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NEWS: HUGE Improv Theater’s Forever Home and Winter Season

HUGE Improv Theater’s new space at 2728 Lyndale Ave S in Minneapolis, MN features 25% more audience seating, as well as larger lobby, stage, and classrooms, dedicated storage and office space, and (to the relief of all) an additional restroom.

HUGE Improv Theater is settling into its new home at 2728 Lyndale Ave in Minneapolis, MN. The hub for improvisation classes and performances (and a few good beers) relocated to its new home in September, cutting the ribbon with a grand opening in October, and is currently settling in for a winter filled with activities.

HUGE Improv Theater was originally founded in 2005 by the quintet of Jill Bernard, Butch Roy, Nels Lennes, Joe Bozic, and Mike Fotis, to explore long-form improvisation in theater. Four years later, the group incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, taking residence at 3037 Lyndale Ave in Minneapolis the following year, establishing a 100-seat theater that also hosted educational classes. Over the next 7 years, the artist-led company built up a steady audience of students, audience members, and improvisational aficionados drawn to a host of diverse events, including improvised superhero adventures complete with live-drawn comic book covers and appropriately epic improvised soundtracks.

In 2017, newspaper coverage of political activities by HUGE’s then-landlord led the company to search for a new home. After the Uptown, Minneapolis fixture Intermedia Arts closed that same year, many area residents worried that HUGE would leave the area, taking with it both customers and a unique set of evening entertainments.

These fears were heightened when HUGE Theater’s attempt to buy 2728 Lyndale Ave – well-known to Uptown residents as the home of the Art Materials store – in 2019 failed, with financing fall through. On May 8, 2023, however, Co-Executive Director Butch Roy sent an email to the Huge community, announcing that an opportunity had arisen for HUGE to lease space 2728 Lyndale Ave after all.

“What we have right now is a tremendous opportunity for someone – a philanthropist or a socially-conscious corporation – to make a transformative impact on an entire art form,“ said Roy’s fellow Co-Executive Director John Gebretatose at the time, announcing HUGE’s new capital campaign. Less than two months later, after the conclusion of the 17th annual Twin Cities Improv Festival, HUGE was out the doors.

HUGE Improv Theater’s new space at 2728 Lyndale Ave in Minneapolis. The nonprofit has been an anchor tenant bringing patrons to other area businesses in Uptown for 13 years.

Fast forward to September 6, 2023, when HUGE came out with even bigger news: It wasn’t just moving, but it was now the owner of the space at 2728 Lyndale Ave. Thanks to loan assistance from mission-driven lenders IFF and Propel Nonprofits, the company was not just moving, but also increasing its square footage from 4000 to 6750 square feet, with expansions in almost every space use.

In addition to financial assistance, this move was made possible in part by a market shift, as Art Materials – still a long-term tenant – found a major portion of its business shift online during the pandemic, and stay that way. While the store still occupies 10,000 square feet of space in the shared building, it now co-exists with HUGE Improv theater, which occupies space freed up by that conversion – keeping not just one, but two neighborhood anchors in Uptown.

“This has been a dream for us since at least 2019, and in some senses a lot longer,” said HUGE Managing Director Sean Dillon. “It is hard to express just how big a difference it makes, for us to build equity in our own space, and to have income-generating rental property besides. This can truly be a ‘forever home’ for a diverse community of thousands of improv artists, students, and enthusiasts, and it will belong to HUGE free-and-clear in 2038 when the final loan payment is made. We just have to get there… and we will.”

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HUGE’s January-February programming commences on Wednesday, January 3, and consists of the following:

HUGE Wednesdays 7:30 – Four groups each performing their own signature style. This season includes: Adorable, Rumor Mill, Found Footage, and Sympathetic Magic

7:30 – Bummertown/Five After Now

Bummertown offers a fresh take on truthful comedy that lives at the intersection of happy and sad. Based on a brand new audience suggestion each week, the cast creates a performance of major downers and hilarity, intertwined. Five After Now performs The Butch – a fast-paced, brain breaking form designed to take you to new and unexpected places.


7:30: The Life Robotic – A robot is trying its best to live a normal human life… but it can only use the words the audience gives it.

9:00: Give the Drummer Some – A blending of organic, movement-based improv, with drums and percussion. Inspired by the storytelling power of music in silent movies, and a love of weirdos doing weird things on stage, Give The Drummer Some is a dynamic, physical, music-forward improv experience like no other.

10:00: All Alone – A showcase of solo improv performances, featuring some of the Twin Cities best improvisers


Jan 13 only, 4:00-5:00: Bring Your Kids – A comedy variety show for kids and their grown-ups

7:30: Off Book – Half-scripted, full speed ahead. It is every actor’s nightmare: getting thrown on stage to perform a play you’ve never read. That’s also the premise of Off Book. An actor memorizes a script, then takes the stage with an improviser who has no idea what’s going on. Sit back and watch the magic happen. A perennial best-selling favorite.

9:00: The Mess – Always see The Mess. Five of the Twin Cities most experienced improvisers making beautiful, hilarious chaos.

Jan only, 10:00: Sleepover – Come to a sleepover! Maybe we are telling truths or doing dares, maybe we are telling secrets and stories. Each night, a different sleepover and with a different energy. There will be improv. There will be crushes. There will be a 2-liter bottle of pop.

Feb only, 10:00: Temps – An improvised workplace comedy that follows a day in the life of the Temps — a group of dreamers, disillusioned, and lost souls — as they explore the promises and perils of a better life, often at the expense of their temporary employment.


7:30: Improv-a-Go-Go – The triumphant return of the madcap improv laboratory that started it all. Every week is a  grab bag of exciting new improv work by seasoned pros, up-and-coming talents, and everything in between. Anything could happen… and probably will!

Tickets and further information on all shows are available at

Basil Considine