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.

Click here for Youth Summer Camp listings 

 

Improvised Shakespeare

August 3 - August 7, 2019
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco

Class Time/Dates: 
Saturday, Sunday, Monday, August 3, 4, 5, 10am - 5pm each day
Tuesday, August 6, 7pm - 10pm
Performance showcases: Wednesday, August 7, 6:30pm and 8:00pm
Class size: 14 students maximum
Class length: 21 hour of instruction
Early Registration Tuition: $419
Regular Tuition: $439
Prerequisite: At least one improvised performance class necessary. Contact dave@improv.org prior to registration with eligibility questions.

 

This Advanced Long-Form Intensive is intended for advanced students who are looking to play with the theatricality, emotions, playfulness and poetry of the BARD.

- the richness, beauty and simplicity of the language;
- the boisterous comings and goings, and overall stage movement, that keep the story moving ahead in a dynamic fashion;
- the eccentricity and variety of the characters;
- the freedom to tell any kind of story within the Shakespearean framework (romance, mystery, crime, fantasy, etc.);
- the joy and momentum from working as a cohesive ensemble

Through working on these specifics of the Shakespearean genre and style, you'll strengthen the skills that will serve you in any genre or format. Join Intensive instructor Tim Orr for this wild ride!

 

 

Coaches

Tim Orr

True Fiction Magazine

August 8 - August 11, 2019
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco

Class Time/Dates: 
Thursday, August 8, 6-10 pm, 
Friday, Saturday, August 9 and 10, 10am - 6pm each day; Sunday, August 11, 10am - 2pm
Performance showcase: Sunday, August 11th, 4pm (second optional at 5:45pm)
Class size: 14 students maximum
Class length: 22 hour of instruction
Early Registration Tuition: $409
Regular Tuition: $439
Prerequisite: Coach approval required. Contact dave@improv.org prior to registration for approval to enroll.

 

This is a class for advanced improvisers who want to study long-form improv at BATS and challenge themselves with multiple narratives weaving through the show. Students will learn how to spontaneously create characters, environments and narrative based on multiple genres, and the transitions that will allow the cast to move seamlessly from story to story. The use of traditional transitions, cinematic tools and TFM’s unique way of dropping from one story to the next will be practiced.
We’ll end with either one or two shows, depending on the amount of students who register.

 

 

Coaches

Regina Saisi

Acting for Long Form

August 12 - August 14, 2019
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco

Class Time/Dates: Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday August 12, 13, and 14, 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
Early Registration Tuition: $349
Regular 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. 

 

Coach
Rafe

Rafe Chase

The Bechdel Test

August 15 - August 17, 2019
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco

Class Time/Dates: Thursday, Friday, Saturday, August 15, 16, 17, 10am - 5pm each day
Schedule: 10am - 1pm, lunch from 1-2pm, 2-5pm
Two performances: Sunday, August 18, 5pm and 7pm
Class size: 14 students maximum: 10 women and 4 men
Class length: 18 hours total of instruction
Tuition: $399 (Early Registration $379)
Prerequisite: Advanced players with significant performance experience.  Approval from the dean is required before registration. Contact dave@improv.org for questions about eligibility and requests to enroll.

 

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.

 

 

Effortless Story

August 15 - August 18, 2019
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco

Schedule: 
6-9pm Thursday, August 15
10am-5pm Friday and Saturday, August 16 and 17 (with a 1-hour lunch break)
10am-3pm Sunday, August 18 (with a 1-hour break)
Class size: 16 students maximum
Class length: 18 hours total of instruction 
Early Registration Tuition: $329
Regular Tuition: $349
Prerequisite: None! Beginning to advanced students welcome.


Improvisation can be effortless. Improv works best when it is ‘in the zone’, when the players are in the moment and playing well with each other. There may be effort in learning to improvise - but the performance of improv benefits from effortless creative flow. Using your stories, we’ll create and experiment with a new long form structure together. Build your awareness of improvised stories through this approach to enrich the practice of the experienced improviser, or inspire the beginner in you.

 

 

 

Theatre Over the Edge

August 19 - August 21, 2019
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco

Class Time/Dates: Monday and Tuesday, August 19 and 20, 10am - 6pm (with 1 hour lunch break)
Wednesday, August 21, 11am - 4pm

Performance: Wednesday, August 21st; exact time TBD by the coaches and students after the first class meeting. Students should plan to be in the theater until 8pm on Wednesday.
Class size: 14 students maximum
Class length: 18 hours total of instruction
Early Registration Tuition: $379
Regular Tuition: $399
Prerequisite: Significant performance experience required. Please email Dean Dave Dennison at dave@improv.org to confirm eligibility BEFORE registering.

What does Superman think about climate change? Why is Robin Hood laughing at the sight of a paper cup? In this improv format based on the postdramatic work of Heiner Müller, we will make theater pieces exploring current events and political topics with pop culture icons and characters. Utilizing free association, monologues, snapshots and vignettes, this improv format creates dreamlike sequences which create an experience over the course of a night, exploring a topic that is on all of our minds.

German dramatist and director Heiner Müller is best known for “Hamlet Machine” and “The Mission". His mighty texts and productions, in which he confronted individuals and cold-war societies, have influenced European theatre since the 1960s and are still relevant today. We'll use his style and techniques to look at and respond to topics that affect us all today.

 

Improvising the Long-Form Musical

August 22-25, 2019
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco


Class Dates: Thursday, August 22, 6-10 pm (4 hours)
Friday, August 23, 10-6pm (7 hours)
Saturday, August 24, 10-6pm (7 hours)
Sunday, August 25, 10am-12 pm (2 hours) 
Performance Showcase: Sunday, August 25: two 50 minute performances from 1-2 pm and 2:30-3:30 pm
Class size: 12 students maximum
Class length: 20 hours of instruction total, see above schedule for a breakdown of hours each day
Tuition: $519 (Early Registration $499)

Prerequisite: Dean and Coaches' approval. **Please obtain approval BEFORE registering for this intensive. Email Dave Dennison at dave@improv.org to submit your interest and confirm your eligibility.**


This is a rare opportunity to study with both of the most experienced practitioners and teachers of song improvisation in the BATS community at the same time.

They will be focusing on the elements of the long-form musical, culminating in two one-act performances.

This course is NOT FOR BEGINNERS -- experience in SONG IMPROVISATION and LONG FORM is required.

 

 

Intro to Long-Form Narrative

August 22 - August 25, 2019
Bayfront Theater, San Francisco

Class Time/Dates: 
Thursday, August 22, 6-10 pm, 
Friday and Saturday, August 23 and 24, 10am - 6pm each day; Sunday, August 25, 2pm - 5pm
Performance showcase: Sunday, August 25, 6pm-8pm
Class size: 14 students maximum
Class length: 19 hour of instruction
Early Registration Tuition: $399
Regular Tuition: $429
Prerequisite: Foundation 3 and above

 

For students who have done some shortform and now want to dip their toes into the deep waters of longform! Learn the ins and outs of longform in this class designed for the improviser who is new to creating longer narratives. This class promises to be fun and engaging while introducing the skills you need to create a dynamic story as an ensemble. Some of what we’ll explore:

  • Learn theatrical techniques like Meisner and apply them to improv.
  • Develop deeper characters and sustain them in a longer narrative
  • Use genre to make the stories specific and compelling.

Work with long time pros Zoe and John to tap into your storytelling skills. The class culminates in a showcase demonstrating the broad array of skills necessary for a LongForm Narrative.

 

 

“BATS coaches are all extremely enthusiastic, supportive, and helpful.”

– BATS Student

Class Locations

map

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.