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Queer Improv Night at the Universities

BY Melissa Bee

Queer Improv Night at the Universities

On Monday, February 4, in Bradley Hall Theater at Rutgers-Newark, OUTFront and Improv Technicians hosted their first ever Queer Improv Night. The purpose was to get the word out about the OUTFront mentorship program at Rutgers-Newark and for the Improv Technicians to showcase their first performance of the semester.

The comedy-filled night touched lightly on gay themes and concerns. The improv participants took turns in groups doing different exercises with suggestions from the audience. They performed some old favorites and improv staples, including sit, stand, lie and new choice, but putting a flamboyant twist on them. The skits elicited a lot of laughter from the eclectic audience. It was a lot of fun overall and drew attention to some LGBTQ issues while entertaining the community.

Steven Albano, host of the event and OUTfront Co-coordinator says, “I can’t wait to do it again. I think it got a lot of people comfortable talking about stereotypes regarding the LGBTQ community. Laughter is a good way to introduce people to topics that they might find uncomfortable. It brought in a different audience than our normal queer events, and I think reaching out to new people, both allies and member of our community, is vital to our acceptance on a larger scale.”

OUTFront is an organization from the LGBTQ and Diversity Resource Center at Rutgers-Newark. Its two goals are outreach and mentorship. They aim to have a healthy and vibrant welcoming community to nurture with the group and its volunteers. They also have trained mentors who can talk with LGBTQ students about problems, whether related to sexuality or gender identity or not.

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The Improv Technicians are a group of amateur improv comedians from NJIT and Rutgers-Newark who have performed at The People’s Improv Theater in Manhattan, and look forward to adding new venues. NJIT currently offers an Improv class and will offer Longform Improv in Fall 2013. Many of the members are also active in the Rutgers-NJIT Theater Program community and will be in the musical, Thoroughly Modern Millie, in March.

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To learn more about the LGBT and Diversity Resource Center at Rutgers-Newark, visit its website here. Their next Queer Improv Night will be held in a few weeks.

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