The Bristol Improv Theatre (aka 'the BIT') was founded in 2012 by small group of passionate directors, actors and educators as an organisation to promote the art of improvised theatre. We exist to produce original work and programming, spread the word about our increasingly popular art form and make people's lives more fun through the practice of improv.
What is improv?
Improv is the art of spontaneous play. Just like musicians might improvise jazz, actors create improvised theatre without pre-planning or scripting, by listening and responding moment-by-moment. This makes every show completely unique, which means improvised theatre can be very exciting… nobody know's what's going to happen until it does!
You may have seen improvised performance in the past on shows such as 'Whose Line is it Anyway', but improv is not always about being funny. Improv can be used to create a variety of different theatre. The BIT promotes improvised drama, music, storytelling and many other types of theatre – not just comedy!
What do you do?
The Bristol Improv Theatre is proud to be a part of UK's growing improvised theatre scene. Through our seasonal programming, we support Bristol made improvised work, host touring improv companies, such as the Olivier Award-winning Showstoppers: The Improvised Musical, and organise community jams and socials.
The Bristol Improv Theatre venue is a 100 seat, flexible studio theatre space suitable for all kinds of productions. Tickets for performances and classes can be purchased online or from our box office. Our bar is also perfect for those post-show deconstructions!
Why not pay us a visit – We look forward to seeing you!
- PLAY: We think playing makes people happier, so we're building a place to play. We invite you to come and join in the fun!
- DISCOVER: We think everyone should try improv once, so we're building a place where people can discover it. Whether you're brand-new, or an established artist looking for a new approach, we invite you to come and be inspired.
- CREATE: Improvised theatre is a new and young art form, so we're building a space for it to grow. If you're a theatre-maker, we invite you to join us in developing our work, so that improvised theatre will forever flourish, diversify and advance.
- SHOW: Improv is an international movement, so we're building a stage for the world to use. If you're a company or performer who does improvised work, we invite you to come and inspire us.
The BIT is committed to creating a space where everyone can experience improv free from harassment, intolerance, violence or intimidation. We aim to safeguard this by expecting a standard of behaviour from anyone entering the space. In instances when this standard is not being met, we seek to resolve issues through non-violent communication and clear, active policy. We expect everyone to:
- Respect others and their boundaries
- Be aware that their words and actions may have unintended effects on others
- Be open to the fact that everyone may wish to be treated differently depending on their individual experiences
If you have experienced or witnessed behaviours that contradict the above, please let us know. All issues raised will be treated with discretion, in continued consideration of your needs and expectations. To get in touch, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- YES: Our community ethos comes largely from our work as improvisers. We believe in the power of positive thinking and acceptance. Criticising others can make us feel smart. Rejecting new ideas in favour of the status-quo can make us feel safe. In the end, however, we believe that 'no' will lead us no-where. We prefer to say 'yes'! We really do believe that the best path to a better world is to connect with the people around us and treat them with compassion. We think an improv heart is an open heart.
- AND: We believe that building is better than to destroying, that collaborating is better than competing. We want a community where every individual is valued for the unique and inspiring force that they are – and in turn can say 'and' to ideas that inspire them. The Bristol Improv Theatre aims to be a place where people and trust in their own ideas and trust others to build with them. A place where people can commit, fail… and laugh about it afterwards.
Andy oversees the general management of the BIT and coordinates its programme of events throughout the year. Andy is the Artistic Director of improvised theatre company 'Degrees of Error' and holds a Masters in Education & Theatre at Warwick University. Email: email@example.com
Caitlin is a co-founder of the BIT. As Assistant Theatre Director, she runs the theatre's day-to-day operations, including co-ordinating the theatre's wonderful volunteers. Caitlin is a former Vice-President of the Bristol University Improv Society and also a member of 'Degrees of Error'. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephen is a co-founder of the BIT and responsible for communications, including the BIT's regular newsletter. Stephen holds a PGCE and is a senior BIT instructor. He also performs regularly with improv theatre company 'Degrees of Error' and is both a former President and Secretary of the University of Bristol's student improv society. Email: email@example.com
Alex is Stage Manager and Head Technician at the Bristol Improv Theatre. As well as producing a number of successful local standup nights, Alex and has a lot of stage experience himself as a stand-up comic and brings his instinct for comic effect and timing to the 'Degrees of Error' Theatre company as improvising lighting and sound designer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve works to develop the BIT's fundraising and outreach programme, connecting the BIT with arts local arts organisations and charities. A former President of Bristol Improv Society, Steve is a member of 'Degrees of Error' Theatre Company and was the director of the first ever Unscripted Players show, 'What the Future Holds'. Email: email@example.com
John Lomas oversees the Bristol Improv Theatre School. A highly experienced actor and teacher, John is a lead player in improvised soap-opera theatre company, Closer Each Day with the Wardrobe Theatre. John is also instructs in our professional training programme, where his speciality focus is delivery & leadership.
Jesse is the BIT's social media guru and general spokesperson. As well as a former Secretary of Bristol Improv Society (Bristol Uni), Jesse is a fantastic stand-up and also speaks in public about mental health issues, including presenting at schools. If you've seen a BIT tweet telling you about some exciting improv happening, odds are it's Jesse, tweeting it large… so be sure to say hi!