Company Member since 2007
Coach since 2008
Lisa Rowland began improvising in high school and then fell in love with the practice in college as a member of the Stanford Improvisors at Stanford University, under the coaching of Patricia Ryan Madson (author of Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up). She joined the BATS Main Stage Company as a guest in 2006 and a permanent Company member in 2007. From 2005 to 2012, Lisa served as the Manager of the BATS School of Improv, and she continues to teach in the school, specializing in Improvised Shakespeare and Improvised Singing.
In addition to performing with BATS, which she considers herself massively lucky to do, Lisa is a founding member of Awkward Dinner Party and also performs with Improv Playhouse of San Francisco. She teaches and performs improv all over the country and the world, from Mexico to Germany to Saudi Arabia, where she travels yearly to teach at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).
Here in the Bay Area, Lisa is a lecturer at Stanford University, teaching improvisation as part of the Theatre and Performance Studies department. She also puts her improv skills to work off-stage through teaching communication skills and co-facilitating workshops on innovation through Design Thinking She is the lucky co-coach of two wonderful high school improv teams in San Mateo.
Q & A
What was your first BATS show?
Theatresports™ in 1997
What are your favorite formats?
Murder Mystery, Shakespeare, Theatresports, the Harold
Best moment on the BATS stage?
I cannot pick one. But I do remember a bizarre scene called “Pancake in a Minute” that made me laugh until I cried.
Any improv advice?
Don’t wait until you’re a confident improviser to act like a confident improviser. Be changed.
What are your artistic influences?
Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, the BATS Main Stage Company players
Noises Off!, Hook, Shawshank Redemption, The Princess Bride
I generally listen to whatever’s on the radio. Queen is one of my favorite bands. I enjoy songs that tell stories, and I have an unhealthy love of Lite Rock.
I love Shakespeare as well as a whole smattering of contemporary theatre. I’m a big theatre fan, so anything that tells a good story and takes some risks is my kind of show.