1/17/2020 : All Friday shows are CANCELLED due to weather and road conditions!
Stay home, stay safe – shiny side up!!
the Free Association – produced by HUGE Theater – will perform Saturdays at 10:30pm May 2nd – June 20th, 2020
Rehearsal schedule: Please check your availability before signing up to audition!
Rehearsals will be weekly at 1-3pm on Saturdays – beginning on 2/22
The show will be 45-60 minutes each week, co-directed by John Gebretatose and Butch Roy
the Free Association is a structure based on an exercise by Joe Bill and Mark Sutton – produced with permission at HUGE Theater – that focuses on “tagging in” to characters in the scene, focus on point of view and building together.
If you cannot see the form below CLICK HERE
The audition schedule will be posted at performers.hugetheater.com as soon as possible – if you have any questions or concerns please email firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a very special day for non-profits in MN – known as Give To the Max Day (GTMD) – a single day of giving to organizations in MN produced by GiveMN.org – It is on that day that HUGE holds our annual fundraiser known as IMPROVATHON!!
Beginning on Wednesday November 13th and running until just after midnight Thursday, November 14th – for the entire 28 hours, HUGE Theater is filled with non-stop improv, celebration of this community, amazing and touching fundraising efforts and so. much coffee.
This is a crucial day for HUGE Theater – in years past it has been GTMD that allows us to forgo fundraising of our audiences year round, allowing people to come enjoy the shows and defer their Minnesotan guilt about giving until November every year…more on that below.
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.
Afternoon Printing once again produced all of our Improvathon shirts and they are spectacular as always!
@commonroots – @steamshipcoffee – @AftnPrnt
Please help us thank them !
The Improvathon is also a competition – performers and Iron Audience can win workshops, super-exclusive swag and the coveted plaque on the theater wall with their fundraising!
We are excited to announce that the fund-raising-est groups were:
HUGE STUDENT JAM!
The top Iron Audience fundraisers were:
ANONYMOUS (we know who you are…AGAIN)
SARA ANN AVELSGAARD
Thank you (thank you, THANK YOU) to everyone that helped schedule and wrangle, volunteered, posted, tweeted, watched, ushered, cleaned, brewed more coffee, staffed the box office, took photos, performed, hassled relatives near and far to donate and made us weep with joy.
HUGE focuses all our energy and efforts on this day to fund our programs, scholarships, staffing and the glamorous work of keeping an arts non-profit open all year long.
Official Improvathon 2019 Grand Total: $57,500!!
The “Now What?”
This year we set our goal at $75,000 – which we obviously did not reach but this number (and this event) are no less amazing and inspiring.
It was less than a decade ago when having a theater for improv was a crazy dream and charging $5 for a show was risky – in our early years this was an unthinkable amount to raise – we knew that it was shooting for the stars (especially in the same year we made a bold attempt at a new building), and we have been keeping an eye on the fundraising trends in the arts and across industries… which is all a way of saying that we knew it was a real possibility that we would raise less for GTMD2019.
This means some changes – we have programs that we firmly believe need to grow and crazy dreams yet to be realized – fundraising will ebb and flow but HUGE continues will always need to adapt
The most noticeable change was one foreshadowed earlier – we cannot simply continue to wait for GTMD to ask for the donations we need year round, so you will see and hear more direct asks for support at HUGE – while this is something we know will change the experience of coming to HUGE, we hope that asking the people that enjoy the shows more directly to supporting this place will also help them feel more connected to the continuing survival and success of the theater.
The reality is that we’ve had a few very good years of hitting our fundraising targets, grants and growth – and while it’s been good to be out of “survival mode” for awhile, we always try to keep in mind that those things can change and we may need those survival skills again.
The dream of owning a building continues and those efforts resume in full now that GTMD2019 is behind us – with additional operations fundraising to be done as well – because owning our building is the big step toward long-term security we can make, but we want to make sure that we maintain the health and security of the organization until that day.
There will be a lot more specifics and visible efforts rolling out as more and more schemes take shape – as well as the official updates at our annual public event at the HUGE 9th Anniversary Show on Jan 25th!
I know it can feel hard to be upbeat about all of this – the capital push and GTMD falling short of their goals – but it is always more-than balanced by this tremendous community and the continuous love and support that keep this place going, that it something hard to show on a spreadsheet or a budget or a blog post.
There is so much meaning beyond the number after the dollar sign, those are the things that are hardest to quantify.
The crazy ideas people launched to raise money this year, the surprise of getting large checks for our new building from family members or even people we’d never met (but they know someone that loves HUGE so very much that they were moved to give), the scope of just how far and wide this community reaches.
Last – and absolutely not least – the simple fact that dozens of people are willing to bring themselves to this place to spend 28 hours laughing together and connecting with one another, supporting one another as well as this place and telling everyone how much they love it … how many non-profit organizations can say that?
How many non-profit organizations have the privilege to serve a community and an art form like this one?
I don’t think there are any communities like ours.
I think we are lucky beyond measure to be able to continue to do what we do for this community, this art form and these people – more often, it is impossible not to be excited and energetic about what we get to do
And what comes next.
Thank you all
Executive Director of HUGE Theater and Humble Servant
There are no words to express the grief we feel over the loss of beloved local improvisor Ray Hakko, who passed away December 4, 2019.
He wrote about his journey to improv through the 55+ program at the Brave New Workshop. His passion soon spilled over and Ray found his way to HUGE Theater. As a student, audience member, and performer, Ray became much beloved for his understated warmth, kindness, and imagination, and inspired us all with his example as a life-long learner. His absence will be painfully felt, but his impact on our community will be with us for a long time to come.
Every Tuesday re-starting in May 2020 5-6:30PM, $10 suggested donation, free for members.
An ongoing investigation of improvisational scenework with local instructors, open to all experience levels. No registration required, just drop in! One student writes: ” I am just so darn grateful for the chance to learn from these experienced improvisers. These classes are a gold mine for me. Here I get the chance to practice with improvisers of all levels…. So valuable.” Suitable for students over age 18.
**Due to theater precautionary measures – All Drop-in Classes will be cancelled and rescheduled through April 2020. Stay healthy and stay safe, friends!**
“I’m a Kite: Teathering Your Absurdity” with Becci Schmidt
“A Little Evening of Big Specificity in Place/Object/Relationship” with Michael Rogers
“LISTEN UP” with MJ Marsh
“Three’s Company” with Nate Hessburg
“All By Myself – What the Heck is Solo Improv” with Cody Madison
…more classes to come! This is an ongoing class, upcoming teachers and subjects TBA
|WEDNESDAY, NOV 13|
|8 PM||Butts & Beef|
|8:30 PM||Mud Coven|
|9:30 PM||The Shrieking Harpies|
|10 PM||The Bearded Company|
|10:30 PM||Feel Good About Yourself Orchestra|
|11:40 PM||Last Action Movie|
|THURSDAY, NOV 14||GIVE TO THE MAX DAY!!!|
|12 AM||GttMD Kickoff/The Ops Team|
|1 AM||Larry the Fable Guy|
|1:30 AM||Hollow Bones|
|2:30 AM||Shelly & Ethel: Take the Stage!! presents “”We’re All Doomed,”” a live improvisational show about Who Cares P.S. Butch don’t take any of this out this is all part of the title; yes, this part too. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯|
|3 AM||201: Kelly & Julietta Edition|
|3:30 AM||The Kid|
|4 AM||Ghoulish Endeavors|
|4:30 AM||Sympathetic Magic|
|5 AM||Michael and Bret in the Morning|
|6 AM||Cloud Wars|
|6:30 AM||Swoon River|
|7 AM||STUDENT JAM!|
|8 AM||Benches (with Pam)|
|8:20 AM||Subatomic Duck|
|8:40 AM||Non-zero Chance|
|9 AM||Resist Sleep|
|9:20 AM||USA’s Newest Duo!|
|9:40 AM||Hotel Shampoo|
|10 AM||Awesome Floss|
|10:30 AM||Community Ed|
|12 NOON||LUNCH BREAK|
|1:30 PM||Kids at Camp|
|2:30 PM||Randomly Chosen|
|3:30 PM||Fickle Me, Zelmo|
|4 PM||STUDENT JAM!|
|4:30 PM||15 for 2|
|5 PM||Women of a Certain Height|
|5:40 PM||DINNER BREAK|
|6 PM||CLEAN UP|
|6:40 PM||Thursday Night Bingo Club|
|7 PM||POC Ensemble Jam|
|7:20 PM||Rat Queen|
|7:40 PM||The Provettes|
|10 PM||The Mess|
|11:30 PM||Drum Machine|
|12 MIDNIGHT||RESULTS AND |
WE ALL FALL DOWN!
Improvisers at HUGE Improv Theater are taking the stage — and not giving it back for 28 hours — to raise money for
Improv Performance Request: https://hugetheater.formstack.com/forms/iat19
Iron Audience Contender: http://tinyurl.com/iat19iron
NOTE: We’re having some trouble with the Iron Audience
There is an Improvathon Kickoff Meeting at HUGE Theater – October 16th at 6pm!
Come ask questions, get more info and meet your fellow contenders as we gear up for GTMD2019!
The Improvathon gets underway on Wednesday night, November 13, starting at 8PM, leading up to the official Give to the Max Day start at midnight on Thursday, November 14.
A succession of more than 125 local improvisers will lead audiences through 28 hours of spontaneous, unrehearsed, improvised theater. The program will end at midnight Nov. 14.
The goal of HUGE’s 28-hour Improvathon is to raise funds for the LynLake-area theater and support improvisational theater in the Twin Cities. In addition to producing 500+ shows a year, HUGE teaches 600+ students annually, and supports the education and career development of performing artists.
Admission is pay-what-you-can, with a suggested minimum donation of $10. HUGE is located at 3037 Lyndale Ave. South near Lake and Lyndale in Minneapolis.
What is Improvathon?
Improvathon is a 28-hour improv marathon fundraiser benefiting HUGE Improv Theater. It is timed to coincide with GiveMN.org’s Give to the Max Day, an annual statewide day of giving, on Thursday, November 14, 2019.
What is the schedule?
Starts: Wednesday, November 13 at 8:00PM
Ends: Thursday, November 14 at 11:59PM
So that’s it? 28-hours of improv and fundraising?
Basically! But it ends up being much more. It is a chance for the larger community – students, performers and audience — to get together. In years past, the Improvathon has been the impetus for brand new groups to form. It is also an important opportunity for many students and performers to get on stage and show their friends and family – inside and outside the Twin Cities — why improv and HUGE are important to them.
Also, there are amazing people who sign up to be Iron Audience contenders and watch 24-hours of improv. These intrepid souls form the backbone of the audience, especially at 3:30 in the morning, and support performers.
Why does HUGE schedule this to coincide with GiveMN.org’s Give to the Max Day?
Give to the Max Day (GTMD) is an important arts and nonprofit awareness tool that makes a big impact statewide. By participating in GTMD, we are part of a much larger event, and are supporting fellow Minnesota nonprofits.
In addition, HUGE will be eligible to win $1,000 – $10,000 extra dollars based on incentives from GiveMN.
2019 Prizes include
– $500 Golden Tickets every 15 minutes
– two “Power Hour” challenges – each worth $6,000
– hourly $1000 Golden Tickets
– $500 Early Giving Tickets, starting Nov 1
– the final $10,000 Golden Ticket!
Every donation through GiveMN on GTMD is an entry to win those prizes.
What are some easy ways I can participate?
Come watch some shows – Bonus points if you make a donation to HUGE via GiveMN.org at home and then bring a printout to HUGE.
Be an Iron Audience Contender – If you are comfortable with staying up for 24-hours (midnight to midnight), this could be a great option. If not, just come out and watch some shows! A lot of us will be there, and it will be fun. (See Iron Audience FAQ below for more details.)
Volunteer – We’ll need 30 hours of box officers, tech booth operators, help with food, general tidying, massage therapists (?), you name it! A volunteer sign-up sheet will be posted soon.
Encourage people to contribute before they come to the theater – Our goal is to get donors to donate online and bring a printout w/ them to HUGE. It’s faster/easier for them and for the box office.
Offer or find a Matching Grant – GiveMN has piles of research that says projects with Matching Grants receive more donations. A Matching Grant can be as small as $100 to be effective. Contact butch at hugetheater dot com if you’re interested.
Donate! – Back one or more teams of your choosing, don’t be shy.
Spread the word– Word of mouth is incredibly important to HUGE, not only for the Improvathon, but for all our shows. If you haven’t reviewed HUGE on Google, consider doing that.
Sincere, great reviews are among the most valuable gifts you can give.
FAQ FOR IMPROV PERFORMERS
How many performance slots are there, and how do I sign up?
There are approximately 42 timeslots available, about the same as last year. The link to the form to request a performance time is: https://hugetheater.formstack.com/forms/iat19.
**registration does not guarantee a spot as an Iron Audience or in the schedule as a Performer – though we will do our best to accommodate requests**
Can I be in more than one group that performs?
Of course! We just ask that you consider how thin you are spreading yourself in terms of time and energy, but also your ability to contribute to each groups’ fundraising goals. Also know that there are a lot of improvisers who want to participate, and so try to leave room for others.
Is there a prize?
Yes. The performer/group that raises the most funds will receive a custom coaching session from a special guest, either in March or during Twin Cities Improv Festival in June. In addition, the group will receive their name on the wall, bragging rights, and HUGE scarves.
Pro Tip: Finding matching grants for your group are a great strategy if you want to win the top fundraising prize, but also is a great thing for people that want to give before Give to the Max Day. It is a great way to get the word out and start fundraising right away. At present, we don’t have a matching donor set up. You could get one for your own group. Or ask your work if they donate to 501c3 nonprofits like HUGE.
I’m uncomfortable with fundraising, but I want to perform. Can I just sign up for a performance time?
Not really. Improvathon is HUGE’s biggest annual fundraiser. We are asking each performance time to try to raise at least $500. In years past we haven’t specifically asked groups to fundraise as part of this event, but it is very important to sustaining the theater. Part of our hope and vision that Improvathon could raise $100,000 or more for HUGE this year. (It sounds like a lot, but that’s about two month’s operating expenses.)
We will do our best to make fundraising easy for you – and there are a lot of tools to do that, through GiveMN.org’s online donation site and through tips and samples we will provide. Keep in mind, this isn’t about cold calling strangers. You’ll be asking family and friends who know you, and are asking them to support a nonprofit cause that’s personally important to you.
If you are truly uncomfortable asking friends and family to donate, please choose another way to perform at HUGE. Everyone is welcome to Space Jam each week, or to enter the Improv A Go Go lottery, or to take a class and perform in the showcase, or to submit a show idea, or all of the above. And those are just the opportunities at HUGE, there are many more in the Twin Cities. All to say, this is not just a performance slot, it is a chance to financially support a nonprofit theater with a mission to support the improv community.
Cool, I will renew my Membership that day for part of my fundraising goal!
Oh, gosh, you guys. Members and Memberships are ALWAYS very much appreciated but administering this has grown too complex to sustain. We’ve enacted a rule that memberships — while enormously appreciated — will not count toward Improvathon team goals nor will it count toward the final tally of what is raised during Improvathon.
FAQ for IRON AUDIENCE
Every year, around 11-25 people sign up to be Iron Audience contenders, which means they plan to stay awake to watch 24-hours of improv (midnight to midnight).
Does having an Iron Audience really help?
Performers are grateful for the Iron Audience, and the tremendous boost their presence gives. In return, performers work hard to create the best show possible for the audience, even at — or maybe especially at — 3AM. Beyond that, Iron Audience helps HUGE by posting on social media and, of course, and by raising funds.
What does an Iron Audience contender get?
Those who watch 24 hours of improv (midnight to midnight) get their name on HUGE’s wall and a badge, plus an Improvathon T-shirt. Beyond that, HUGE does what it can to make Iron Audience contenders welcome and comfortable.
This year, the Iron Audience contender who raises the most funds will receive a Golden Ticket to HUGE, good for a year of free shows, and a HUGE Theater scarf. All Iron Audience contenders that complete the 24-hours will get their names on HUGE’s wall, plus a T-shirt and badge.
What are the Iron Audience rules?
The rules are based in the honor system — the idea is to be in the theater watching performances, and no performances can be skipped. Sleeping through shows and/or being absent from the theater are outside of the spirit of the event. That said, people need to take breaks for bathroom and snacks, and may want to step outside under the awning to get some fresh air. It is also possible a person might doze off here and there. All of these things are acceptable.
The Iron Audience portion of the event runs for 24-hours and begins promptly at 12:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 14. There is a kick-off reception and four hours of improv prior to that (starting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday night) that you are of course welcome to attend. But it’s not part of Iron Audience.
What if I change my mind, or get sick, or get called into work?
This is a low-pressure, low-stakes event where your health and peace of mind are top priority. For that reason, we reserve the right to discontinue any person’s participation in Iron Audience, including in concern for health, safety or comfort. If at any point you’re feeling sick and/or just need to take a break or go home, you should! We will never stop being grateful for all you do.
I’m uncomfortable with fundraising, but I want to be an Iron Audience contender. Can I just show up and stay?
Not exactly. You are certainly free to come to HUGE and watch as much improv as you’d like! To participate as an Iron Audience contender, though, is to participate in an important part of the fundraiser. This portion of the event is arguably the most “a-
We will do our best to make fundraising easy for you – and there are a lot of tools to do that, through GiveMN.org’s online donation site and through tips and samples we will provide. Keep in mind, this isn’t about calling strangers. You’ll be asking family and friends who know you, and are asking them to support a nonprofit cause that’s personally important to you.
I don’t see the answer to my question here – who can I contact?
Feel free to send questions to Sean at hugetheater dot com.
What were those registration links again?
Improv Performance Request: https://hugetheater.formstack.com/forms/iat19
Iron Audience Contender: http://tinyurl.com/iat19iron
NOTE: we seem to be having some trouble with the Iron Audience
This came to our by way of FairPlay with an ask that we make a statement in response :
“The [ directors ] that HUGE Theater hires for their shows to produce are seemingly missing the intersection in representation. While I applaud the number of non-male identified people they have hired to direct, they are aggressively white, and often will employ a POC female as an Assistant Director. This is not a good look and I don’t feel comfortable informing people of auditions there when there is no POC in leadership roles in the rehearsal rooms. Their diversity leader is looking more and more like a token as far as leadership at HUGE.”
OF NOTE: This came to us at a time when the Assistant Directors (which we certainly view as a leadership role) were still TBD and conversations are still in progress – we made sure to make this note a part of that conversation as well so there was full disclosure and no one would have to wonder if this was a factor
We have been talking to people of color about the director’s chair – Those we have spoken to for Throwback Night have either had schedule conflicts or don’t feel ready themselves.
Those we haven’t spoken to yet may not be on our radar yet as people we know to be interested or perhaps a better fit for another show in the future.
All that means is we are going to keep asking and working – the process isn’t just pushing a boulder up a hill, it’s pushing ten boulders up ten hills and we know we have a lot more to do and none of those boulders has moved as far as we’d like.
We have had some failures where in the rush to diversify, POC improvisors found themselves in less-than-optimal circumstances which is the opposite of the dream. We understand you’d rather we worked faster, so it’s ok if you don’t feel we’ve gotten far enough for you to send people our way, that comfort and trust is what we’re doing a lot of work to earn.
The truth is that you’re right – we’re not there yet.
If we were only doing it for good optics it would be so much easier, but we’re not.
We are hoping you will stick around, because what we are building has a solid foundation, with an eye on sustainability – and we want you to be part of it as well.
To anyone reading: if you feel like you personally have been overlooked for a director’s position at HUGE, please come speak to us, it is a conversation that cannot be had through blog posts
Thank you for calling it out!
Written/Posted by: Butch Roy
on behalf of the leadership team at HUGE
Saturday, September 28th, 4:30-6:30pm | Free!
It’s the Annual Happy Hour with the Board of Directors!
Come have a soda or beer, and we will share all the latest news about HUGE and our future plans.
This is one of our favorite traditions and a very important way for us to hear from the people we serve as well as report to them how we are doing. This is a two-way sharing that makes HUGE better.
– Open House from 4:30-5pm – come see the space!
– Meeting from 5-6:30pm – You can come for all of it or just drop in when you can!
If you have questions you’d like the Board of Directors to answer during the Happy Hour, ask them using the link below (anonymously or non-anonymously …nononymously?) and we’ll answer them at the meeting!