BATS Improv

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Presenting laugh-out-loud improvisational theatre since 1986

BATS Improv, a non-profit education and performance theatre company, has entertained Bay Area audiences since 1986. Our unique style of acting-based improvisational theatre has made BATS the Bay Area's largest improv theatre company and school and is a benchmark for improv all over the world.

BATS takes its inspiration from the work of Theatresports creator Keith Johnstone and from San Francisco's own tradition of experimental improvisation. With an emphasis on story, BATS stands out from the average "comedy improv" seen in bars and on television - BATS continuously pushes the envelope, exploring both short and long-form improv theatre.

BATS is in residence at the 200-seat Bayfront Theater at historic Fort Mason Center in San Francisco and performs year round.

In addition, BATS runs a successful corporate training program, presents improv in schools as a popular participant in the Bay Area's Young Audiences program, and provides improv workshops through its Laughing Stock program to people living with HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, cancer, and other chronic, life-threatening illness.

BATS Improv Show Calendar For all information on Performances

About BATS

Mission Statement

• Perform, teach, develop, and promote improvisational theatre

• Be loose and have fun

• Create phenomenal improv

• Run fast to help audience, students, and clients

• Create strong and exciting improvisers

• Entertain and surprise audiences and ourselves

• And give generously to others

Core Values

  • Improv – We love the art and practice of improvising.
  • Telling Stories – We focus our work on discovering and telling stories.
  • Fun – We delight in the enjoyment of ourselves, our audience, our coaches, our staff, our clients, and our students.
  • Inspirational Environment – We foster trust, generosity, and shared vision to create a fun place to perform, teach, and learn improvisational theatre.
  • Risk Taking – We encourage innovation through experimentation, boldness and variety in our work, performances and formats.
  • Excellence – We expect each performer, coach, student and staff member to reach their own highest level of success.
  • Financial Stability – We enable the growth of our self-supporting organization through our theater and school.


BATS-style improv is theatre that tells a story collaboratively. From comedy to drama, short scenes to full length epics these stories engage and entertain audiences with rich characters and relationships.


About BATS Classes

Whether you're an actor working to enhance your performance skills or someone who thinks that improv just looks like fun, BATS Improv has a class for you. New workshops, designed for a variety of skill levels, start each month, year-round.

Over the past 20 years, BATS has gained a reputation as one of the best schools of improvisational theatre anywhere in the world. The classes attract students from all over the Bay Area, throughout the United States, and as far away as Australia, England, and Japan.

Classes are small and provide individual attention from experienced coaches. In fact, we believe that the BATS coaching staff is one of the best collections of improv teaching talent anywhere in the world!

For students who want to perform on the BATS stage, completion of our series classes may lead to an invitation to join a student performance program. BATS also offers classes for students who just want to explore improv, but don't want to perform. And for experienced improvisers, BATS offers specialty classes and advanced training.

Who takes our classes? Professional actors, lawyers, doctors, architects, lobbyists, greeting card writers, reporters, hermits, firemen. You name it, they all spent time in a BATS workshop.

Curriculum & Teaching Philosophy

BATS take its inspiration from the work of Keith Johnstone and from BATS' own 20-year tradition of innovation and experimentation. We use Johnstone's Theatresports format as a cornerstone of our curriculum because we believe it provides a solid foundation on which to build skills.

Improv training is a core element of the BATS organization. From our founding in 1986, we have always viewed workshops as the key way to develop new talent and expose more people to the transformative qualities of improvisational theatre. We have 20 years of experience teaching improv and believe that this history makes the quality of our program one of the best around.

BATS series classes -- Foundation 1, 2, 3 and Performance 1, 2, 3 -- all have course outlines, but there is not a "cookie cutter" approach to the curriculum. There are hundreds of theatre games that teach BATS' basic concepts of improv. Rather than limiting a coach to a set list of exercises that teach BATS' ideas, coaches are encouraged to use the exercise that serves the needs of the students in the moment.

Common understanding of key theory elements is important for BATS students. The same theories, principles and ideas will be covered in each Foundation and Performance class, regardless of the teacher.

While BATS coaches are expected to be prepared with a course outline of exercises, teachers are encouraged to work spontaneously with each class. By practicing spontaneity in teaching, each workshop models the best improv practices.

While our curriculum is performance-based training, we also believe that learning improvisational theatre skills—listening, making your partner look good, failing good-naturedly, taking risks—can have a positive impact on people’s lives beyond the stage: at home, work, and in interpersonal relationships.

Coach Evaluations

After each workshop, students are asked to fill out an evaluation of the coach and curriculum. The dean and the coach review evaluations and modifications are made based on feedback.

Calendar and Class Schedules

The Players

2008 Mainstage Company

Rafe Chase Dave Dennison Laura Derry Zoe Galvez William Hall Paul Killam Kasey Klemm John Kovacevich Gerri Lawlor Kimberly MacLean Jenny Meyer-Rosen Tim Orr Diane Rachel John Remak Corey Rosen Rich Ross Lisa Rowland Regina Saisi Barbara Scott Rebecca Stockley

2008 Mainstage Guest Performer

Ken Robertson

Student Performers:

The Sunday Players Basel Al-Naffouri • Elizabeth Aracic • Suzanne Barber • Mikaela Bennett • David Boyll • Russell Bradley • Boyd Burggrabe • Paul Dougherty • Phil Eugenio • Ann Feehan • Robin Fife • Nina Goldschlager • Merrill Gruver • Rebecca Handler • Pamela Hawley • Amy Houtrow • Larissa Kasian • Nick Leonard • Jon Ligon • Sean McPharlin • Jerry Ostrin • Jeremey Parr • Mary Ray • Alison Ross • Terry Sandke • Charlie Souby • Ellen Stewart • Lynn Travis • Jill Vice • Elizabeth Whalley • Ben Yates


Joshua Raoul Brody, Musical Director Laura Derry, David Norfleet, Richard Leiter, Steve Kirk, Steven Grady, Corey Rosen, Jerome Rossen, Michael Whitely, Jeff Kane, Jim Shelby, Scott Myer

Lighting Improvisers / Stage Managers

Chet Anderson, David Barlin, Boyd Burgrabbe, Peter Garrison, Mandy Khoshnevisan, Kasey Klemm, Gerri Lawlor, Nick Leonard, Andrew Merit, Janet Miller, Patricia Pearson, Mark Rachel

Main Stage Company Alumni

Ed Alter, Gary Barth, Kurt Bodden, Dave Bushnell, Curt Butz, James Campbell, Lex Chesler, Richard Dupell, Tim Ereneta, Jennifer Fairbanks*, Cully Fredrickson, Naomi Freier, Amos Glick, Carol Hazenfield, John X. Heart, Ellen Idelson*, Stephen Kearin, Dan Klein, Rachel Klem, Kat Koppett, Drew Letchworth, Tony Lijphart, Kirk Livingston, Brian Lohmann, Bob Martin, Dan O'Connor, Jay Parks, Larry Pisoni, Greg Proops, Reed Kirk Rahlmann, Pamela, Stoneham, Chris Thompson, Sylvia Tucker


Contact Information


The Bayfront Theater at Fort Mason Center

Building B on the third floor

B350 Fort Mason Center, San Francisco, California 94123

Phone: 415-474-6776

Directions to The Bayfront


Executive Director: Brent Sverdloff

Director of Marketing and Public Relations: Sara Butz

House Managers: Christina Shonkwiler, Jonathan Fujiwara

Associate House Managers: Kathy Mello, Lisa Rowland, Holly Thorsen

Office Manager: Jonathan Fujiwara


Artistic Director: John Remak

Musical Director: Joshua Raoul Brody

BATS Improv School Administration

Dean: Regina Saisi

Associate Dean, Sunday Players: Kasey Klemm

Registrar: Lisa Rowland

Sunday Player Representatives: Channing Clarkson, Ken Robertson

Coaches: J. Raoul Brody, Rafe Chase, Derek Cochran, Rich Cox, Laura Derry, Dave Dennison, Zoe Galvez, William Hall, Paul Killam, Kasey Klemm, John Kovacevich, Gerri Lawlor, Jenny Meyer, Craig Neibaur, Tim Orr, Diane Rachel, John Remak, Regina Saisi, Chris Sams, Barbara Scott, Rebecca Stockley

Corporate Training and Entertainment

Director: Rebecca Stockley

Corporate Entertainment Team: J. Raoul Brody, Rafe Chase, Laura Derry, Dave Dennison, Zoe Galvez, William Hall, Paul Killam, Kasey Klemm, John Kovacevich, Gerri Lawlor, Kimberly MacLean, Jenny Meyer, David Norfleet, Tim Orr, Diane Rachel, John Remak, Corey Rosen, Rich Ross, Lisa Rowland, Regina Saisi, Barbara Scott, Rebecca Stockley

Corporate Training Team: Rafe Chase, William Hall, Paul Killam, John Kovacevich, Diane Rachel, Chris Sams, Barbara Scott, Rebecca Stockley, Rich Cox, Kimberly MacLean, Andrew Merit, Lisa Rowland

Laughing Stock

Director: Ann Feehan

Lead Laughing Stock Coaches: Gerri Lawlor, Ann Feehan

Laughing Stock Coaches: J. Raoul Brody, Rafe Chase, William Hall, Kirk Livingston, Jenny Meyer, Regina Saisi, Chris Sams, Barbara Scott, Susan Snyder, Rebecca Stockley

Young Audiences Program

Director: Andrew Merit

Young Audiences Team: Rich Cox, Laura Derry, Tim Ereneta, Ann Feehan, Mandy Khoshnevisan, Paul Killam, Lisa Klein, Nick Leonard, Alex Lerman, Toni Mazzuca, Kathy Mello, Andrew Merit, Jenny Meyer, John Remak, Lisa Rowland, Regina Saisi, Chris Sams

Board of Directors

President: Rich Cox

Members: Patti Birbiglia, Thomas Butler, Rafe Chase, Nathalie Criou, William Hall, Kathy Mello, Ward Miller, Mary Ray, Max Reid, Holly Thorsen