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Show Proposals now open!

HUGE show proposals are now open!
Please submit your show for a 2022 run before November 15th

If you cannot see the form below, click HERE

If you have any questions or concerns, please email butch@hugetheater.com

Improvathon 2021 Registration and FAQs!

Improvisers at HUGE Improv Theater are taking the stage — and not giving it back for 28 hours — to raise money for this non-profit, artist-led improvisational theater. It’s a one-of-a-kind fundraising barnstorm that coincides with Give to the Max Day, November 18, an annual event when Minnesotans display their generosity by celebrating and donating to local nonprofits through GiveMN.org.

This year, as HUGE builds back after 15 months of COVID closure, this event is more important than ever. And we’re so excited to be back in the building for this one.

Are you a performer or community member wanting to know more? 
Check out this video of our Sept 23 kick-off meeting!


Improv Performance Request: https://hugetheater.formstack.com/forms/iat2021reg
Due by Oct 24.


Improvathon will follow all of HUGE Theater’s standard COVID-related policies. These include:

  • All individuals entering the building must show proof of full vaccination – this includes staff, volunteers, audience, and performers.
  • Anyone in the building must be properly masked at all times, with the exception of performers backstage and on-stage.
  • Our seating capacity will be capped at 75%.


Every year there has been an in-person Improvathon, we have had an “Iron Audience” that commits to staying at the Theater for the entire duration of the event to watch shows. These intrepid souls are a treasured part of the Improvathon experience. For the sake of COVID safety, we are delaying until mid-October the decision on whether to have an Iron Audience on-site, have an online-only Iron Audience, or a mix of both. Stay tuned for more details!


What is the schedule?
Starts: Wednesday, November 17 at 8:00PM
Ends: Thursday, November 18 at 11:59PM
Performances will take the stage in 20-30 minute blocks, throughout.

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, 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.

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 an extra $500 – $10,000 based on incentives from GiveMN.

2021 Prizes include:

  • $500 Golden Tickets every 15 minutes
  • Hourly $1000 Golden Tickets
  • Two “Power Hour” challenges – each worth $6,000
  • $500 Early Giving Tickets, daily starting Nov 1
  • The final $10,000 Super-size Golden Ticket!

Every donation of $5+ 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. $10 suggested donation, stay for as long as you’d like!

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 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.


How many performance slots are there, and how do I sign up?
There are approximately 42 timeslots available. The link to the form to request a performance time is:https://hugetheater.formstack.com/forms/iat2021reg.

**registration does not guarantee a spot in the schedule as a performer – though we will do our best to accommodate all requests**

Can I be in more than one group that performs?
Absolutely! 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. We set a minimum goal of $500 for each performance timeslot, which is very achievable, but it doesn’t pay to spread yourself TOO thin.

I’m uncomfortable doing an in-person person performance… can I do something online, like last year’s Improvathon?
While we’d love to have as many in-house performances as possible, we understand that not everyone is comfortable returning to in-person gatherings just yet, and we respect that. There is a place on the registration form to indicate if you’d prefer to do an online performance. We haven’t yet determined the logistics of how that will work, but we will assure that your online performance can be a part of Improvathon in some way.

Is there a prize?
Yes. The 3 performers/groups that raise the most funds will receive a workshop from a special guest during Twin Cities Improv Festival in June. In addition, the group will receive their name on the wall, bragging rights, and a to-be-determined piece of new HUGE swag.

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 501(c)3 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. Part of our goal is that Improvathon will beat lasts year’s fundraising total of $50,007. We truly believe we can get there and then some! But it does need to be an all-hands on deck situation.

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 giving family and friends an opportunity to support something you love!

If you are truly uncomfortable asking friends and family to donate, this is not the right HUGE performance opportunity for you. Everyone is welcome to enter the Improv-A-Go-Go lottery, or take a class and perform in the showcase, or 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.

Can I renew my Membership that day for part of my fundraising goal?
Members and Memberships are ALWAYS very much appreciated but we’ve enacted a rule that memberships will not count toward Improvathon team goals nor will it count toward the final tally of what is raised during Improvathon. Our membership system is totally separate from GiveMN.org, which makes it logistically impractical.

When should I start seeking donations?
The IDEAL day to receive donations is on Give to the Max Day itself — November 18, because that’s when most of the Golden Ticket prizes are given out. But donations November 1-17 are also eligible for early Golden Ticket. So we encourage you to start making those donation asks any time in November, but encourage people to give on the day, if they can.

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 was that registration link again?
Improv Performance Request: https://hugetheater.formstack.com/forms/iat2

Things you might’ve learned in 101, 201 and 301 but maybe you didn’t or maybe you forgot or maybe a pandemic happened, ha ha anyway….

Hi students – Jill Bernard, Director of Education at HUGE Theater here.

Several of you asked for a little summary of what you would have maybe perhaps learned in each of the levels at HUGE – because we all feel rusty after the lockdown, and some of us have only done improv on Zoom! Here are some write-ups. What’s interesting is this is from MY perspective as the Director of the Program. One of the things I’m most proud of is that each of our teachers were brought on board because they have something valuable to say about improv from their own perspectives. So the insights and exercises below might not match up 100% with what your teacher presented, but that’s all right.

Things you might have learned in 101 – click here.

Things you might have learned in 201 – click here.

Things you might have learned in 301 – click here.

An Introduction to Edits

There are lots of ways to get from scene to scene, here are some popular ones and one variation of how to execute them. These edits are used differently by different groups, and can be adapted as needed. The source of most of these edits is iO Theater in Chicago.

SweepWhen the scene is over, run across in front. Some groups make that person stay and start the next scene, I think it looks better if they do not and other people start the next scene.
Tag OutDan and Janet are doing a scene. Ted tags Janet on the shoulder. Janet gets out of there, Dan stays the same character and has a scene with Ted.The main purpose of this edit is because we want to learn more about a character by seeing her in a different context. This can also be used to create a montage. A string of people can tag in so we see a series of short scenes where Dan’s interviewing for jobs or being mean to the elderly.  A classic way to end a montage is by having the original scene partner tag back in and say a last line.
Movie/Cut ToA person comes onstage and uses their hands like the viewfinder of a camera and they say, “We leave this store and pan over to a parking garage. It’s late at night and it’s cold and water is dripping from the roof. There is only one car here” or something like that. They’re describing how the transition would happen in a movie, so it can be anything. Then other people start the scene in that new location. (This edit is part of a larger form called “The Movie” and is very thoroughly explained in the UCB Comedy Manual.) A very simplified version, especially useful later in the show when we’ve picked up momentum, is just called the “Cut to” edit. Someone might say, “Cut back to the barbershop” or another location, new or previously established. 
TransformerEveryone on the outside of the scene copies something physical/vocal that happened and transition it into the next scene, i.e. BOB: I like tuna! TRACY: Ugh! (she throws her arms up in the air)Everyone else starts throwing their arms up in the air and saying “Ugh!” and they take over the whole stage. Eventually that becomes something else in a mirror-exercise kind of way. It might transform a couple of times. Then someone turns that into a new scene and everyone else clears the stage. 
Cross FadeSCENE A is happening. Bob enters downstage and begins something unrelated without making eye contact with the players in SCENE A. Someone joins him. The players in SCENE A finish what they’re doing and exit to the back line as elegantly as possible.

This edit is a fun challenge to execute. You have to leave a little extra space so that we can hear what’s happening in the other scene in the moments in which they overlap. You have to fade out SCENE A without making it look like a mistake or getting quiet and timid. Bob may have to repeat things that he said in case his scene partner didn’t hear them while the scenes were overlapping. 
Two more basic “edits” to consider:
LeavingThere’s no need to practice this one, but it is the most easily forgotten. “Hey let’s go to the Dairy Queen,” then you physically leave the stage and the scene is over. 
Split ScreenThis is not really an edit, it is two scenes happening simultaneously. Two players are having a scene. Two other player are having a different scene in a different place happening at the same time. Think “Summer Lovin'” from Grease where we get to see what the boys are up to and what the girls are up to simultaneously through the miracle of give and take.

Every edit effects the mood and pace of a set. Here’s a brief discussion of WHY you might select a given edit, what form traditionally uses this edit, pros/cons/strengths/weaknesses, and what would be a group’s intention in selecting this edit.

Tag OutQuickly switches a character
Belongs to: “La Ronde” – Intent: to quickly insert a character that can highlight the first characters wants and quirks.
Also belongs to: “Armando” – Intent: to play a game of the scene quickly. 
Movie/Cut ToSolves the problem of having no sets or costumes
Belongs to: “The Movie”
Intent: to be as cinematic as possible.
TransformerPhysically connects scenes
Belongs to: “The Beast” and other organic forms
Intent: to connect to the space and each other in a physical and emotional way. 
Cross FadeCreates a pleasing friction and edits with less mechanics
Belongs to: “Scramble”
Intent: to be more theatrical and have the mechanics of improv be more invisible.
Follow the LeaverCan be used to break an addiction to plot
Belongs to: “Follow the Leaver” and “The Butch”
Intent: to follow any character, not just the logical one. 
Sweep“Sweeps” the stage clean of the previous scene
Belongs to: “Harold” and many other forms.
Intent: to clearly indicate a new scene.

Stage Picture

Excerpted and adapted by Jill Bernard from The Complete Play Production Handbook by Carl Allensworth. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1973. including Figures 6-12, 6-13, and 6-14.

Who has the focus in this scene?  What is giving him focus?

(Nick Rindo, Madhu Bangalore, Michael Larson. Photo credit: Divya Maiya)

“Stage picture” is what the audience sees at any given moment during the performance.

Theater artists are subject to the same esthetic laws as any other graphic artist.  The stage picture must have one or more points of emphasis to give it form and order.  It must have stability to hold it in place.  It must have balance to satisfy the unconscious esthetic demands of the audience.


Unless the characters who do most of the speaking are made visually emphatic, the audience may spend have of its time trying to locate the speaker and during the process it will lose much of what is being said.  The result can only be a confusing performance and a confused audience. A composition in which every part is just as emphatic as every other part would end up being about as interesting as wallpaper.  

To achieve emphasis, we use:

  • body position
  • level
  • area
  • space
  • repetition/reinforcement
  • contrast
  • focus
  • light 

Body position

There are five standard body positions:  

Picture 3.png

(image credit: http://www.quia.com/pages/actingchap4.html)

These are listed in order left to right of strength of emphasis.  Full front is usually the strongest body position.  Full back is usually the weakest.  (“Usually” because there are other choices you can make in terms of levels and area that change the emphasis.)

It might seem the most realistic to always stand in profile when you speak to your scene partner, but in actuality, it is a relatively weak move that lacks emphasis or variety.  


The stage is divided into areas.  Downstage is usually a stronger choice than upstage, but variety is essential.  Use all of the stage.    

(image credit: http://plays.about.com/od/basics/ss/stageright.htm)


On the stage, increased height almost always lends to increased emphasis to an actor.  HUGE Theater is limited in terms of what levels are available: standing on the theater floor; lying, sitting or standing on the stage floor; seated on a chair; standing on a chair; on the backstage ladder.  Levels can be used to increase emphasis, increase or decrease status, or add variety.  


Contrast can modify or reverse what position is most powerful.  For example, if all of the actors are lined up standing full front to the audience except one, who is standing with her back to the audience, she is the one who will be the emphatic figure.


The amount of space between the actors tells a story, and should be played with. 


Two or more actors in the same physical position creates strength.

(Mike DallaValle and Julie Vaughan, photo credit Andy Katzung)


The audience will look where everyone onstage is looking.  If we are all looking at one actor, that person has focus.  If we are making a V and one actor is at the point, that person will have focus.  A single person in motion tends to have focus.

Triangles are one simple and visually pleasing way to give focus.  Whoever is at the point of a triangle or an inverted triangle, usually has focus. The shaded dot in the following two figures is the person with focus.  

stagepic3 (2).jpg


Being lit can give emphasis.  Learn to feel when the light is on your face.  

Multiple Emphasis

It’s easy to emphasize one one actor, it’s harder to emphasize more than one – it employs the same principles described above, but requires greater awareness.  


When the full stage is being used, an audience tends to divide it in half, and it expects the weight on the right side of the stage to approximate the weight on the left side.  If the stage is unbalanced, the audience tends to be very uncomfortable, either consciously or unconsciously.  

It does not need to be pound-for-pound physical balance.  A single figure on one side of the stage can balance an entire crowd if the single figure is far enough away from the fulcrum. 

physical balance.png

You can add weight to one side of the stage or the other by using emphasis to create esthetic balance. Levels, space, body position, contrast and light can add weight to create balance.  

esthetic balance.png


If everything is happening upstage, the audience loses involvement.  Keep some action in the downstage corners to pin down the stage picture. 

stability crooked.png


A cross is the movement of a character from one place to another onstage.  A direct cross is straight across the stage to the person or target.  A curved cross makes an arc and has a different emotional impact and style.  

Once someone has crossed, the balance of the stage picture will have changed and you’re now telling a different visual story.  How will you rebalance the stage?    

There is a lot more to say about movement, please notice it and play with it in rehearsal.  Whether you stay still or move during, before or after speaking makes a large impact, and should be considered.  

Limited Show Proposal window now open!

Hello hello! As we look ahead to the Fall/Winter and getting back up to our full show calendar capacity, we are currently taking submissions for a limited number of shows. We will first prioritize re-scheduling shows that lost their scheduled HUGE run in 2020 (which were many! we had much of the year scheduled) and then fill in the Fall/Winter calendar from there. We are currently predominantly taking submissions for HUGE Wednesday runs, though there might be a weekend slot available, depending on availability of rescheduled the shows. We’re ramping back up to it on a faster-than-normal (lol what is “normal” now) timeline so this proposal window will be OPEN UNTIL AUGUST 10TH. Scheduling will be done throughout that window with all decisions made by August 31st. You will hear from us either way.

For anyone not familiar with HUGE Wednesdays, it is a weekly show Wednesdays at 8p that features 4 different groups doing a 25min set each. Your group, if scheduled, would run Sept/Oct or Nov/Dec. (The group performing-order for the show each night may have some flexibility from week to week throughout your run and the Artistic Director and House Managers would help facilitate making that lineup).

Our weekend shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 8p, 930p and 1030p and also are scheduled in 2-month runs (Sept/Oct or Nov/Dec for this current submission window).

Feel free to email rita@hugetheater.com if you have any questions!

If you cannot see the form above, please follow this link: https://forms.gle/RFJmT77AnhUiHhGcA

A note from Rita…

Hi HUGE Community!

Well, here we are. We’re all crawling back into the world and we’re all a little wobbly at best, but I am so overwhelmingly happy that the wobbly path is leading us all back to the HUGE stage. This place was never meant to be empty so long and I can’t wait for it to be filled with loud and unapologetic joy again.

I wanted to let you know that I will be leaving my role as Artistic Director. Though there is some flexibility in my timeline as I want to make sure HUGE is as set up as possible to keep moving onward and upward in this new world, I will transition out fully by the end of August. 

My breath runs short every time I think about ending my tenure here, but like so much of the world, I happen to be crawling out of this last year and a half a totally changed person with a new recognition of my time and my energy and all the ways I was dividing myself up in too many little pieces. I realized I need to be more picky and precious with my time and that my family, my artistic endeavors and my life outside of work deserve the best parts of me so I am moving forward with that focus.

I am so proud to have served in the role of Artistic Director, and I am so indescribably grateful for the opportunity to have worked with and alongside this team and this community. You trusted me with a big new thing at HUGE, to help lead a theater that was and is and will always be so beloved, and I am forever changed by my time here. I hope I haven’t let you down. 

And though I know it is a tough time to leave, I am so excited for what comes next. I am so excited for the next person to keep building alongside John in the coming years as he takes on his new role as Executive Director; and with the rest of the HUGE team, Board and community to keep making HUGE the leader and beacon that it is. To keep calling out to the world, “You are welcome here. This art is for you, too.” I can’t wait to continue to be on stage here as an advocate and representative of those values. I can’t wait to get back to teaching and coaching when my energy can be in the right place again. I hope to still be with you all every step of the way. 

I will miss so much of this. No job will ever be this funny. Or this weird. Or this wonderful. But mostly I am just so grateful. Thanks to Butch, Jill, John, Sean, Breanna (and all of you!), for holding me up these last 3 years. And for never, not even once, asking me to make a phone call.

Be good to yourselves and to each other. Keep making stuff. I’ll see you out there.


Taking Submissions for Summer Potluck

Hi! What a time! Wowowowow, it’s all happening!
HUGE is now accepting submissions to schedule a limited number of shows Fridays and Saturdays through July and August, LIVE IN-PERSON shows as we work to get back up to full capacity and stay within safety guidelines and recommendations.
“Summer Potluck” will run at 8pm and a 9:30pm, both nights, with the possibility of 1-2 groups performing per show (sets would be either 25 or 45 minutes, depending).
It will be a bunch of different groups getting a chance to get up and remembering what it’s like to do improv in real life. On a stage! With people watching! Just so we can all shake the rust and dust off and engage audiences with a whole joyful smorgasbord of improv to choose from this summer.

Everything is subject to change, according to any state and CDC guidelines:
For Performers and staff:
Vaccination expected. Masks on in all common areas (lobby, bathrooms, moving throughout the theater). Masks optional in green room and on stage.
For Audience:
Vaccination expected (we will not ask for proof). Masks required in all common areas (lobby, bathrooms, moving throughout the theater). Masks encouraged while seated. We will ask for distancing to extent possible.
We will be operating at 75% seating capacity. Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the space and the HVAC is equipped with filtration.

If you are interested in submitting your show/group for a spot in Summer Potluck, please fill out the form below. Depending on availability, capacity and timing, it is possible that groups could have between 1-3 performances. The lineup will be curated with a mix of invited and submitted shows. Not all submitted shows will be scheduled.
This form will gather availability/interest, show-length preference, as well as agreement to safety guidelines.

We are so excited to get back into the world with you all. Thank you for your patience, and thank you for coming back with us.

*This proposal window will close June 15th so don’t fret if you haven’t heard from the Artistic team until then. HUGE will be closed to the public the other days of the week so there will be ample rehearsal space open and available, should your group want it.

If form isn’t showing up for you, follow this link:


BaF / TCIFs – Selections

We are excited to announce that Black and Funny Improv Festival and Twin Cities Improv Festival performing lineup for the in-person shows at the Bakken Museum
Online shows to be announced soon !

Please join us in congratulating :

Brotha Brotha
Feel Good About Yourself Orchestra
Gay/Straight Alliance
Mud Coven
Show XX
Shrieking Harpies
The Bearded Company
The Mess
the Provettes
Where I Am Now
Wicked Witches of the Midwest

The complete schedule, ticket information and COVID safety protocols will be coming soon!
Improv live on stage in front of an audience – can’t wait!