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!
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Andy Yeoh – Theatre Manager / Director
Andy oversees all the BIT's operations. He is an instructor and an improvised theatre director, working with companies to develop and coach new work. He holds an MA in Theatre & Education. Email: email@example.com
Caitlin Campbell – Assistant Manager / Director
Caitlin runs the theatre's day-to-day operations, including co-ordinating the theatre's volunteers and external events. Caitlin is a senior instructor in the BIT's course programme and a member of the BIT's resident company Degrees of Error. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephen Clements – Bar Manager / Director
Stephen manages the BIT bar and oversees staffing and communications, including the BIT's regular newsletter. Stephen is an experience instructor with the BIT Theatre Schools and is also a member of the BIT's resident company Degrees of Error. Email: email@example.com
Alex Hoyle – Stage Manager
Alex oversees the BIT's main and second stage, their equipment and calendar of events. Alex is also an improvising technician, working with Degrees of Error, Closer Each Day and dozens of improv companies who have come to the BIT. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
John Lomas – Senior Instructor
John Lomas oversees the Bristol Improv Theatre School syllabus and teaching staff. A highly experienced actor and teacher, John is a lead player in improvised soap-opera theatre company, Closer Each Day at The Wardrobe Theatre. John is a producer of the Bristol 26 Hour Improv Marathon.
Montana Sheikh – Publicity
Monty helps the BIT with marketing and social media and is also the newest member of our growing improv instructor team. She is an experienced improviser and teacher having founded both Bath Improv and the University of Aberdeen Improv Society and has trained with a number of Bristol improv companies.
Owen Curtis-Quick – Tech Advisor
Owen has upgraded our internal systems and designed the BIT's new website. So the next time you order a ticket online from us you can look forward to a silky smooth transaction. He's also an improviser.
Lindsey Garwood – Associate Producer
Lindsey hosts our regular 'Theatre Jam' Night and is a regular player with Closer Each Day. She also produces the Bristol 26 Hour Improv Marathon