Baltimore Improv Group (BIG) began in 2004. Now our non-profit entertains with over 800 live shows each year including weekdays, weekends, and holidays.
With an annual audience of over 27,000 people, over 100 regular performers and volunteers work together to entertain audiences with live and local comedy shows every night of the week.
As part of Arts Every Day's directory, BIG performs in assemblies and facilitates in-school and after school residencies in Maryland schools.
The BIG Theater opened in October 2017 in Station North. The theater offers 3,000 square feet of space for live comedy shows; classes and workshops for adults, kids and teens; a podcast studio. BIG's live theater shows include improv comedy, stand-up, sketch, storytelling, and other local Maryland improv shows.
As of 2019, our annual Baltimore Improv Festival brought in over 400 performers in 100+ comedy teams to the Baltimore region. In 2019, they visited the event from 25+ cities, 15 states, 2 countries, and performed in 45 shows over 7 days. We've brought you one of the largest improv festivals on the east coast and mid-atlantic.
Every penny helps! As we' are a 501(c)(3) non-profit, you may make tax-deductible donations.
For Artscape 2019, audiences attended 31 separate performances from early Friday afternoon until late Sunday evening. The event held an average attendance of 85 people per show.
Over 2,250 people saw an improv comedy show at The BIG Theater over Artscape weekend. Another 480 people saw the official Artscape stand up show LOL@Artscape at our theater.
More people saw improv at The BIG Theater during Artscape weekend than during a full month of shows in 2018.
Artscape 2019 attendance was higher than two full months of shows in 2017 and more than 8 months of shows in 2016.
The Baltimore Improv Group (BIG) advances the art and appreciation of comedy improv in the Baltimore region through enthusiastic participation and education. BIG enhances the quality of, expands participation in, and fosters the appreciation for improv throughout Baltimore.
BIG envisions awareness of, participation in and passion for improv comedy spread throughout the Baltimore region. We similarly envision improv’s infectious culture of support spread throughout the greater Baltimore area, inspiring community and creativity among all.
Key values we work to promote include:
YES AND - An approach to life that encourages us to build harmoniously on the ideas, values and preferences of others rather than placing our ideas, values and preferences above our colleagues or in competition with them.
MAKE OTHERS LOOK LIKE GENIUSES - Improv teaches us to honor and celebrate others, even if objectively they make mistakes or reflect opportunities for personal improvement, as we all do. When we make choices that amplify the best in someone else’s actions, we actively invest in a bigger, better, shared success.
A GROUP IS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS - Improvisers enhance each other’s strengths through unconditional support, acceptance and enthusiasm. By embracing ideas without judgment, improv turns so-so ideas into good ideas, good ideas into great ideas and great ideas into earth-shattering masterpieces.
INCLUSIVITY & RESPECT - In pursuit of its goals BIG seeks to share the joy of improv with everyone. In order to ensure that all parties feel welcome and able to fully participate in our offerings, BIG insists that all stakeholders uphold these standards:
Mutual Respect & Civility
Acceptance and Celebration of our Diversity as a source of strength
In 2004, Mike Subelsky founded the Baltimore Improv Group. In the years since, BIG has grown to 100+ performers, taught thousands of kids and adults how to improvise, produced thousands of live shows and entertained tens of thousands of attendees.
In October 2017, The BIG Theater in Station North opened. In May 2018, the theater began offering free shows every night of the week.
As of 2020, an annual audience of over 27,000 people visits for 800 live shows each year with the help of over 100 regular performers and volunteers.
Diverse Voices Scholarship
BIG has a Diverse Voices Scholarship to encourage participation among members of underrepresented communities by providing financial aid for People of Color*, Senior Citizens, Veterans, Military Members, differently-abled persons, immigrants, and members of the LGBT community.