HUGE Theater is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Not just because it is the right thing to do, but also selfishly because improv as an art form will die if it does not redefine the promise that “improv is for everyone” and make sure all voices are heard and represented with dignity and respect.
Working toward these goals is the responsibility of all of us working for HUGE Theater. We are lucky to have those efforts spearheaded by John Gebretatose, our Director of Diversity and Inclusion, who created that role at HUGE in 2016. We are proud and grateful for John’s ongoing impact, at HUGE and on improv nationally. John’s approach to the role has been to make improv spaces more welcoming to a diversity of people, while also working to build trust and validity for improv within minority communities.
Here are some things HUGE is currently doing to support these efforts:
- Hosting and logistical support for improv festivals and forums elevating under-represented voices, like Black and Funny Improv Festival, Queer and Funny Improv Festival, Tiny Funny Fest (for Women/Trans/Femme/Nonbinary improvisers), and Our Cities on Our Stages TC
- Hosting improv “jams” for under-represented groups, including a POC Jam, a Queer Jam, an Amplifying Voices Jam (for women/trans/non-binary/queer performers), and a New Roads Jam for improvisers over 40
- Widely available scholarships with a short application process
- Open application for paid part-time bar, tech, and house management staff positions
- Tracking of student, staff, and performer demographics, to see where and if we are progressing
And here are some services that our Director of Diversity and Inclusion offers, for the benefit of under-represented improvisers:
- Coaching sessions with improv groups
- Information, prep, and support for auditions
- Outreach and support for independent producers and other local improv theaters as they seek to expand
- Periodic workshops on “Hard Topics” for all improvisers
- Workshops for institutions on Diversity and Inclusion
John can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.