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 music, in improv theatre actors create plays without scripts, 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, musical theatre, storytelling and of course comedy too!
About the Theatre
The Bristol Improv Theatre is located in the former Polish Ex-Servicemen's Club, on St. Paul's Road in Bristol. The venue consists of a 120 seat flexible studio theatre space and smaller second stage, in the licensed bar for up to 80 audience members. Upstairs two large office/rehearsal spaces host workshops, meetings and office shares.
The BIT is proud to be a part of UK's growing improvised theatre scene. Through our seasonal programming, we support local work, host touring companies (like the Olivier Award-winning Showstoppers: The Improvised Musical) and organise performance jams and theatre socials. We also have a growing programme of classes, where people of all ages and abilities can discover and explore improv and make some great friends along the way. Check out our Getting Involved page to find out more…
Why not pay us a visit – We look forward to seeing you!
The BIT's mission is to be an institution of spontaneous, collaborative, and creative theatre, a resource for ambitious artists and audiences, and a home for all those whom improvised work touches.
It is our vision that the BIT will be a central hub for improvised theatre and those interested in it. It will act as a support base and information resource for improvisers, students, shows, and groups.
The BIT will produce and curate a varied programme of spontaneous, collaborative, and creative theatre shows that are high quality and artistically challenging. This will go hand-in-hand with our educational programme which will be comprehensive and supportive for students at any level of experience.
Through this we will support the growth of an active and well-connected community that is empowered, collectively and as individuals, to create new work and develop new forms of improvisation.
As the BIT grows the diversity of Bristol will be reflected in our community, audiences, and creative output.
Through our vibrant community and programmes of performance and education, the BIT will be renowned as a centre of excellence worldwide in the improv community, across the UK in the theatre community, and across all of Bristol.
All of this will be achieved in an environmentally sustainable way.
- Community Focused means we care about the people who make this happen with their contributions.
This organisation exists because of the community that has formed around it. As we grow, we will be putting the community's needs at the centre of every decision we make.
- Professional means what we do, we're going to do well.
We take pride in what we do because we believe this work is important – anything worth doing is worth doing well.
- Collaborative means we strive to form partnerships across our local, national and global communities.
Improvising collaboratively creates ideas that are bigger and better than those thought up alone. We look to be surprised and changed by our work with others both on and off stage.
- Socially Aware means we want as many people to access us as possible, because we know we'll learn from every different person we meet.
The society we live in does not allow everyone to have equal access to resources. We seek to redress the balance by actively promoting diversity and accessibility. Everyone we interact with will be treated with compassion.
- Exploratory means we will never say we have finished learning how to run an improv theatre.
We approach everything we do with a love for learning, a penchant for risk-taking and an understanding that happy-failing is an integral part of any process.
- Creative means we make things for the joy of making things.
Our theatre will be a workshop of ideas, energy and talent, where things get made and seen. Our theatre will support endeavours to create without imposing intervention or judgement.
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 and want to talk to someone, you can send an email to email@example.com. This email address is monitored by the BIT Directors (Andy Yeoh, Caitlin Campbell, Steve Clements) and you can use it to submit a complaint, concern or request a meeting with one or more of us. All issues raised will be treated as confidential, in continued consideration of your needs and expectations.
Caitlin Campbell Programmes Director
Andy Yeoh Operations Director
Stephen Clements Finance Director
Mike Cook General Manager
Steve Hartill Fundraising Co-ordinator
Alison Cowling Communications Manager
Imogen Palmer External Hires Co-Ordinator
Alexander Hoyle Technical Manager
Luke Cox Theatre Technician
Lee Abecasis Bar Supervisor
Pravanya Pillay Bar Supervisor
Marco Ortenzi Bar Supervisor
George Bemrose Bar Supervisor
Rob Kershaw Volunteer Co-ordinator
Owen Curtis-Quick Tech Advisor
We are lucky to have such a wonderful team. We owe these BIT citizens so much for their passion and hard work. To our team and all the other brilliant people we've worked with…