BATS Improv School
Frequently Asked Questions

Who can take our classes? Adults 18 years and older are eligible for enrollment. You don’t need to be an actor or have any experience on stage or with improv. Anyone can take our classes!  
What class should I start with? Foundation 1.  

Do you have to be funny? Quick-witted? No. In fact, one of the things that we teach at BATS is that good improv means NOT trying to be funny. Our Foundation I workshop will expose you to all the basic improv skills: listening, accepting offers, making your partner look good and more.  
Do I have to take Foundation 1 if I'm already an experienced actor? We recommend that all students start with Foundation 1, regardless of previous experience. BATS has its own style of improv and we want to make sure all of our students are well-versed in the BATS language and approach. Sometimes we do make exceptions for students who have significant equivalent experience and pass them into Foundation 2 directly. If you think you may fit this description, feel free to call the office at (415) 474-6776 to talk to the dean about the best place to start.  

Can I audit (sit in and watch) a class?  No, we're sorry, but we do not allow students to audit. BATS workshops strive to create a safe, supportive environment in which students can take risks and do their best work. Visitors disrupt the class dynamic, changing the class from "workshop" to "performance." 
Who's the best coach? We wouldn't have them teaching if we didn't think they were all great! To read more about these talented teachers, click on their names on the website.  
How do I reserve or hold a space in a class? Payment. Plain and simple. Only a fully paid enrollment holds your spot in the class; registration is accepted on a first paid, first enrolled basis. Students who have not paid the full amount of tuition will not be allowed to attend the first class.
All workshop prices include a 20% non-refundable deposit. BATS does not offer tuition payment plans. If BATS cancels a class that you have signed up for, you will receive a refund check for the full tuition.  
What forms of payment do you accept?  Credit card, checks, and cash. To pay by credit card (Amex, Mastercard, Visa), register online. This is the best way to lock in your registration. If you’re planning on paying by check or cash, call the office first at (415) 474-6776 to ensure that there are still openings in the class you want. Checks should be mailed to: BATS Improv, C/O: The Registrar, B350 Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, CA 94123. We don't advise mailing cash, but if you must, include your name and contact information. BATS will contact you to confirm your registration.  
Where is my class? Most BATS classes are held at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco's Marina District, either in the Bayfront Theater (Building B, 3rd Floor) or other classroom locations in Fort Mason Center. Locations will be posted at the entrance to the Bayfront Theater at the time of your class. Click here for directions to the theater and parking instructions.    
BATS is branching out to other neighborhoods and holds classes in spaces at Studio 210 in San Francisco’s Mission District and the Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto. The location of the class will be noted on the website and at the time of registration 
What if I decide to drop a class? What is the refund policy? The cost of any class includes a 20% non-refundable deposit. Policies for 80% refunds depend on the type of class as below:
  • If you have registered for a class and decide you want to drop that class AT LEAST14 DAYS BEFORE THE FIRST CLASS SESSION, you may choose to receive a refund check for the amount of the class minus your non-refundable deposit OR you may choose to reapply your payment IN FULL to another BATS class. 
  • However, if you have registered for a summer adult intensive or youth/teen camp, your payment becomes non-refundable at two weeks prior to the start of the class. If you decide to drop the class FEWER THAN FOURTEEN DAYS before the start of the class (but more than three days before the start of the class), you lose the option of reapplying your payment in full. You can either reapply your payment minus the deposit or receive a partial refund check. This option is not available for those enrolled in summer intensives or youth/teen camps.
  • If you decide to drop a class WITHIN 72 HOURS of the first class session (or within two weeks of the start of summer intensives or youth/teen camps), your payment is neither re-applicable nor refundable. (Here’s why: While we want to be flexible with changing schedules, it is unlikely we’d be able to fill an extra spot in class at the last minute, so these rules are to ensure the success of the classes.) For the same reasons, if you decide you don’t like the class halfway through, we cannot offer any partial or total refund or reapplication of payment.
To summarize our refund policy...
In General:
  • Drop at least 14 days before the start of class: partial refund OR total reapplication
  • Drop between 3 and 13 days before the start of class: partial refund OR partial reapplication 
  • Drop within 3 days of the start of class: no refund and no reapplication
And for Summer Intensives and Youth/Teen Camps:
  • From the time of payment, a 20% non-refundable deposit applies to all dropped classes
  • Payment becomes entirely non-refundable at 14 days prior to the start of class  

What if I miss a class?
  If you miss a class, BATS cannot refund your payment or give you credit for that one class, or prorate your class tuition in advance to account for the missed class.  
If I miss a class, can I make it up somehow? We don't offer make-up classes at BATS. Here's why: class dynamic is sacred at BATS and popping in for just one class can disrupt the other students.  
What's the penalty for a bounced check? You will be charged a $25 fee for any bounced checks.  
Do you offer financial aid or scholarships? BATS Improv offers a limited number of need-based scholarships on a recurring basis. Applicants must submit a copy of their most recent tax return along with a one-page letter explaining how this course will make a constructive difference in their lives. Letters on behalf of student-age applicants may be written by parents or guardians. Scholarship aid covers 50%–100% of the total cost of the course. Each qualified student is allowed a maximum of two scholarships per 12-month period. Materials should be emailed to  
BATS also offers a Work Study Program which allows students to earn up to 75% of the tuition for BATS classes by supporting at Friday or Saturday shows. Inquire in the office to get more details and learn how you can apply.  
How do I get into the Main Stage Company? The Main Stage Company is BATS Improv's premier performing ensemble. The Company holds auditions once a year for its guest performer program, usually in April or May.
How long does it take to go through all your series classes and start performing?  The answer to this will be different for every student!  The very quickest you could go through our curriculum and take your first performance class would be about 5 months from starting to study, assuming you pass each class and the schedule of classes offered lines up just right with what you need at the time. However, usually additional classes are recommended along the way in order to strengthen and supplement your specific skills. Each student has a unique skill set and will therefore have a different experience at BATS – we like it that way!  Our coaches and Dean will give you specific feedback so you know what the best steps are to ensure your success when you hit the stage!
Can I bring my dog? Unless it is a service dog, we regret that no pets are allowed. Our improv classes are for people only.  
How do I contact one of the BATS coaches? Mail and your question or comment will be forwarded.

Improv Classes

3-Day Foundation 1 Intensive with Laura Derry 
Friday, 4/25/2014 10:00 AM

Foundation 1 in Palo Alto with John Remak 
Tuesday, 4/29/2014 7:00 PM

Stage Combat with Real Swords with Guest Coach Joe Lucas
Tuesday, 4/29/2014 7:00 PM

Studio Scenework with Regina Saisi 
Thursday, 5/1/2014 7:00 PM

Foundation 1 with Rebecca Stockley 
Saturday, 5/3/2014 11:00 AM

Performing Improvised Star Trek with Laura Derry 
Sunday, 5/4/2014 2:30 PM

Foundation 3 with Laura Derry 
Tuesday, 5/6/2014 7:00 PM

Studio Scenework in Palo Alto with Kasey Klemm 
Thursday, 5/8/2014 7:00 PM

Performing Improvised Plays with Ben Johnson 
Tuesday, 5/13/2014 7:00 PM

Foundation 1 with Rebecca Poretsky 
Wednesday, 5/14/2014 7:00 PM

Foundation 2 in Palo Alto with John Remak 
Thursday, 5/15/2014 7:00 PM

Foundation 2 with John Remak 
Wednesday, 5/21/2014 7:00 PM

Studio Scenework with Dave Dennison 
Thursday, 5/29/2014 7:00 PM

3-Day Foundation 2 Intensive with Ben Johnson 
Friday, 5/30/2014 10:00 AM

Foundation 1 with Lisa Safran 
Sunday, 6/1/2014 11:00 AM

Intro to Improv with Ben Johnson 
Monday, 6/16/2014 7:00 PM

Foundation 1 with Ben Johnson 
Tuesday, 6/17/2014 7:00 PM

Foundation 2 with Rebecca Poretsky 
Saturday, 6/21/2014 11:00 AM

Improv Singing: Rhythm and Style with David Norfleet (Music) 
Saturday, 6/21/2014 2:30 PM

Performing Theatresports with Ken Robertson 
Sunday, 6/22/2014 2:30 PM

Foundation 2 in Palo Alto with Chris Sams 
Tuesday, 6/24/2014 7:00 PM

Foundation 3 with Dave Dennison 
Tuesday, 6/24/2014 7:00 PM

Foundation 2 with Chris Sams 
Wednesday, 6/25/2014 7:00 PM

Studio Scenework with John Remak 
Thursday, 6/26/2014 7:00 PM

Foundation 1 in Palo Alto with Andy Sarouhan 
Thursday, 6/26/2014 7:00 PM

Youth Summer School, Session 1 with Laura Derry 
Monday, 7/7/2014 9:00 AM

Youth Summer School, Session 2 with Laura Derry 
Monday, 7/14/2014 9:00 AM

Teen Summer School: Improv Ensemble Session 1 with Laura Derry 
Monday, 7/21/2014 9:00 AM

Teen Summer School: Improv Ensemble Session 2 with Laura Derry 
Monday, 7/28/2014 9:00 AM

Effortless Story with William Hall 
Thursday, 7/31/2014 6:00 PM

Improv for Everybody: the Ethics of Playing Together with Patricia Ryan Madson
Thursday, 8/7/2014 2:00 PM

The Truth with Zoe Galvez 
Friday, 8/8/2014 10:00 AM

3-Day Intensive - Elements of Long Form with Dave Dennison 
Friday, 8/15/2014 10:00 AM

3-Day Intensive - Foundation 1 with Chris Sams 
Friday, 8/15/2014 10:00 AM

Exploring Emotion with Rafe Chase 
Thursday, 8/21/2014 10:00 AM

Playing the Lead with Tim Orr 
Friday, 8/22/2014 10:00 AM

Special Effects with Ben Johnson 
Saturday, 8/23/2014 10:00 AM

Stage Combat and Intimacy with Diane Rachel 
Sunday, 8/24/2014 10:00 AM

Music Bootcamp with Lisa Rowland 
Friday, 8/29/2014 10:00 AM

Improvising Brecht's Epic Theatre with Maria Sommer & T.J. Weiss
Friday, 8/29/2014 10:00 AM

Meet BATS’ Coaches:

View bios of our coaches