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 »

summer1Summer Sessions

Prerequisite: Varies by class
Schedule: 2–4 days (consecutive)
Class length: Varies by class
Class size: Varies by class
Tuition: Varies by class

See the Summer Sessions schedule »

Our Summer Sessions offer a range of intensive workshops, many of which we only offer during the summer. It’s a chance for intensive study over a period of two to four consecutive days per session with peers from around the Bay Area and the world. Our talented teaching staff are joined by renowned guest coaches to present improvised theatre classes you won’t find anywhere else.

The flexible schedule of our Summer Sessions makes it easy (and affordable!) to study with us, and we offer workshops for all levels (some require no improv training at all). Past guest coaches have included TheatresportsTM creator Keith Johnstone, Blind Date creator Rebecca Northan, and author of Improv Wisdom Patricia Ryan Madson.

Note: Our Summer Sessions often sell out, so we strongly encourage you to register early. AND if you register by June 1, you’ll receive the early registration discount.

Click here for Youth Summer Camp listings 


Spontaneous Broadway

July 27 - July 29, 2017
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco

Class Time/Dates: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and Sunday, July 27-29. 
Schedule: July 27, 7-10pm, July 28 and 29, 10am-5pm, with a lunch break from 1-2pm
Two performances: Sunday, July 30, 2pm and 4pm
Class size: 12 students maximum
Class length: 15 hours total of instruction with both coaches
Tuition: $409
Prerequisite: Advanced improvised singing and long form experience.  Coach and Dean approval needed; ccontact  for questions about eligibility.

An old favorite of BATS Improv, Spontaneous Broadway is an improvised musical extravaganza!  Work with an ensemble of 12 advanced students to learn the ins and outs of the Spontaneous Broadway format.  This 4 day intensive with performance will train individual skills—variety, duets, solos, song styles, back-up singing, finding the ending, and weaving songs into simple long-form stories—to prepare you for two full-length performances on the Bayfront stage.  Barbara Scott and J. Raoul Brody team up to teach this series. 




Co-Conspirators: Improv Duos

August 3 - August 5, 2017
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco

Class Time/Dates: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, August 3-5, 10am-4pm each day with a 1-hour lunch break from 12:30-1:30pm
Class size: 8 students maximum
Performance: Sunday, August 6th, time TBD; each duo has 20-25 minutes of performance time
Class length: 15 hours total of instruction
Tuition: $369
Prerequisite: Studio Scene Work and above

This 3-day intensive gets you and your teammate ready to perform a unique two-person show. Explore the possibilities and challenges of a two person squad and create a format that fits you and your co-conspirator. Sign up with a partner, or if you're looking to get matched with someone to play with, email Regina at before registering and we'll see if we can find you a match! 




John Remak

3-Day Foundation 1 Intensive

August 4  - August 6, 2017
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco

Schedule: 3 hours on Friday night and 6 hours on Saturday and Sunday (with a 1-hour lunch break on both days)
Class dates: Friday August 4, 7-10pm, Saturday and Sunday August 5-6, 10am-5pm daily
Class length: 15 hours total instruction
Class size: 16 students maximum
Tuition: $309
Prerequisite: None! Open to all adults 18 and over.

Foundation 1 is our fun introduction to the joys and thrills of improvisation and the BATS-style of improvised theatre. This intensive covers all of the content of the 6-week Foundation 1 class over three days.

Students learn improv concepts and vocabulary, practice new skills, and perform in a safe, friendly atmosphere. Through games and exercises, you'll play, explore, and experiment with creating characters and scenes, guided by our seasoned coaches. Foundation 1 is all about unleashing your innate skill. Are you human? Then you have all the experience necessary to excel!


Women's Improv Intensive

August 7 - August 9, 2017
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco

Class Time/Dates: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, August 7, 8, and 9, 10am - 5pm each day
Schedule: 10am - 1pm, lunch from 1-2pm, 2-5pm
Class size: 12 students maximum
Class length: 12 hours total of instruction
Tuition: $369
Prerequisite: Performance Workshop 1 or equivalent (women, trans, and female-identified students only)

You asked for it and here it is!  Another all-female improv workshop - for women, trans, and female-identified individuals.  In this good ol' fashioned improv class, we will do scenes, explore character, enhance narrative, and practice the craft of improvisation with these additional goals at top of mind:

  • Explore your internalized bias. 
  • Play bold characters. 
  • Fill the theatre with your voice. 
  • Physicalize new characters. 
  • Express big emotions.
  • Take agency on any stage 

Together we’ll create a dynamic, safe, supportive environment for you to explore your physical expression and find new characters. In addition, you’ll discover new voices within yourself. We'll also develop skills and practice voice work; what if no-one ever yelled "Volume!" at you again?  This workshop aims to create and cultivate a safe and supportive environment for practicing improv skills in an all-female environment. We hope you'll join us! 

Prerequisite: P1 - or equivalent (Women, trans, and female identified students only)



The Bechdel Test

August 10 - August 13, 2017
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco

Class Time/Dates: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, August 10, 11, 12, and 13, 10am - 5pm each day
Schedule: 10am - 1pm, lunch from 1-2pm, 2-5pm
Two performances: Sunday, August 13, 4pm and 6pm
Class size: 12 students maximum: 8 women and 4 men
Class length: 24 hours total of instruction
Tuition: $439
Prerequisite: Advanced players with significant performance experience. Contact  for questions about eligibility.


The Bechdel Test is a lens we can use to look at how women show up in works of fiction.  Named for cartoonist Alison Bechdel, it asks the question, "Is there a scene between two women talking to each other about something other than a man?"

The remarkably low percentage of films and stories that pass this test points to the fact that we all have grown accustomed to creating and seeing stories centering around men.  And as story creators we often perpetuate that pattern. 

Debuting on the main stage at BATS in August 2016, the Bechdel test format aims to explore the complexities, relationships, and stories of women.  Simply deciding to make stories whose main characters are women - good, bad, likeable and not - is a departure from the stories that we often consume and create!

This format includes both men and women - it is not a female-only class, as this is not a female-only issue! The class is for a experienced improvisors with performance experience.



3-Day Foundation 2 Intensive

August 11  - August 13, 2017
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco

Schedule: 3 hours on Friday night and 6 hours on Saturday and Sunday (with a 1-hour lunch break both days)
Class Time/Dates: 7-10pm on Friday, August 11
10am-5pm (with a 1-hour lunch break) Saturday and Sunday August 12 and 13
Class size: 14 students maximum 
Class length: 15 hours total of instruction
Tuition: $309
Prerequisite: Foundation 1 or equivalent. Please contact Regina Saisi, Dean, with any questions about prerequisites or your eligibility at or 415-474-6776.

Foundation 2 focuses on refining your improv knowledge and skill set, reinforcing the concepts you learned in Foundation 1 through games, play, and exercises.

This course covers all of the content of the 6-week Foundation 2 class over three days.

While the emphasis is still on fun, course content also explores more conceptual and technical information and helps you build the skills you need to perform in front of an audience.

Students in Foundation 2 are required to read one of the definitive texts on improv: IMPRO by Keith Johnstone. Johnstone invented Theatresports, one of the core improv formats we play at BATS. BATS sells the book for $25; it is also available from a variety of retail outlets. When enrolling, please indicate whether or not you would like to purchase the book from BATS. If so, you can pay for it at time of registration and pick up their book on your first day of class.

At the conclusion, everyone "passes" and can move on to Foundation 3, but you can also take Foundation 2 as many times as you would like.



Song Improv 103: Harmony

August 14 - 16, 2017
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco

Class Time/Dates: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights, August 14, 15, and 16, from 7-10pm
Class size: 12 students maximum
Class length: 9 hours total of instruction
Tuition: $369
Prerequisite: Contact to see if you qualify for this intensive

Improvising a song out of thin air is magical enough, but two or more people improvising in harmony? The mind boggles! But you can do it: If you can carry a tune, and if you've had Song Improv 101 with Barbara and/or Joshua (or equivalent training), we will take you through the various ways people can harmonize.



Mask Making

August 16 - 20, 2017
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco

Class Time/Dates: Wednesday, August 16th 10am-5pm, with a 1-hour lunch break from 1-2pm, and 10-11am Thursday - Sunday, August 17 - 20, before the Mask Intensive begins at 11am on those days. 
Class size: 6 students maximum
Prerequisite: Must be enrolled in the Mask Intensive to participate in this workshop! To register for the Mask Intensive, go here:

Masks have the ability to free us up from ourselves in a magical way.  Spending hours in the creation of a mask creates a connection between you and the mask and gives it power. 
+ Learn mask-making and make your own mask for the workshop.
+ Learn how to mask a make from the initial design to the clay sculpture to the paper mache to the painting and finish.  
+ We’ll meet for a full day before the workshop, and then an hour before each class until you have your finished mask in your hands.  
+ It’s a great opportunity to start your own collection of unique personal masks.
If you have any questions, please contact William at
No prior experience in mask making is necessary…but it’s helpful if you bring a bit of whimsy!




William Hall


August 17 - 20, 2017
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco

Class Time/Dates: Thursday through Sunday, August 17, 18, 19, and 20, from 11am to 5pm
Schedule: 11am - 5pm, lunch from 1:30-2:30pm
Class size: 12 students maximum
Class length: 18 hours total of instruction
Tuition: $389
Prerequisite: Studio Scene Work and above

How do masks transform the theatrical space?  How do masks transform the performer?  How can we bring masks and mask work into improv?  This class will explore the mysterious, powerful impact masks can have on a performer and his or her play.  No experience is necessary, just come with your face, ready to play.  William Hall will bring his extensive collection of masks to this workshop and will lead you through lots of work on. 

Six students who are enrolled in this workshop will have the opportunity to participate in the Mask Making workshop, August 16, 10am-5pm (with a lunch break from 1-2pm) and Thursday through Sunday, August 17-20 from 10-11am. Enroll in the mask making workshop here:




William Hall

Acting for Improv

August 20 - August 22, 2017
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco

Class Time/Dates: Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, August 20, 21, and 22, from 10am - 5pm each day
Schedule: 10am - 1pm, lunch from 1-2pm, 2-5pm
Class size: 12 students maximum
Class length: 18 hours total of instruction
Tuition: $369
Prerequisite: Studio Scene Work and above

 Human beings go through life experiencing emotions that shift from moment to moment.   Learn how to utilize this simple fact in your improv, as Rafe helps you explore playing characters which, through the truth of your acting, can both be changed and effect change in others. 



Rafe Chase

Open Short Scene Work

August 23 - August 26, 2017
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco

Class Time/Dates: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, August 23, 24, and 25 - 10am-4pm, August 26, 10am - 5pm 
Schedule: 10am - 4pm Wednesday - Friday, with a 1-hour lunch break; 10am-5pm Saturday August 26
Performances: Two shows, Sunday, August 27th, 5pm and 7pm
Class size: 12 students maximum
Class length: 21 hours total of instruction
Tuition: $419
Prerequisite: Studio Scene Work 

Discover the joys, challenges and opportunities of “open” short scenework.  By “open”, I mean that
every scene stands on its own, based on suggestions or sometimes not, and not usually connected to other scenes in any way.  And by “short”, I mean anywhere between 5 seconds and 5 minutes.  
There are infinite improv challenges in open scene work: jumping into scenes fearlessly, finding the path of the scene in a timely manner and following through on it, and of course ending scenes effectively.

Together, we’ll explore the thrills and skills of doing short scenes!



Tim Orr

From Tall Ships to Spaceships: Improv on the High Seas and In Space

August 30 - September 2, 2017
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco

Class Time/Dates: Wednesday to Saturday, August 30, 31, September 1, and 2
Schedule: 9am-1pm on Wed, August 30th, with a 1-hour lunch break and a field trip to the San Francisco Maritime Museum from 2:30-5pm; Thursday to Saturday August 31 to September 2, 10am-5pm with a 1-hour lunch break
Two performances: Sunday, September 3rd, 4pm: Classic Seafaring Naval show and 7pm: Improvised Star Trek show
Class size: 8 students maximum
Class length: 22 hours total of instruction
Tuition: $449
Prerequisite: Performance Workshop 3 (Elements of Long Form) or other long form experience required. Contact to confirm eligibility.

In this class, we will explore two eras - the classic age of seafaring in the 18th century and the Original Series Star Trek in the 23rd century. We will immerse ourselves in these worlds (including a field trip to a nearby Maritime Pier and Museum) which will culminate in a performance in each genre on Sunday, September 3rd.
We will be focusing on the following improv skills: stage combat, characters and commitment, wheres and space objects, stories with large group scenes, playing the extra vs. playing the lead. We will also work on quickly becoming an improv ensemble that is generous and works well together in a short period of time (like a crew on a ship!)
You do not have to be an expert in these genres, but please be prepared to do some homework before the class begins. I will be sending out a list of things to watch to begin our immersion into these two similar yet distinct worlds, and also study guides for reference. Ultimately we will absorb what we can, let go of the rest and play together and have fun! We will also have some simple and minimal costumes for both shows that you will be responsible for acquiring before our performance date. 
Looking forward to working and playing with you. Our adventure awaits!





Laura Derry

“I really feel it has made me a stronger performer.”

– BATS Student

Class Locations


BATS Improv
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


See School FAQs for registration details, plus info on parking, nearby food, safety, etc.