Company Member since 2007
Coach since 2008
Lisa Rowland is a Bay Area native, growing up in the East Bay and getting her improv training at Stanford University with the wise and wonderful Patricia Ryan Madson (author of Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up) before joining the BATS Company in 2006. She teaches and coaches locally and travels the world teaching and performing and connecting with improv friends from Saudi Arabia to Germany to Mexico and New Zealand. When here in the Bay Area, Lisa works as a lecturer at her alma mater, offering improv classes in the Theatre and Performance Studies department at Stanford.
A founding member of two renowned Bay Area improv groups, Awkward Dinner Party and Improv Playhouse of San Francisco, Lisa is also the creator of the improv format The Bechdel Test, which aims to put multi-dimensional women at the center of stories.
A strong believer in the ways that improvisation can help make people healthier and happier, Lisa co-produces a podcast called Monster Baby which explores the intersection of mindfulness and improv (and is available on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts!). She also uses improvisation in design thinking workshops, encouraging creativity and innovation.
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.