March.  In March and April, Rated G on Saturday evenings is a special addition to our regular weekend schedule!

Fridays:  The first show in our Throwgram series features the cast ofClose Quarters at 8pm – KINGS at 9:30pm – The Bearded Men with Diorama at 10:30pm

Saturdays ::  The long-awaited (since 2007) reboot of the improvised film project Neutrino at 8pm – The Mess at 9:30pm – We Have Cats with Gary at 10:30pm

May/June ::  (10th Annual Twin Cities Improv Festival this June – more below)

Fridays:  Throwgram continues with the cast of Deconstruction at 8pm – More or Less at 9:30pm – The Bearded Men at 10:30pm

Saturdays:  Neutrino continues with a whole new cast at 8pm – The Mess at 9:30pm – Blackout Improv at 10:30pm

July/August ::  HUGE is once again a venue for the MN Fringe Festival, August! Also, education director Jill Bernard is designing three summer intensives for August — each will take place in a Friday-Sunday intensive format.

Fridays:  Throwgram concludes with the cast of LaRonde at 8pm – Ladyfriend at 9:30pm – Mayhem with Ricecakes at 10:30pm

Saturdays:  Off Book returns at 8pm – Second Wave Feminist Nightmare Enclave at 9:30pm – The Painters  at 10:30pm

September/October ::  (Some of these shows have working titles in place — stay tuned)

Fridays:  Creature Feature 8pm – Survivors of the Undead Plague at 9:30pm – The Bearded Men  at 10:30pm

Saturdays:  The Election Show at 8pm – Super Good at 9:30pm – Nature Documentary at 10:30pm


10th annual Twin Cities Improv Festival :: June 22-26, 2016

This year we are doing things a little differently to celebrate TCIF’s first decade. We did not have a submission process – instead we are inviting back headliners of TCIF’s past, including BASSPROV, 3 For All, FrankenMatt and Darby Lane!

Local performers will still be selected by Five Man Job but we wanted to hear from everyone we could. So instead of a submission process we posted a NOMINATION form to allow people to tell us who they want to see on stage this year. People have submitted  almost 100 nominations so far. We can already tell the selections will be more difficult than ever but we’re excited for this June and will have a couple more surprises to announce along the way — plus TCIF will have a mind-crushing array of workshops to offer.

Bookmark the TCIF home page for all the latest info on the Festival –and nominate your favorite group(s) while you’re there. Sign up fast when workshops are posted – they will sell out.

Inside Our Walls and Outside Our Doors – a closing note from the Executive Director

If you’ve read this far, chances are you already know HUGE fairly well.  I want to end on some thoughts that don’t fit well into a summary of last year or a plan for next year but are very much a part of all of the things we do here.  I know much of the audience for this post are performers and I know that looking at the schedule that is booked into next winter can be a daunting and disheartening thing. I want to address it.

First of all – I love that people want to put their shows on our stage. That is literally what this place is built for, and is the fulfillment of a lot of long days and sleepless nights.

We are always working on programming. We recently put our show proposal form on hiatus while we discuss and propose some changes we hope will allow us to bring more groups and shows to our stage. When we re-open the process there will be an announcement on the HUGE blog.

Not only are we programming further ahead than ever, this past year saw more auditions than ever for HUGE shows and shows being produced for the HUGE stage – all of which means giving a lot of bad news to a lot of extremely talented and deserving performers.

As a producer of the TCIF, I can tell you what an amazing luxury it is to have such an over-abundance of submissions that any producer would love to put on stage because it means knowing your festival will be absolutely the best it can be.

As one of the producers at HUGE, I can tell you that luxury is something we really appreciate and really worry about on a daily basis because it means having dozens (probably more) of conversations in which we give bad news and very frustrating answers to some extremely talented artists. We are always hoping that frustration doesn’t get in the way of their growth as performers or their relationship with this place.

Normally not getting into a show would mean getting some notes about what you didn’t quite hit or what you could do better next time. But more and more, that’s not what’s happening. Instead  we’re often giving notes like “we all agreed you were fantastic and could not have done anything better – the reason  you’re not in the show because we have more people we all agreed should be in the show than we can possibly cast.”
There just aren’t any satisfying answers to give or get.

Couple that with a proposal process that can take a long time and we have the potential to really upset some people and/or hurt some feelings.

I know this and I am always looking for a better solution but I don’t have one yet.

It is THE horrible part of my job.

The worst case is when we see performers get fed up and give up or just get angry or hurt — having great ideas wait around for months and months isn’t a terrific outcome either. The great news is that more and more we see performers opting to become producers, creating and mounting their shows at another venue rather than wait for HUGE to make it happen.

That is the BEST.

The truth is, I love it when people want to put in the work to put their show on any stage — the spread and growth of this art form is what this place was truly built for.

We want to be a home for improv, not the thing that slows it down or holds it back.  While we cannot create more days in the week or months in the year, we can support the hell out of those shows that are not inside our walls as vigorously as anything on our stage. That is what we can and will do AND we continue to look for better solutions and refine our proposal and production process as we are able.

“We don’t want you to see more improv because we opened a theater – we opened a theater because we want you to see more improv” has been the mantra for a long time.  The next sentence should read “not just the improv that you can see in our theater.”


Thank you for reading.  Thank you for everything. 

Butch Roy

Executive Director and your biggest fan.

Summer Intensives at HUGE

HUGE Summer Slam Beginner Intensive

August 19-21, 2016 $250.00
Come spend a long weekend at HUGE! We know our longer classes in improvisation just don’t work with all schedules. We’d love to have you join us for a weekend sampler.

AUGUST 19-21, 2016, only $250
6:30-7:30PM Friday (1 hour instruction)
10AM – 5PM with hour break for lunch – Saturday (6 hours instruction)
10AM – 5PM with hour break for lunch – Sunday (6 hours instruction)
Free tickets to shows Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Register here for our BEGINNER SUMMER SLAM!


2016 HUGE Summer Intensive: Your Voice

This year, HUGE is offering two sessions of our summer intensive!
AUG 12-14
AUG 26-28

HUGE Theater’s summer intensive runs Friday through Sunday, with an optional kick-off jam on Thursday night. The intensive includes 17 hours of instruction, a performance in a Saturday night mainstage show at HUGE Theater, and six free shows throughout the weekend.

Participants are welcome to arrive on Thursday night and jump in on a free weekly jam at HUGE called Space Jam. it’s a great way to meet fellow performers and play in a friendly, fun environment.

Details and registration here: YOUR VOICE

Answering Anonymous Question – Show X !

A question submitted via our Anonymous Feedback Form on our Contact page:

Q:  “How does Show X casting work? What does one need to do to put themselves in a position to someday be cast? Also, once cast is it a lifetime appointment like The Supreme Court?”

A:  We get this question whenever Show X casting changes – we just announced some upcoming additions to the Show X cast that will be debuting Feb 8th, 15th and 22nd – and I know the process is opaque and we’ve never announced when we’re looking for more cast or the work that goes into it.  The answer is both simple and probably frustrating.

The short version is that Show X is an independent cast of a show produced by HUGE theater, which means the cast decides as a group when new to look for new cast and how many to add at any one time to maintain the general continuity of the show.

As a producer of the show, I can give a little more insight by saying that the cast of Show X meets on this topic a couple times per year to discuss casting needs – often the answer is that we decide not to change the cast of the show at all – when we decide to add cast we begin with a nomination process of performers who do great work we really enjoy that feel like a great fit for the show, discuss and vote.

As a cast we have a variety of opinions on what the cast needs or what strengths in a performer are most compelling to meet those particular needs – and those are all weighed – As far as how one gets nominated and considered, the best advice is just “put in the hustle and do great work where people can see it”

Once cast, it isn’t always permanent – in the 5 years of Show X we’ve had some cast members consistently throughout as well as cast that have decided to move on to other things or step away from the show for different lengths of time.  We have never asked anyone to leave the cast of Show X and there is currently no amendment in place to recall, impeach or extradite members of the Show X cast (whew!).

I hope that helps clarify the process, even though I can’t give you a clear path and steps to follow in order to make it happen any faster.


  • Butch Roy
  • Producer, Show X

Thanks and Dedications in Memory of Samantha Pereira

Samantha Pereira’s friends, co-workers, and former students asked us how they could give to HUGE Theater in her name, because it was a cause she loved. We have created a Samantha Pereira Memorial page on for that purpose. Donations will support HUGE Theater’s Education Program to which Samantha brought talent, energy, expertise, compassion, and love.

GiveMN is not designed to display donor names and dedications, so we are doing that here.

We thank everyone for honoring Samantha’s memory at this impossibly sad time, and appreciate all contributions, including the extra kindness people have shown each other, and the sharing of photos and stories on Facebook. There are so many ways to honor Samantha’s memory. All are appreciated.


Samantha was the lead trainer for the Hawaii Department of Education for Infinite Campus.  Though we have known Samantha for less than a year she touched our hearts with her kind heart sweet disposition and openness to our Hawaiian ways.  She was our guiding light as we prepared to train over 2000 employees.  Our hearts ache for her family and Infinite Campus co-workers and friends.  We will miss you Samantha. Until we meet again. Palapala ho’alohaloha  (our heartfelt condolences)  – The HIDOE Infinite Campus Team: Susan Crowell  Al Maria Lori Laurene Eileen Zach Barbie Betty Debby Lynol Susan Rowena Jennifer Karl Lynn Heather Rose Sue Jared Christina Tracy Kirsten Christy Dale Sandy

Anonymous – For Samantha who saw the possible in everyone
Bonita Linder – Thank you Samantha for all you have given us.  Love ya.
Brian Nielsen – In memory of Samantha Pereira
Charles Charbeneau – Her echoes will resound for eternity.
Chris Harrington – For Samantha.
Courtney Iverson – To Samantha-It was great getting to learn from you.  You made it fun.  Your wonderful personality will be very missed!
Eileen Zimmerman – To my forever weekend daughter
Gubby Kubik – I love you Samantha
James Robinson – Thank you Samantha for giving us so much…
Jason Fetterley – R.I.P. Sam.
Jettie Ditmarson – What a vibrant loving woman.  I will always remember Samantha’s smile and wonderful laugh!
Joan Hokenson – Samantha was and still is a bright and shining star in a world in need of humor and fun. She touched so many of us with her intelligence and her wit. She will be greatly missed.
Jordan Taylor – In loving memory of Samantha Pereira
Katie Adducci – to a teacher coach role model & friend.
Lisa Harrington – In memory of a truly remarkable lovely woman who brightened the earth with her presence
Nathan Rouse – For Samantha.
Pamela Sakayan – To a wonderful role model.
Peter Butler – I’ll  miss her irrepressible spirit & love of improv.
Reese Jolie and Simon Awend – A Memorial to Samantha Pereira
Zoa Dru – You. Inimitable you. A forever star in the sky of my heart.
Adam Birnbaum
Brandon Edmonds
Bruce Fleischacker
Christian Unser
Dustin Brown
Felix Ibarra
Fred Haeusler
Gordon Boudreau
Jason Fetterley
Jeff Galarneau
Jeff Kaisershot
John Rogers
Josh Kuehn
Justin Haaheim
Katie Novak
Kieley Taylor
Laurie Kasel
Leah Bresette
Lisa French-Austin
Mariah Wold-Jendro
Mary Ruebel
Mary Wright
Matt Prindle
Michelle Olson
Pamela Lundholm
Robb Miller
Sara Avelsgaard
Sarah Snider
Stephanie Sondrol
Stephen & Carrie Hallman

As of 1/20/16, donors to the Samantha Pereira Memorial page have given $2,593.

We invite you to learn more about Samantha and her incredible impact on the improv community here. Her loss is tremendous. We are so grateful for the profoundly positive ways her love, talent and joy shaped us.

A Sad Farewell to Samantha Pereira

Many of you may have heard by now, the Minneapolis improv community has suffered a great loss. Samantha Pereira, performer, director, teacher, and friend, was in a car accident on Thursday December 10 and passed away. We are having trouble finding the words to express our sorrow, and send our deepest sympathy to her family and friends. We only hope all who knew and loved Samantha can find solace in the knowledge that in her time cut short on the planet Samantha made a great difference. As a teacher at Stevie Ray’s and then later at HUGE Theater, it is not an exaggeration to say she changed her students’ lives. “Samantha believed in me before I believed in myself,” is a common refrain. Many of her students found courage just by seeing themselves through her eyes.

We will miss her forever. She was a bright spirit and a warm soul, with talent and generosity shining from every pore. The HUGE Theater education program owes her so much. She could always be relied on to teach as many students as we would give her, and was ready to share her heart with every new class. As any beginning improv student can tell you, there is nothing more terrifying than making a fool of yourself at an improv class. Samantha had a gift for letting you know it was going to be more than alright. It was going to be great, and you’re exactly where you belong. Samantha brought talent,energy, expertise, compassion, giggles, and love to HUGE, and made Sunday morning a golden time.

We love you, Samantha. Goodbye beautiful friend.

A few links:
For details on mass and visitation, go here.
If you would like to donate to HUGE in her name, the best spot is here.
To watch a Menudo video in Samantha’s honor, click here.