Shortform: (usually on Fridays)
fun and fast-paced improvised theatre, filled with scenes, songs, games, and lots of audience participation and suggestions.


Read more about Improv »
Longform: (usually on Saturdays)
full-length, narrative, genre-driven, completely improvised stories based on audience suggestions.


Read more about Improv »

Frequently Asked Questions About BATS School

Eligibility, Coaches, Class Schedules, the BATS Course of Study

Yes! Adults 18 years and older are eligible for enrollment in the adult classes. You don’t need to be an actor or have any experience on stage or with improv. Anyone can take our classes!

Youth and teens age 11-17 can take our after-school and summer youth classes. No experience necessary.

No. In fact, one of the things that we teach at BATS is that good improv means not trying to be funny. Our style of improv is all about listening, positivity, spontaneity, generosity, and genuine creativity — and these are all skills that can be nurtured and developed. Foundation 1 will introduce you to these basic improv skills and more.

Foundation 1. Not sure you’re ready to commit to a six-week class? We also offer one-time, 3-hour Intro to Improv and Improv for Shy People workshops.

Yes. We recommend that everyone start with Foundation 1, regardless of previous experience. Why? Because we want every student to speak the language of BATS-style improv and be well-versed in its approach.

For students who have significant equivalent experience, we will sometimes make an exception to this policy. If you believe you fit this description, please contact the office at (415) 474-6776 or email registrar@improv.org to talk to the Dean or Manager of Improv Training Programs.

The maximum number of students varies depending on the class. The maximum class size of each class is listed in the class description.

In general, our Foundation level classes are 12-16 students and 1 coach. The more advanced classes are about 10 students and 1 coach. Our coaches are experienced professionals who provide encouragement and constructive, concrete feedback to each student. Stage time is always shared evenly among all members of the class.

Sorry, we do not allow students to audit. BATS classes create a safe, supportive environment in which students can take risks and do their best work. Visitors change the class dynamic from “workshop” to “performance.”

All of them! Our coaches wouldn’t be teaching with us if we didn’t think they were great! BATS Coaches has more info about our talented teaching staff. For an individual bio, click the name or picture of the coach you’re interested in.

Email registrar@improv.org, and we’ll be happy to forward your question or comment.

You can see the upcoming Foundation 1 classes here or in the Start Improvising box to the right. For other classes, use the navigation at top right of this page to go to any class’s page. Each class page has a class overview and the full schedule of upcoming sessions.

Yes! Join our mailing list (type your email address in the Join the BATS Community box at bottom right), and you’ll be among the first to know about new classes, the upcoming Summer Sessions, and more.

The answer to this will vary a bit for every student because everyone has different interests, strengths, and areas for development. We encourage you to speak with your coaches and the dean about your goals and development as an improviser.

Here’s an overview of the BATS course of study:
Foundation 1
Foundation 2
Foundation 3
Studio Scene Work
Performance Specialty
optional: Foundation Specialty classes, Studio Specialty classes, Summer Sessions workshops

Students enrolled in Performance Specialty classes are eligible to perform in their class’s showcase and also become eligible to play in our ongoing Student Shows, including the Sunday Cave Match series and Sunday TheatresportsTM Tournaments.

The very quickest you could go through our course of study and take your first performance class would be about 5 months from your first session, assuming you advance from each class and the schedule of classes offered lines up just right with what you need at the time. The typical time from a student’s first class to his or her first performance is usually 8 months to a year.

Each student will have a somewhat different experience at BATS because of his or her unique skill set, and 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.

There is no direct path from the BATS School of Improv to the Main Stage Company, although almost all of our company members have completed the BATS course of study. The company holds auditions once a year for its guest performer program, usually in April. See Jobs & Auditions for more info.

Registration, Payment, Cancellation, Waitlist, Refunds, Financial Aid

Registering online is the best way. On each class page’s upcoming class schedule are SIGN UP buttons for each session. Clicking it takes you to the Eventbrite page for that session where you will be able to register (you can pay by credit card or PayPal) and learn more about the class curriculum, goals, and logistics.

If you cannot register online, call the office at (415) 474-6776 or email registrar@improv.org for assistance. We can make arrangements for payment by check or cash as needed.

Due to high demand, the only way to reserve a space is with full payment.

All online class registrations are processed through Eventbrite where you can pay with a credit card or PayPal. This is the best way to lock in your registration and gaurantee a space in the class you want.

Yes! We offer waiting lists for sold-out classes. If a class is sold out, the Eventbrite registration page will show a waitlist option. (Click WAITLIST and enter your contact information.

If BATS cancels a class that you have paid for, you will receive a refund check for the full tuition. At your discretion, you can also apply any tuition paid as credit toward a future class.

The cost of every class includes a 20% nonrefundable deposit. Our policy for 80% refunds depend on the type of class, as explained below. Refunds are paid by check.

If you drop any class 14 days or more before the first class session
You may choose to receive an 80% refund (the amount of the class minus your nonrefundable deposit) OR you may choose to reapply your payment in full to another BATS class.

If you drop a Summer Session or youth/teen class 13 days or fewer before first class session
Your payment cannot be reapplied or refunded at all.

If you drop a regular adult class between 13 and 4 days before first class session
You lose the option of reapplying your payment in full. You can either reapply your payment minus the deposit to another class OR receive an 80% refund.

If you drop a regular adult class within 72 hours (3 days) of the first class session or after it has begun
Your payment cannot be reapplied or refunded at all.

Here’s why: Although 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 refund or reapplication of payment.

Generally speaking, we don’t recommend missing the first class of any series. The first class is very important in establishing the class dynamic, and we highly recommend that you find a series where you can attend the first (and all) of the sessions. If you still want to register for a class where you will miss the first meeting, please contact the office in advance at (415) 474-6776 or registrar@improv.org.

If you miss a class, you will miss a class. BATS cannot refund your payment or prorate your class tuition in advance to account for the missed class.

We don’t offer makeup classes at BATS. We highly recommend that you register for a series where you can attend all the class meetings. Here’s why: Each class develops its own dynamic and that dynamic is key to everyone’s success. Having a new student drop in in for just one class disrupts the dynamic and interferes with the creative process.

You will be charged a $25 fee for any bounced checks.

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 registrar@improv.org.

BATS also offers a Work Study Program that allows students to earn up to 75% of the tuition for BATS classes by working at Friday or Saturday shows. Inquire in the office to get more details and learn how you can apply.

Class Locations, Directions, Parking, Accessibility

Class locations are noted on the online class schedule and will appear in your registration confirmation email from the BATS office.

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 the Fort Mason Center. Locations will be posted at the entrance to the Bayfront Theater at the time of your class.

BATS also holds classes in spaces at Studio 210 in San Francisco’s Mission District and the Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto.

See Map, Directions & Nearby for directions, parking, public transportation, and safety info, and a list of nearby restaurants.

mapBATS Center for Improvised Theatre
Bayfront Theater
B350 Fort Mason Center
San Francisco

Studio 210
3435 Cesar Chavez Street
San Francisco

Cubberley Community Center
4000 Middlefield Road
Palo Alto

 

 

 

 

The Bayfront Theater and classrooms in Fort Mason are wheelchair accessible. There is a ramp at the south side (nearest the parking lot) of the west entrance to the building (the entrance with the BATS sign) and an elevator to get to the third floor. ADA-compliant bathrooms are located across the bridge in Building C.

Unfortunately, Studio 210 is not wheelchair accessible.

The Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto is wheelchair accessible.

Please contact us at registrar@improv.org to notify us of any special needs you may have so we can accommodate them.

We regret that no animals are allowed in class except service animals.

“I can’t remember when I’ve felt more comfortable to make a mistake or take a risk.”

– BATS Student

Start Improvising

Foundation 1

with Rebecca Stockley
Saturdays, 2:30-5:30 PM
September 6 - October 11, 2014
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco


See all Foundation 1 classes »

student-shows