As all institutions now must, The Baltimore Improv Group has been closely monitoring and evaluating news about the growing crisis from the CDC, the State of Maryland and other reputable sources.
Although our events draw audiences far smaller than the 250 person limit that the governor of Maryland imposed today, it is our responsibility to take proactive steps. As the state has set Monday as the day public schools will close, BIG will follow suit and suspend all of our performances starting on Monday 3/16. We will reassess this decision one week later. If the situation we find ourselves in today has stayed the same or worsened we will maintain the suspension and consider other possible steps.
All practices, meetings or nonofficial gatherings at our theater and training center will also be fully suspended starting on Monday 3/16. Teams are not encouraged or discouraged from continuing to practice improv, but must find other, less-trafficked locations to do so at (team member homes are suggested). For performers particularly affected by this decision that feel deeply they would like to see their shows be performed, BIG will offer what assistance it can in securing and planning other arrangements. Email me if interested.
March 16 Update: I've made the decision to pause all classes for one week. We will use the next week to asses whether classes can recommence a week or a month from now, if we should postpone all classes indefinitely, cancel classes and offer credits or possibly even retool all or some of our classes to be offered online.
I want to be clear that this is an optional decision we are choosing to make. Most of us are probably aware of the Executive Order from Governor Hogan's office closing all restaurants, bars, gyms and gatherings of 50+ people. I called the State of MD's Public Health Office and was told by multiple officials that this Order did not apply to our classes. Nonetheless, I feel it is wise to take time to get a better understanding of the crisis confronting us.
Until this upcoming Monday, BIG will continue to operate as it has.
As stated previously, any person coming to BIG for any reason should cancel their visit if they have even slight symptoms of illness. Similarly, anyone who fits the description as being at heightened risk from the Corona Virus should similarly suspend their visitations to BIG. If any person who falls into either of these categories feels any hesitation to avoid BIG for reasons BIG can alleviate, please do not hesitate to contact Terry Withers (email@example.com, 516.457.5507) and we will make it work for you.
This is a challenging time and I know that BIG will need to constantly examine and reconsider our response. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me by email or phone (I'm really a phone person) in order to discuss your thoughts, questions or concerns. Or if yu just want a pick me up, give me a call for that too.
The really wonderful improv teacher, performer, and leader Armando Diaz posted some wise words to Facebook today. I'd like to leave you with them:
"When times are tough, when you're feeling lost, the best thing to do is remember who you are and what you believe in. And I believe there is more that is good than bad in the world. And I believe that everyone has a strength and a courage that can get them through. It only has to wake up. And when we feel that courage from with in, and when we see that courage from our friends and from the world, we can overcome ANYTHING! But the first set is we have to believe. Let go of fear and believe."
Terry Withers / Managing Director / Baltimore Improv Group / 516.457.550
The Baltimore Improv Group is committed to the health and safety of our expanded community including our performers, students, volunteers and audience. We are closely watching and evaluating updates on the Coronavirus from the CDC, State of Maryland, and reputable news sources.
BIG is taking precautionary measures at our two locations where events are held. At both out theater and training center, onsite staff disinfects commonly used surfaces nightly. BIG additionally provides hand sanitizers for use by all.
BIG requests that any community member feeling even slightly unwell refrains from attending events at BIG. We make the same request of those who may be at increased risk.
If you have questions or concerns about BIG’s policies related to the Coronavirus, you may reach Terry Withers, BIG’s Managing Director, by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (516.457.5507).
BIG expects to produce all of its events as scheduled. However, we will prioritize the health of our community and will adjust our policies appropriately as circumstances develop.
On Sunday December 8th, our nonprofit improv comedy fundraiser event took over Station North's The BIG Theater.
Baltimore Improv Group (BIG) presented "WINTER WONDERYESAND: Yule Laugh Your Cash Off" as a winter themed, expanded universe, improv-marathon featuring over 12 hours of uninterrupted, sidesplitting improv comedy shows.
The astonishing end result? $36,000 raised to support local improv comedy programs.
For 16 weeks, Loyola University Maryland students worked with Baltimore Improv Group (BIG) as part of their public relations senior capstone class.
The team of Loyola students completed an awareness campaign highlighting the culture, community and creativity that BIG brings to this vibrant city. As a team, the four students visited The BIG Theater on Charles St. to kickoff their time in partnership with the organization.
For many years we’ve relied on media and strangers visiting school assemblies to teach us valuable lessons.
You probably think I’m talking about hiring BIG to visit your school. You might even expect me to plug that we’re a rostered artist with Young Audiences of Maryland. And yes you're right, we total will do a true and actual educational program that visits your school and does an actual assembly. Sure, you could totally hire us!
However!! That’s not what this post is about. This time we're presenting a comedy show in response to all of the adults who taught us valuable lessons as kids. Producer Alexa Sciuto tells us about the improvised school assembly show Ready, Set, NO in the below interview transcript.
Cake Walk solves life's little mishaps, situation comedy style! Always unscripted, the show also features commercials, memorable characters and crazy costume changes. They're a must see improv comedy team
Spend your Halloween at The BIG Theater. For 2019, the evening of spooky comedy shows ends with a dance party on our stage.
The Haunting at BIG House explores a grand tour of the fictional haunted BIG House. With the theme of ghost stories, the show dives deep into Halloween lore.
The show is produced by Liz McKenna who loves ghost stories. Liz initially fell into improv at The Annoyance in Chicago in fall 2014. She graduated with a Masters of Social Work with a specialization in Leadership and Development, in conjunction with a Certificate of Philanthropy and Non-Profit Management from Loyola University Chicago.
"Join us for 'The Haunting of BIG House' to learn local lore and possibly encounter some playful spirits," said Liz. "Just like how there is a small divide between this life and the afterlife, there is a thin line between comedy and fear... "
Liz started taking BIG classes summer 2018 and likes to jump into jams whenever possible- often she can be heard in the audience laughing and clapping loudly when she finds something hilarious.
With Paranormal Comedy, iprov comedian Terry Withers takes on the role of professional astral projectionist merges his ability to speak with the dead and improv comedy into a dark and funny one-time-only show.
Halloween falls on October 31st this year. See our show calendar for details.
For one night only, The Greatest Sketch Show in America comes to The BIG Theater. What is the difference between sketch comedy and improv? Both sketch comedy and improv are theater-based performing arts, with scenes, dialogue, and characters.
When you see a sketch comedy show, it is scripted – written and polished before. Improv is completely created in the moment. Some TV shows employ some level of improvisation framework of a script, they still use enough of a script to understand the story and characters beforehand.
In between their many practices, Kim Scarfe checked in to talk about producing the sketch show. Kim previously brought comedy competition Comedy Deathmatch 3000 to the stage. Before moving to Baltimore, Kim originally began performing improv comedy in Iowa.
Hear a podcast about the Baltimore Improv Group. If you haven't heard the show yet, Gettin Biggie With It is a podcast with an ambitious goal: to interview and play with every member of the Baltimore Improv Group.
Baltimore Improv Group's interview and comedy show BIG Time was named Best Improv Show by Baltimore magazine.
"You know you’ve made it in this town when the Baltimore Improv Group comes knocking," Baltimore magazine writes. "This free [weekly] improv show celebrates a local mover and shaker by making them the subject of on-the-fly comedy scenes, and everyone from cookbook author John Shields to WTMD’s music coordinator, Sam Sessa, has taken a turn in the spotlight. "
What is the true nature of time and the universe? I can’t really speak on behalf of the Baltimore Improv Group as an organization or even in this blog in any official capacity.
Unofficially speaking, I believe the below interview with improviser* Richard Gorelick of Tuesday's Harold Night team Thick Mints answers this and other questions about the nature of the universe. Especially when we speak of the part of universe with local public speakers and improvisors*.
Read the below interview transcript for burning answers about Richard and the show he created – BIG Time.
Various Baltimore contribute to the blog.
Individual opinions, ideas, and thoughts expressed are solely their own and are not meant to represent Baltimore Improv Group or any other organization.