Today marks the official end of Bearded Men Improv. For 11 years, it served as a name, as ridiculous as it is, that stood for one, then two groups of growing and evolving artists.
With that growth, came the understanding that things change. As a group, both in Minneapolis and Los Angeles, we came to the conclusion that Bearded Men Improv represented who we were, but not exactly who we have been growing into as a company. Especially since we launched a second group in 2014 in Los Angeles, we have been looking at what our next step or steps are. To be honest, we had/have a lot of ideas (new shows, intensives, going to the moon). The thing that kept coming up however, was a name change.
Sure, Bearded Men Improv still technically worked, but it felt limiting. We spent many meetings talking through what the name should be, what it means and if it should be brand new or somehow connected to our original. Ultimately, we decided on an evolution that paid homage to our beginnings, but moved us forward. Improv is still a major facet of what we do, but we’ve got more to offer than just that and we wanted to leave all paths open. As far as the “Men” part is concerned, that one seemed obvious to drop. We recognize that our original members identify as men, but our group has never wanted to exclusively cater to men, and having that as a piece of our identity felt stale and outdated. More and more often and throughout the years, we have had female identifying guests and permanent members of some of our shows, and it has felt like a disservice to them to be part of the Bearded “Men.” In 2018, and beyond, we will be actively looking for more opportunities for diverse collaboration, so now feels like the perfect time for this change.
Saying goodbye to a name that has been with you for over ten years is tough, but knowing that you are leading yourself in the best way possible to the next ten years is amazing. We are thrilled to announce the end of Bearded Men Improv, and the beginning of The Bearded Company.
I have mentioned from time to time, that since day one, I have said or thought the words, “Bearded Men” at least once a day. Now, I will be saying or thinking, “The Bearded Company,” and that’s exciting to me. I am looking forward to exploring what’s in store for our company, but even more eager to share it with all of our amazing fans and supporters. 11+ years is a long time for a small improv group that got its start in Fargo/Moorhead, and we absolutely would not be here or even planning our future without all of you.
Thank you and here’s to the years still ahead.
Joe and The Bearded Company