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BAF / TCIFs – Update and correction

Hey all – I know many of you have been waiting patiently for more information as the previous post about the combined festivals promised a much smaller-than-usual submission process.
Some updates on that front :

After our initial announcement, we began the process by reaching out to all groups that were invited to perform in the canceled festival in 2020.

Sadly, as things developed with the Bakken, the time we have for performances each day and number of days we have for performances was even smaller than anticipated and – in the end – we ended up needing to make cuts even from the list of groups that we had contacted to check interest and availability from 2020

Leaving no space for a submission process.
I’m sorry to bring the bad news for groups that were waiting to submit and I apologize for the premature announcement during a developing plan for this year

Work continues as we firm up both the final arrangements with the venue and a final version of the lineup that represents both festivals – we hope to send emails to groups very soon and post the lineup publicly very soon after that.

Stay tuned for more details and information as we prepare for our return to live, in-person shows this summer
Thank you, as always, for your understanding and support

Butch

HUGE Artist Summit 2021 – A recap!

This last year has been so isolating. We don’t need to tell you… you know. So this year, we loosely themed our Artist Summit around connection — across distances of space and identity. The event ended up being a perfect mix of inspiring, heart-warming, and practically informative. All the sessions were recorded to our Youtube channel, and we hope you’ll get a chance to give them a watch.

Improv Histories

We kicked things off with the premiere of Jill Bernard’s new video series, Improv Histories. She sought out improvisers from across the world to talk about the origins of improv in their countries and how that informs their improv today. The interviews are fascinating and hilarious, including a story from Raffi, who took out a very unusual bank loan… a couple unusual bank loans, in fact.

The FIRST bank loan story. Watch the full video for the even more shocking SECOND bank loan story.

If you want to get out of your bubble and start seeing improv globally, this is a fantastic place to start.

Jill interviewed (full videos at the links):
Nasir Engineer of India
Gael Doorneweerd-Perry of France
Odile Cantero of Switzerland
Feña Ortalli of Argentina
Raffi Feghali of Lebanon

Improv Across Borders

Next up, Sean Dillon had the pleasure of interviewing Karla Dingle of Queen City Comedy and its Global Improv Project. Pre-2020, Queen City Comedy already had experience bridging communities, bringing together sketch, stand-up, and improv under one umbrella in Charlotte, NC. And then the pandemic hit, and this small but mighty organization made its mark by creating something remarkable — the Global Improv Project. The GIP brought together — and continues to bring together — improvisers from 6 of 7 continents (sorry Antarctica), first to learn and train together, then to perform together. It is an inspiring story that reminds us that the shift to online improv wasn’t just a necessity, it also carried some great big gifts that we shouldn’t abandon when physical theaters can open again.

Improv Across Borders with Karla Dingle

Improv Online

Day two of the Summit kicked off with our largest session, an international panel discussion of online improv itself, moderated by Rita Boersma, with Marisol Correa of Fin De Impro (Bogotá, Colombia), Coko Galore and Connor Low of Bad Dog Improv (Toronto, Canada), and Emma Wong of The Sunday Service (Vancouver, Canada), with Jill Bernard pitching in on translation assistance. You are strongly urged to check out their work at the links above, because they are doing some amazing things. And then get all those valuable brass tacks, right here:

Improvising Online – a panel discussion

Improv for Social Betterment

Rounding out the weekend, we had an amazing session with our own John Gebretatose and Asaf Ronen, author of seminal improv text Directing Improv and Programming Director at the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival. Together and apart, these guys have been putting in the work on how to apply improv to help make the world a better place. In this session, they went hands-on, talking through real-life and hypothetical scenarios with their audience to demonstrate what the practical work of “making the world better through improv” might look like. As John put it, it was like NPR’s Car Talk, but the car in need of fixing is the world we live in. Must-watch content, friends.

Improv for Social Betterment

And that’s that. We all came away from this year’s Summit warmed and inspired, with a new perspective on the opportunities in front of us. Hope you will too.

HUGE Artists Summit this weekend!

We’ve got an amazing collection of sessions coming up this weekend, all free of charge to you, our beloved performing community. We’ve got some timely session featuring some amazing panelists and speakers, so we hope you’ll be able to join us!

Full text and links:

SATURDAY APRIL 24

12:00-2:00pm CDT
More Improv Histories
The premiere of video Interviews on improvs beyond the North American Tradition. 
Jill Bernard interviewing Nasir Engineer of India, Gael Doorneweerd-Perry of France, Odile Cantero of Switzerland, Feña Ortalli of Argentina, and Raffi Feghali of Lebanon.

www.youtube.com/HUGEtheater (no zoom session)

4:00-5:30pm CDT
Improv Across Borders
The why and how of intercity and international collaboration. A live session with Sean Dillon interviewing Karla Dingle of Queen City Comedy/The Global Improv Project.
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87117822264

SUNDAY APRIL 25

11:00am – 1:00pm CDT
Online Improv
Making the most of the medium technically, artistically, promotionally. 
A panel discussion with Rita Boersma moderating Marisol Correa, Connor Low, Coko Galore, and Emma Wong.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83923656073

2:00 – 4:00pm CDT
Improv for Social Betterment
Improving the world through improv practices.
A live chat with John Gebretatose and Asaf Ronen.

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84057802794

The HUGE Artists Summit is upon us, April 24-25!

Each year, HUGE Theater hosts a free-to-attend “Artists Summit,” where we hold sessions on topics that are important to the improv community, but aren’t about improv technique… things like show marketing, or creating your own work, or making improv more accessible. This year’s Summit will be online, like most everything else this past year. And that means that the community of people we can include is also much broader, which excites us!

Inspired by what we’ve all been learning in the past year, we have 4 exciting sessions planned:

– Improvising Online: Making the most of the medium technically, artistically, promotionally

– Improv Across Boarders: The why and how of intercity and international collaboration

– Improv For Social Betterment: Improving the world through improv practice

– More Improv Histories: Interviews on improvs beyond the North American tradition We’re still finalizing our presenters and panelists, but we’ve got an exciting, international line-up planned. Not to be missed!

Keep an eye out here for specifics, coming soon!

TCBAFIF 2021 news

Hey all – some exciting news!
We are really thrilled to let you know that HUGE will be having a series of live shows for TCBAFIF this June – with an in-person audience – thanks to the Bakken Museum!

The Bakken reached out to offer to host performances on their rooftop space – they will be held in accordance with CDC guidelines for outdoor gathering spaces in June – with a small, live audience.

This means that an interest/submission form is coming soon for groups interested in performing (will be posted in this blog as we’re not taking nationwide submissions for in-person shows this year), along with more complete details and info on attending.
This is still in the “quiet phase” but we wanted to give everyone a heads-up since we are all VERY excited about the idea of live performance again – but also give groups some time to prepare since this will be a smaller-than-usual lineup and the number of spaces will be even more limited.

The festival will also feature a number of online shows as well – we aren’t done with Zoomprov just yet as the pandemic does not yet allow for us to ask performers to travel to MN to teach and perform.

BUT the big headline is that we cannot wait to put up some live improv in front of a live audience – it’s coming very soon and we can’t wait to see you all – It’s been far too long.
Stay tuned.

Cheers!

Reminder – HUGE Hoodie orders through Dec 31 (Thurs)

Hey friends! A quick reminder that Dec 31 (this Thursday) is the last day to pre-order a new HUGE hoodie. If you’re going to want one, pre-ordering is strongly recommended… we’ll have limited retail stock, and it will be sold at a higher price. All the info below.

————

HUGE is doing something that we haven’t done in quite a while: releasing a new embroidered-logo hoodie! The last one came out in 2013, so we figure we’re overdue. We’ll be ordering the entire quantity at once, so if you want one, we strongly encourage you to pre-order. Not only does this assure that there will be a hoodie for you, but you can get it at a discounted price of $40. (They will retail for $50-60, and our stock will be limited.)

PRE-ORDERS WILL BE ACCEPTED THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2020 ONLY. IN-PERSON PICK UP ONLY – NO DELIVERY. Specific dates and times for contactless pick-up at HUGE Theater in Minneapolis will be set for late January.

Further details on the order form here.

PLEASE NOTE: If you were a BFF Member of HUGE ($50+/mo) on February 29, 2020 or if you were in a top-three fundraising group for Improvathon 2020, you are entitled to a free hoodie. You should have received an email with a coupon code. If you did not and you think you should have, please contact me (Sean).

GET YOURSELF A HUGE HOODIE!

ONE-TIME OPPORTUNITY!

HUGE is doing something that we haven’t done in quite a while: releasing a new embroidered-logo hoodie!

The last one came out in 2013, so we figure we’re overdue. We’ll be ordering the entire quantity at once, so if you want one, we strongly encourage you to pre-order. Not only does this assure that there will be a hoodie for you, but you can get it at a discounted price of $40. (They will retail for $50-60, and our stock will be limited.) 

ORDER HERE!

PRE-ORDERS WILL BE ACCEPTED THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2020 ONLY.  

Specific dates and times for contactless pick-up at HUGE Theater in Minneapolis will be set for late January.  

SHIPPING IS NOT AVAILABLE.

Here’s the details:Black Threadfast Apparel Unisex Ultimate Fleece Pullover Hooded Sweatshirt with “HUGE Heart” logo embroidered in white over the left chest. The hoodie is 8.5 oz., 65% cotton, 25% recycled polyester, 10% polyester. We’re told they are “retail-sized” so they run on the small side for their sizes. (And the image is a mockup… no hoodies have yet been produced, so that may not be exact.)


PLEASE NOTE: If you were a BFF Member of HUGE ($50+/mo) on February 29, 2020 or if you were in a top-three fundraising group for Improvathon 2020, you are entitled to one hoodie, free of charge, as our thank you to you. You should have received an email with a coupon code. If you did not and you think you should have, please contact sean (at) hugetheater.com .

https://checkout.square.site/buy/QI6V5RFCS3Z5JVBNM476Q43A

Improvathon 2020 preliminary schedule

Hey folks! We still have some TBAs on the calendar (and some things cooking to fill them), but here is the first-draft schedule for HUGE’s Improvathon 2020!

Wednesday, Nov 188:00 PMBrotha, Brotha
8:30 PMMAYHEM
9:00 PMFoul Play
9:30 PMNudge
10:00 PMTBA
10:30 PMFast and Furious Wacky Races
11:00 PMKinda Funny and Also a Little Bit Sad
11:30 PMLast Action Movie
Thursday, Nov 1912:00 AMMurderclown
12:30 AMBASKETLOL
1:00 AMTBA
1:30 AM1+1=Jew
2:00 AMThe Australian Hour
2:30 AM
3:00 AMTBA
3:30 AMTracktastic! with Bret feat. Deon
4:00 AMIce Cream Social
4:30 AMShelly and Ethel
5:00 AMRandomly Chosen
5:30 AMTBA
6:00 AMImfrog
6:30 AMTBA
7:00 AMTheir, Their
7:30 AMTBA
8:00 AMSubatomic Duck
8:30 AMTBA
9:00 AMThe Neutrino Video Hour
9:30 AM
10:00 AMRG Family Funtime
10:30 AMReservoir Frogs
11:00 AMTBA
11:30 AMTBA
12:00 PMHoney Heist
12:30 PMTBA
1:00 PM1Up
1:30 PMTBA
2:00 PMAdorable
2:30 PMTBA
3:00 PMThe Elise and John Show
3:30 PMTBA
4:00 PMDillyDallHaus
4:30 PMToaster
5:00 PMHUGE 101
5:30 PMOddly Now
6:00 PMUnpronouncables
6:30 PMNimblicity
7:00 PMHomemade Jammer
7:30 PMBIPOC Jam
8:00 PMThe Amie and Kristen Show
8:30 PMThe Bearded Company
9:00 PMTBA
9:30 PMTBA
10:00 PMThe Mess
10:30 PMBlack
11:00 PMLoveJoy
11:30 PMSpeak to the Managers
12:00 AMWe all fall down.

Improvathon Registration and FAQs

Hello HUGE performers! It’s that time of year, and in spite of everything this year has thrown at us, we’re going to Improvathon if it kills us. As always, it will be 28 continuous hours of amazing HUGE performers performing and fundraising their hearts out for this theater we all know and love, as part of  Give to the Max Day on November 19.

Naturally, we’ll be doing things a little differently this year, because we’re moving the whole thing online for safety. Details on the changes in the FAQ below.

REGISTRATION – DUE BY TUES, OCT 27!

Improv Performance Request:
https://hugetheater.formstack.com/forms/iat2020

SCHEDULE

The Improvathon gets underway on Wednesday night, November 18, starting at 8PM, leading up to the official Give to the Max Day start at midnight on Thursday, November 19.

A succession of many local improvisers will lead our online audience through 28 hours of spontaneous, unrehearsed, improvised theater. The program will end at midnight Nov. 19.

The goal of HUGE’s 28-hour Improvathon is to raise funds for the 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. All performances will be broadcast at HUGE’s Youtube page

GENERAL FAQ

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 19, 2019.

What is the schedule?
Starts: Wednesday, November 18 at 8:00PM
Ends: Thursday, November 19 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 connect with each other. 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 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 $1,000 – $10,000 extra dollars based on incentives from GiveMN.

2020 Prizes include
– $500 Golden Tickets every 15 minutes
– two
 “Power Hour” challenges – each worth $6,000
– hourly $1000 Golden Tickets
– $500 Early Giving Tickets daily, 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?
Buy a “ticket” and watch some shows – We’ll be broadcasting for 28 straight hours, and it makes a big difference to know people out there are watching.

Host a watch party – Facebook has the capability to start a watch party, so you can invite your friends to watch WITH you! …and maybe donate.

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

What’s new and different in 2020?
Well, the whole thing will be online, so that’s different. All performances will take place in Zoom rooms (or similar), and be broadcast via HUGE’s Youtube channel and maybe also Twitch. This has several big impacts:

  • There won’t be an Iron Audience, per se. We don’t expect anyone to watch a screen for 28 straight hours; that would be terrible for your eyes. However, if you want to help us fundraise but do not want to perform, you are still welcome to create a fundraising page (see directions above) to pitch in. And of course you are welcome to tune in for as many performances as you’d like.
  • We won’t need anywhere near as many volunteers, since there won’t be a front desk, a tech booth, or anything to photograph. However we are still looking for volunteers to help run the Zoom rooms in 2-4 hour blocks. If you would like to assist in this way, please contact sean at hugetheater dot com. 
  • We’ll have a Discord text chatroom operating for the duration of the event, where our audience and performers can hang out, connect, enjoy the performances together, and even give requested suggestions for shows.
  • We won’t be supplying t-shirts for performers this year. Which makes us very sad. Since the event isn’t happening at the theater, the logistics and cost of safely distributing the shirts would just be prohibitive. However, if you’re the kind of person who HAS TO HAVE THE SHIRT, we will be creating a design, and shirts will be available for individual purchase at redbubble.com. A percentage of each purchase goes to HUGE, so you’d also be supporting the cause!
  • To break things up a little, we’ll be interspersing standard sets with some special projects and staff check-ins. More details to come!

How do I sign up?
The link to the form to request a performance time is: https://hugetheater.formstack.com/forms/iat2020

**registration does not guarantee a spot 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 a piece of HUGE swag or clothing (TBD).

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. Our collective goal is $50,000 for the event, so we need all hands on deck. If you are truly uncomfortable asking friends and family to donate, this particular event isn’t the right fit.

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.

Cool, I will renew my Membership that day for part of my fundraising goal!
Memberships and supporterships — while enormously appreciated — are not handled through GiveMN, and will not count toward Improvathon team goals nor will it count toward the final tally of what is raised during Improvathon.

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/iat2020

HUGE Artists Summit – Now Online, Saturdays April 11 & 18

There is more to doing improv than just… well… doing improv. That’s why HUGE presents the Artists Summit each year — to help equip improvisers at all points in their journeys with some tips and information to increase their opportunities and success.

With the world on lock-down, this year’s Summit is still happening but will be online only, via Zoom. All sessions are free of charge, but advance registration is encouraged: REGISTER HERE.


April 11, 10:00am – 12:00pm
Promotion & Design, with Butch Roy

If you want people to see your work, you’ve got to get the word out! Learn how to market your show to the public and to improv festivals, and get an overview of graphic design tips, typography basics, and tools for creating eye-catching visuals.
Meeting room: https://zoom.us/j/101166968

April 11, 2:00 – 4:00pm
Now What?, with Breanna Cecile and Sean Dillon

You’ve taken all four levels of improv classes… now what? Some lucky folks seem to fall easily in improv success, but most of us have to work to build our own opportunities. Getting closer to our improv dreams — even figuring out what our improv dreams are — takes patience, self-awareness, and hustle. This session will help you evaluate your strengths, figure what you want out of improv (and why), and give you tools to find the people who want the same things you do. Then we’ll look at how to build the opportunities you’re looking for and how to stay the course when things aren’t going your way.
Meeting room: https://zoom.us/j/350778764

April 18, 2:00 – 6:00 pm
Showmaking A-Z, a panel discussion

This is the big one. We’ve assembled a panel of some top Twin Cities improv and comedy show-makers, to talk about every aspect of producing and/or directing an improv show, from the ground up. This session will cover everything from how to find and develop show ideas, to the casting and rehearsal process, to managing personal and creative conflict, to finding venues and managing the show beyond opening, and more! And we’ll leave plenty of time for Q&A with our panelists, who are: Rita Boersma, John Gebretatose, Emily Lindholm, Heather Meyer, and Joe Rapp.
Meeting room: https://zoom.us/j/161242776