Huge Theater performers and participants recently celebrated the long-form improv group's eighth anniversary. But they hope to celebrate future anniversaries in a new home. (Sally Foster)
Huge Theater is inching closer to a big move its administrators planned for two years.
The long-form improv theater is launching a capital campaign to raise $3.2 million, with $2.2 million earmarked to purchase a building currently occupied by Art Materials at 2728 Lyndale Av. in south Minneapolis (the store has plans to relocate). It's a move executive director Butch Roy says has been contemplated for two years, ever since it was revealed that the company's current landlord, Julius DeRoma, donated money to former KKK leader David Duke's failed Louisiana Senate campaign.
"That was the catalyst that started the conversation," said Roy, who admitted it's yet to be determined how Huge will get out of a ten-year lease after just five years. "But over the course of the past eight years, it's become apparent we've outgrown the space we're in. Our education and community efforts, especially, are constrained. We currently have a waitlist that is long enough to start five extra classes."
Plans call for the new space to triple Huge's size, featuring seven classrooms as opposed to the current three. Roy says Huge will retain the intimacy of its theater, which hosts about 600 shows a year, but will add about 40 seats to the current 100.
The larger space also will allow Huge, which has grown to an annual budget of about $540,000 since its founding in 2011, to capitalize on what Roy sees as a gradually-growing awareness that improv is not just something to think of as career training, but as a way to become a more collaborative and compassionate communicator.
The tentative plan is for Huge to close on the new space in September and move in next year.