Blog

January 29 – all classes cancelled including Drop In

HI TUESDAY STUDENTS! Looks like the forecast for dangerous temperatures and icy roads has gotten worse. All classes are cancelled including Drop In. Thank you for your understanding.

Q: will the class be rescheduled?
A: hey, would it be ok if we figured that out later?
Q: uhhh…your A was a Q.
A: your Q was an A….

January 27 – no cancellations

SUNDAY HUGE 3:30/4pm STUDENTS – YES, we are having class, it looks like the snow will not get bad until somewhat later.

If you have to miss class for your own safety, we understand, no worries.

A very brief introduction to ABLEISM IN IMPROV!

“Ableism” is discrimination and prejudice against people with disabilities, and it exists in improv just like it exists everywhere else. Like racism and sexism, ableism is complex and endemic in our culture, and not something that can be fixed with a quick and handy one-page guide. But we gotta start somewhere — the PDF below shows some common ways ableism expresses itself in improv, with very brief thoughts on ways to start recognizing and addressing them in yourself.

Anniversaries, both happy and sad

photo by Sally Foster

December will always remind us of when the theater first opened, but it will also always be the anniversary of when beloved HUGE teacher, performer and director Samantha Pereira passed away.

We remember you, dear friend, on this day of your passing and this month of your birth. It has been three years and we miss you every day. 











Improvathon 2018 Results and Thanks!

Beginning on Wednesday November 14th and running until just after midnight Thursday, November 15th – a 28 hour block of time lovingly known IMPROVATHON – HUGE Theater held our annual improv marathon to raise money on Give To The Max Day 2018.

This is a crucial day for HUGE Theater – it is a wonderful event that features not only 28 hours of performances but also an amazing chance to connect with the community as we all spend time in (or passing through) the same space and telling everyone we can collectively reach what this place and this art form mean to us.
Thanks are not enough to convey the love and joy that go into – and come out of – these crazy hours, but I will give it a shot.

The SPONSORS!
Once again we thank Common Roots Catering and Steamship Coffee for all of the caffeinated liquid support they sent our way – there are few things as important to being awake and energetic and upright and on stage for 28 hours as caffeine.
Please help us thank them!

The WINNERS!
The Improvathon is more than a giant love-fest – it’s also a competitive, hilarious love-fest!
The groups performing and Iron Audience watching are all fundraising to support HUGE and we are excited to announce that the fund-raising-est groups were:

GUTS & TEETH
GIFTED & TALENTED
DILLY DALLY

The top Iron Audience fundraisers were:

ANONYMOUS (we know who you are)
ABE VANDERBENT
CULLEN DONOHUE

Thank you to everyone that helped, volunteered, posted, tweeted, watched, ushered, cleaned, brewed more coffee, staffed the box office, took photos, performed and made us weep with joy.

The RESULTS!
If you aren’t familiar already, Give To the Max Day is THE fundraising day of the year for HUGE as it is a focused day of charitable giving across Minnesota made possible by GiveMN. This year GiveMN helped raise more than twenty million dollars for non-profits across our state!

HUGE focuses all our energy and efforts on this day – and this year we aimed even higher with a goal of $100,000 – which we did not hit but I am so proud that we went for – it was less than a decade ago when having a theater for improv was a crazy dream and asking people to give to this cause felt impossible.
But nobody has as much fun doing the impossible as we do.

Official Improvathon Grand Total at midnight: $71,860
We had more donations come in after midnight (including well into this morning). So the total as of right now is a bit higher! — $72,111

1,353 individual donations online by midnight.
Another 20 have come in since for a total of 1373

We raised $3,490 (included in the total) at the door with another 183 donations – Adding that 183, we had1,556 individual donations in total.

Strange as it feels to keep moving these words forward, year after year – they are still true, forever and always – so I will keep repeating them:

“This place is important because of the people you will find here.
Some of the most generous, dedicated, wonderful, funny and talented people I have ever met in my life and it is my profound privilege to know.”

I am so proud to be part of this place.

I am so proud of the work we do here and the difference it makes in between (as well as during) the times that we have to play together here – as a community that is maturing and growing and learning and sometimes leading the way for others in our art form.
I am so proud that I can serve this place that serves this community – It has been my greatest joy and most humbling experience – and I could not be more grateful for everyone that has been moved to support it.

Thank you all – I am luckiest because I get to build this with you.

Butch Roy

Executive Director of HUGE Theater and Humble Servant

HUGE announces new Managing Director

HUGE Improv Theater Names Sean Dillon As New Managing Director

Sean’s involvement with HUGE began with the first Throwback Night in 2012, and since that time, he has gone on to perform with a variety of groups and shows here, including The Score, Yes Anderson, The Away Team, Nimblicity, Neutrino, Dilly Dally, and others. He has taught at HUGE for the past five years, co-directs the show Off-Book, and served as the theater’s volunteer Accessibility Coordinator since 2015.

Outside of improv, Sean is a stage and film actor, writer, and director, the founder of horror theater company Oncoming Productions, and a wildly improbable hand model. In the past, he has worked for arts non-profits Springboard for the Arts and the Stella Adler Studio, and has worked most recently as a Disability Services Advisor at Capella University.

“I am so excited for Sean to come aboard in an official capacity – he’s always been such a proactive and positive member of the community, in many ways he’s already a leader so having him part of our artist-led company only makes perfect sense,” said Butch Roy, Executive Director of HUGE Improv Theater.

Dillon will begin as Managing Director in mid-November, just in time for HUGE’s Improvathon on November 15. Previously this position was held by Molly Chase, who did noble service since March 2011 as HUGE’s first managing director.

Throwback Auditions open now!

Use this form to request an audition for and/all of the following groups:
The Harold – Directed by Lauren Anderson & Lizzie Gardner
Rehearsals :: Sundays 10am-Noon (First 3 rehearsals at location other than HUGE)Armando – Directed by Jill Bernard; Assistant Director – Liz Council
Rehearsals :: Saturdays 2-4pClose Quarters – Directed by Hannah Wydeven; Assistant Director – Alexis Camille
Rehearsals :: Saturdays 12-2p
AUDITION TIMES will be scheduled:
Saturday 10/13 from 10am-5pm
Monday 10/15 from 4pm-7pm
Options will be removed as time slots fillPERFORMANCES
Throwback Night will run Fridays at 8pm in January and February at HUGE Theater

REHEARSALS
Please check to make sure you are able to make the scheduled rehearsal times for the show(s) you would like to audition for – rehearsals will run 8-10 weeks (approximately end October-early Jan with breaks for the holidays), cast are expected to miss no more than 2 rehearsals.
The Harold -Sundays 10am-Noon, late Oct – early Jan
Armando – Saturdays 2-4p, late Oct-early Jan
Close Quarters – Saturdays 12-2p, late Oct-early Jan

If you don’t see the form below please CLICK HERE

We want to see you all of you there. Yeah, even you. And you! And also you.

 

Systems new and old

Some Updates, some new News and some old News you may not have known!

One of the strange upsides to big internal changes – like bringing our new Artistic Director on board and up to speed – is having to explain our systems and what they’re meant to do.

It gives us a rare chance to stop and look at many of the systems we’ve put in place over the years, take a really good look at how we do things and ask ourselves if they still make sense or if there’s a better way to handle show proposals, communicating with artists, the flow of information to producers and more.

We also uncovered some areas where we’ve put systems and internal policies in place that aren’t flashy or newsworthy on their own, but artists (or other theater companies – some of whom ask to use our policies as a template) might like to know about!

One of the most immediate changes is whom to contact about things!

THEN:  Butch had been a frequent point of contact for artistic matters only because he is one of the only full time staff and is always online to field questions more quickly.

NOW:  Rita is the person to contact about all artistic matters –  show proposal questions, auditions, ideas you would like to discuss, changes to your show proposal or upcoming run of shows – Basically, if it appears on stage or is part of getting your idea ready for the stage : Rita.

Butch will still head up logistics questions and production support – things that require revisions to the website, about staffing or technical needs for your shows – Basically, the building, staff, website, ticketing system or all the invisible bits of production support would go to Butch.

If you’re still not sure where to send your question, idea, concern, etc – please feel free to email both Rita and Butch and we can help!  
Always feel free to ask

Rita@hugetheater.com  – and / or – Butch@hugetheater.com

Show Proposal changes

As Rita posted recently – the Show Proposal system has changed!
THEN:  The show proposal form stayed open at all times to capture the fully-formed pitches for productions looking for a stage, crazy new ideas that might need some help to bring to life and everything between – which created a constant backlog and left lots of people waiting and we sometimes ended up following up on ideas that people had moved on from, forgotten about or from groups that no longer existed.

NOW:  The form will open twice per year to cover the upcoming “season” with enough time to get shows booked and confirmed, schedule auditions (if needed) and make sure artists and HUGE have enough time to properly promote upcoming shows
Every proposal will get a confirmation email from Rita and the seasonal schedules will be posted when they are booked and confirmed – shows will need to re-submit each season they would like to be considered, which will give HUGE a clear idea of which shows are active and ready for the season ahead and give producers and artists a clear, timely answer so they aren’t left waiting on HUGE when they could be looking at other venues or opportunities.

:: One system that we’ve had in place for years is designed to manage conflicts of interest and avoid nepotism in our pipeline process, being an artist-led company we knew this would be an issue early on –  which is why no member of the HUGE management is allowed to book their own groups or shows for our stage. Those productions must be approved independently by another member of the management team.

This policy remains in place and extends to shows by/featuring any performer currently or previously in a relationship with HUGE staff – to make sure our process is serving our community with an even hand as well as protect artists by preventing anyone from being able to extend or withhold consideration inappropriately  ::

Info to/from producers and casts

This is an area that many people may not know about as well as something we’re working to expand – As part of our efforts to make sure we’re hearing from the artists we serve about their experiences at HUGE, we’ve had a policy of asking for feedback from shows.

:: we ALWAYS encourage everyone to reach out and contact us if there is a concern, question or something that just doesn’t feel right – please – at any time, using whichever channel you feel most comfortable using ::

THEN: After the close of a show, Breanna would send a Google Form to the director/producer/point of contact for the show and/or Facebook group about the run of the show – those answers would be collected and shared with the Artistic Director and Executive Director and show directors.

NOW:  We now ask for names and emails for all cast members so we can send the feedback form directly to cast and follow up directly if needed.
We’ve also added another round of feedback to HUGE productions (and are trying to find a good way to coordinate with outside productions as well) in an effort to hear concerns sooner so we can have conversations and make adjustments while the show is open rather than waiting until it is too late to hear about things that could’ve been addressed – that will be collected toward the end of the rehearsal process so we can hear about rehearsals and how the cast is feeling heading into opening of a run and then again at the close of the show.

All the feedback is seen by the Artistic Director and Executive Director – feedback that is meant for the Directors will be compiled and shared with them via email and/or in person to ask any follow up questions to help us all improve the process and experience of performing, producing, directing and being directed at HUGE.

Reporting from Directors: We’ve added language to make sure directors are letting HUGE know about issues within their casts, even if matters are discussed and handled to the satisfaction of everyone involved.
Every complaint from a cast member about another cast member, regardless of severity or outcome, must be documented with theater management.
We are looking for patterns of behavior across shows and over time.

Auditions and Casting

One of the most sensitive areas there is – also one we’ve quietly made some changes and put systems in place and continue to look at for ways to make the experience more welcoming, rewarding and transparent.
The biggest changes over the past years have been focused on inclusion. We have been making sure (as best we can based on scheduling needs) the auditioning groups are more diverse by making sure no one is ever “the only” in an audition group, i.e. the only female-identified performer in a group of men, or the only person of color with a group of white performers.

Likewise, the expansion of the audition panel to make sure we have a variety of eyes and ears and voices included in the process of casting – In addition to increasing representation among the decision-making in an audition process, we hope this increases the chances that an auditioner will see someone who looks like them “behind the table” in theater jargon.

We hope this representation means there will be someone in authority to help recognize and call out problematic situations that come up in audition scenes, in hopes of removing the burden from the auditioned.

:: Our conflict of interest policy explicitly covers auditions as well – not only are HUGE staff  prohibited from making casting decisions about someone that is a conflict of interest, they will not be present for those auditions – this has been the case for some time and has worked invisibly and silently as audition rosters list conflicts and staff members remove themselves from the audition space for the duration without any action required from the person auditioning ::

Producer Info Packets

Some smaller things that we hope will get info to the right eyeballs is the revision of show info and creation of a central place to find it – from our Show Guidelines to HUGE’s current payment model for shows to image specs for both HUGE and social media – this is where the information will live and will be updated.
If you visit the HUGE Performer Pages – the top button on the right will direct you to this information – as does the newly-revised “Your Show Is Booked” packet that is emailed to every show when they are booked and confirmed.

Thanks for reading
– Butch

2018 Family Dinner Cast Announced

I know directors always say this, but seriously, I was astonished by the auditions this year. Not only by the sheer number of people that showed up, but by what everyone left out on that stage. It was an excruciating decision to narrow it down to this small list but even with that, I was so heartened by this process. Eeep, we’re a lucky town.

Don’t let this be anyone’s last audition. You are great.

Here is the 2018 Family Dinner cast:

  1. Alexis Camille
  2. Anna Tobin
  3. Ellie Hino
  4. Emily Townswick
  5. George Keller
  6. Janay Henry
  7. Jen Scott
  8. Justin Betancourt
  9. Katy Kessler
  10. Lizzie Gardner
  11. Maureen Tubbs
  12. Michael Renner
  13. Michael Rogers
  14. Mike Fotis
  15. MJ Marsh
  16. Sam Baker Harris
  17. Sam Landman
  18. Seniz Yargici Lennes
  19. Siri Hellerman
  20. Tom Winner

 

*Family Dinner is an M Ritchie Production