Board of Directors

Board President

Adia Morris Swanger (she/her/hers) is a dancer, actor, writer, non-profit professional and TV personality, which means that Google Calendar is her lifeline to sanity. Adia’s favorite X-Men character is Nightcrawler, being a teacher is the most satisfying thing she’s ever done, and she believes that peanut butter chocolate chip cookies are heaven in dough form.

Adia offers expertise in non-profit arts management and theater practices.

Board Treasurer

Robin Gillette (she/her/hers) has been working in the nonprofit arts world since 1990, ever since she graduated from Carleton College with a psychology degree that’s been surprisingly useful. What started as a career in stage management in Minneapolis and New York evolved into work as an off-Broadway general manager, a production coordinator for the Lincoln Center Festival, and Associate Producer of Contemporary Programming at Lincoln Center. She returned to Minneapolis in late 2001 where she continues to make her home and career. From 2006-2013, she served as executive director of Minnesota Fringe Festival, the Midwest’s largest uncurated performance festival. She founded Arts Progress in 2013 and has been helping arts organizations and individual artists more efficiently fulfill their mission ever since.

Robin offers expertise in non-profit arts management and theater practices.

Board Secretary / Executive Director

Butch RoyButch Roy (he/him/his) loves improv. It all started in 1996 at a show at the legendary Brave New Workshop, which turned into studying improv at the Brave New Institute, which later led to becoming the Technical Director at the Brave New Workshop, a position he proudly held for eight years. Somewhere in there he also earned his B.F.A. from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, got married, had some kids.

In 2002, Butch founded Improv A Go-Go, a weekly, all improvised showcase of some of the best local and national improvisers. Now in its sixteenth year, this Sunday night show still manages to sell out on a regular basis. In 2006, Butch started the Twin Cities Improv Festival (TCIF), a five-day event featuring shows and workshops. Held each June, TCIF has grown every year, attracting some of the most well-respected and talented improvisors on the continent.

“Butch Roy is first and foremost, an Improv technician. What I mean by that is that his skill-set is founded on solving problems instantly. Whether you need a thunder clap to help justify a moment in a scene that you haven’t yet realized you need, or to make the lights work in the next 5 minutes, he’s your guy. I often think back to when I was his understudy on a show for the Brave New Workshop and he would explain the cues for a scene which might involve simultaneously resetting the light board for the next transition, cueing up the next sound cue on the minidisc, and making the current sound cue into a live microphone with your mouth while holding down the guitar pedal in front of you that he rigged up as an effects processor. He always explained it as if this was what all tech people did. I still think he assumes he’s normal and that all technicians can do this. He’s not and they can’t. Butch Roy is perhaps the most versatile and phlegmatic technician I have ever known. And I have known many. Like I said before, he’s your guy.” – George Grubb

As the Executive Director of HUGE, Butch brings vision, technical expertise and passion to every HUGE production.

Board Member / Education Director

photo by Adam Iverson

Jill Bernard (she/her/hers) is an  internationally recognized improvisational theater performer and instructor. She began in 1993 with ComedySportz-Twin Cities, and was on the ComedySportz world championship team in 2004 and 2009. A proud co-founder of HUGE Theater, she has taught and performed improv in Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and in forty of the United States; and also on an episode of MTV “Made.”

Board Member

photo by Jen Van Kaam

photo by Jen Van Kaam

Nels Lennes (he/him/his) has extensive experience with nationally recognized improvisational theater groups including The Groundlings, Annoyance Theater, and The Upright Citizens Brigade in addition to his Twin Cities collaborative experience since 1995. Nels has recently directed the Twin Cities productions of Ka-Baam!! and Creature Feature, continues to co-produce the weekly improv showcase “Improv A Go Go” as well as perform with local improv groups. As an instructor, Nels has taught many courses on improv, as well as Master Series classes of his own design. Nels is also an accomplished screen actor, appearing in several films as well as commercials for national marketing campaigns.

Board Member

Amy Derwinski (she/her/hers) stumbled upon Improv 101 and subsequent classes at HUGE in the winter of 2015. She quickly learned that HUGE theater’s commitment to inclusion and diversity aligned with her own values in education, equity and justice. Her ability to build authentic relationships, identify common goals and develop long term plans have been fine-tuned as a union organizer, educator and activist. When not fighting for public education, queer rights or reproductive justice she can be found napping in a variety of indiscriminate locations. She has been known to explore new parts of the world by boat, bike and tent. She lives in Minneapolis with her partner and several hundred rocks stolen from numerous national parks. Most notably, she is likely to misplace her keys, wallet or phone at least once a day but still make it on time, if not early, to everything.