We’ve got some good news and some bad news.
The good news? HUGE Improv Theater has plans to move into a new space, 2728 Lyndale Avenue South, adding some theater and creativity to the area, which has been missing since the nearby Intermedia Arts shuttered its doors. The bad news is should the deal go through, Art Materials, an amazing art supply shop, will have to move out of its current digs. [CLARIFICATION: Should the sale of the 2728 space go through to HUGE Theater, Art Materials won't be closing, they'll simply be looking for a new space in the neighborhood.]
The HUGE team plans to purchase the building.
“Since we opened our doors in 2011, the growth of our community has been explosive,” says executive director Butch Roy. “Our current venue has taken us as far as it can.”
Since 2011, the nonprofit company has rented a space at 3037 Lyndale Ave. S., where it has hosted a variety of improv nights, classes and workshops, and collaborations showcasing talented folks in LGBTQ, nonbinary, Latinx, and other marginalized communities.
Patrons and supporters of HUGE can breath a huge sigh of relief, as the organization has been weighing its options after finding out that their current landlord isn’t as open-minded. In 2017, City Pages discovered that Julius Jaeger De Roma, owner of a variety of Twin Cities properties (including the HUGE space and Clubhouse Jager) had donated $500 to the U.S. Senate campaign of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
“It felt like we got tossed on this flaming pile of shit," Roy told us at the time. "I stopped what I was doing and went to the theater, because my immediate assumption was that someone was going to put a brick through the window, and I should be here to receive it. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.”
Soon after the story broke, HUGE released a statement, making it clear that DeRoma had no association with the theater, ending the release with a resounding “we would like to formally tell Nazis and the KKK that they can fuck straight off.”
But with a lease still in effect, there was little the organization could do without risking its survival. To fund the purchase and the move, HUGE is campaigning for donations from foundations and individuals.
“This new facility is going to foster artistic vitality for our community, neighborhood, and art form,” says board chairperson Adia Morris Swanger. “It will help us expand our efforts in improving diversity and access in this amazing art form.”
More info on how their raising funds and what you can do to help can be found at www.hugetheater.com/capcam.
HUGE plans to move into its new space in 2020. In the meantime, Art Marterials will remain open and in the building at least through September.