Hello everyone, we have just heard the news from the government that we are plunging full on into more banana bread, yoga and zoom quizzes AKA a new lockdown.

We will be rescheduling our shows and updating our classes. All show bookers will be contacted with new dates, and class attendees will be contacted in due course.

For any queries or concerns please get in touch with us on hello@improvtheatre.net

See you on the other side!

The Bristol Improv Theatre are proud to be joining with other Bristol Arts Organisations who are taking part in the #lovebristolarts campaign from 19th– 23rd October 2020

Covid-19 has dealt heavy blows to every industry in the UK but none have been so keenly felt as that given to the Arts Sector. We’ve spent months behind closed doors, waiting patiently to return to the things we love.

However, the spirt of collaboration and creativity continues to bring hope and support during these difficult times. Many organisations, including ourselves, have been fortunate to receive grants from Arts Council England and the DCMS in the form of the Cultural Recovery Fund which will help us to continue our work.

We are putting that funding to use, finding creative ways to produce, entertain and support artists who would not be eligible for public funding.

We are putting on shows as part of our REACT season to facilitate performances, providing rehearsal and training opportunities and continuing to provide an online offering for those who wan’t to access improvised work from home.

However, the industry still faces threats from the uncertainty of changing restrictions and working with reduced capacities.

The Bristol Arts Marketing Network and Arts Marketing Bath are launching a collaborative campaign, mobilising audiences and organisations to support Bristol and Bath’s arts and culture sector.

As an alternative to the Culture Flash Sale, which would normally be announced around this time of year, #LoveBristolArts will encourage locals to reach out to their favourite artists, companies and venues, presenting ways to offer real support. 

Across a week of action, each day will focus on a different area of the sector:

  • Monday: Launch day!
  • Tuesday: Art Galleries, Venues & Visitor Attractions
  • Wednesday: Independent Artists & Collectives
  • Thursday: Arts Companies & Freelancers
  • Friday: Final day!

How can you help?

There are so many things that people can do to help, from buying tickets, memberships and giving donations to free help, such as subscribing to mailing lists, following social media channels and taking a minute to fill out surveys. Even just hitting like, rather than scrolling by, has the power to raise profiles, build relationships and amplify awareness.

Below are the top three ways in which you can help the Bristol Improv Theatre:

1. Book a ticket for REACT – our new season of live performances

2. Take an improv class – classes available for beginners and students with some experience.

Follow us on social media for the latest updates

We regularly post behind-the-scenes content, blog posts and show announcements on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Click on the buttons below to follow us on your platform of choice!

These are just our top three ways that you can support us but make sure you keep an eye on social media throughout the week for more ideas for how you can help not only us, but our friends across Bristol and Bath to get back on our feet whilst facing the current challenges!

Read about all of the organisations taking part in the campaign on Visit Bristol.

A message from the theatre’s artistic director Caitlin Campbell about REACT, a series of shows returning to the theatre in November.

Let me start by saying welcome back one and all; we couldn’t be more delighted to see you.

It has been six months since we last performed in front of a (non-virtual) audience and as wonderful as it has been testing our limits and working with new mediums online we are beyond excited to be returning to our theatre at last. I can’t describe how much I personally have missed the hum of an expectant crowd, the scrape of chairs and clink of glasses, the sudden release of a whole room bursting into laughter together. It feels good to be back.

So what have we been up to in the last six months?

At the start of lockdown we sprang into action taking our shows online and were blown away by how many of you came with us. Thanks to the streaming platform Twitch we were able to keep in touch with you in the chat (you made us laugh a LOT. Who knew improv audiences would so enjoy the opportunity to noiselessly and benevolently heckle throughout a show?), and keep the heart of improv alive by basing our shows around your presence and input. The natural adaptability of improvisation along with the resilience and creativity of this amazing community allowed us to keep making and presenting work from opposite ends of the city (and occasionally the world).

That’s not all though, we’ve been renovating too. 

While the theatre has been empty, we have taken the opportunity to give it a socially distant makeover. The stage, seating layout and operational systems have all changed, to make coming to the theatre as safe as possible for staff, audiences and performers alike. You can read more about the changes we have made and how these will affect your visit here

It’s with this spirit of adaptability that we have launched ourselves into the next stage of this strange journey. Never have we felt this keenly before the value of improvisation, an artform that doesn’t just embrace changing circumstances but thrives on them – a useful skill to have in a world where the rules are changing day by day. Especially as we will be bringing the same restrictions that affect our work and home lives onto stage with us.

We therefore present to you REACT. 

This November we are staging six shows that respond creatively to the challenges of social distancing on stage. They’ll explore what’s possible within the new restraints, approaching them playfully to create shows that are imaginative, immediate, whole-hearted and fun.

In some cases you’ll be treated to shows devised from workshops with our associate artists over the last month; in others we have approached local companies and artists we admire,  handing over the reigns and allowing them the freedom and creativity to explore these new possibilities. 

📷 : A talented pool of performers from our associate companies coming together to develop new shows for REACT. Photo taken by Ross Wilson.

We still don’t know how long this crisis will go on for – and so now our thinking has to shift from ‘when will we be able to do what we did?’, to ‘what can we do right now?’ 

Although so much has changed in our lives recently, one thing that has remained constant is our need for connection, joy and laughter. 

With our new space, the efforts of our dedicated staff, the creativity of our talented artists and your support, we hope to be that source of connection, joy and laughter for years to come. 

The shows that are part of the “REACT” season go on sale Friday 9th October. Check our what’s on page on the day for more information.

Try an improv class!

The Bristol Improv Theatre opened its doors for classes this week, for the first time since we closed them in March. Teaching the first one involved me shaking off the dust which had gathered on my face-to-face interpersonal skills. 

Like many others, I’ve been on an emotional rollercoaster during lockdown, riding the waves of despair, craving physical contact from my friends, adapting to working and socialising on zoom, starting (and stopping) new hobbies (don’t talk to me about knitting). 

If one thing is certain, during these uncertain times, it’s that we’ve all been on a ride.

Coming back to work and seeing people face to face after seeing them for so long on my laptop screen is WEIRD. My brain and body seems to be working twice as hard again to get used to reading the body language of 6 to 8 people. I’m remembering how to make small talk with people I’ve just met. I have to put on clothes which aren’t pyjamas from the waist down.

It’s made me incredibly grateful for the art form which is my trade. One of the many reasons I love improv is that, when we learn it, we get to practice socialising. 

As someone who experiences social anxiety, when I got into improv, I lapped up the opportunity in classes to follow a clear structure by which we are gently encouraged to interact with and talk to people we don’t know. Any awkward lulls or moments are navigated through by the instructor, the exercises and the focus of the session.

I was really anxious about the return to work. I’d gotten used to the 10 second commute to my living room for Zoom classes and primarily meeting people in person that I knew. I thought I might have forgotten how to words say right people understand so.

Interestingly… I felt electric after the first class. Tired, for sure, but electric having been able to safely make contact with real live people in a Covid Secure way.

One of my fears was that the 2m distancing during class, handwashing or wearing a mask on arrival would kill the playful side of improv…turns out practicing ‘acceptance’ and resilience through the improv tools of ‘happy fail’ helps us to navigate these new elements in a graceful way. I have been charmed and delighted by the stories and moments which have come up in physically distanced improv so far…

They include:

  • Groups of people connecting over zoom fatigue
  • Two people wearing giant hats as the reason why they need to keep their distance
  • Improv poetry- ‘my love is like a face mask, I carry it everywhere I go…’

And so much laughter!

By the end of the first class, the room felt relaxed and comfortable. People left smiling. Feeling a little nervous or anxious at the start was ok because everyone was feeling a little nervous or anxious. 

If you are craving social or community connection in a structured and supportive way, where distancing measures are put in place, why not sign up for an improv class?

It’s the ‘social rehabilitation’ of the COVID era.

Scenework Skills is a 4-week course capped at 7 places which starts on Monday 12th October. It is suitable for beginners and students with some improv experience looking to shake off the cobwebs. For full details of what the Theatre is doing to make the space Covid-Secure, please read this blog

During these strange and unprecedented times, the Bristol Improv Theatre is committed to finding creative ways to bring people together in an online environment.

We are experimenting with online improv classes. These will be shorter than our usual classes but will provide an opportunity to have some social contact and connect with others through playful games and exercises which will leave you laughing and (we hope) lighter in the midst of everything. 

Our trial drop-ins will be 90 minutes, 18.30 – 20.00 and we are open to all feedback on timings and delivery.

For the time being, they are free to attend with a recommended donation of £10 to support the Bristol Improv Theatre and the instructor’s time. Places are limited to 12 and you must register your attendance.

Please see below for some FAQs with much credit to our friends at the Nursery theatre.


We will be using a platform called Zoom, which is very stable and has some useful features for improv classes. These include direct messaging, break out rooms and a gallery view so you can see everyone at once. You will be sent a link to click on about an hour before the class starts, then all you have to do is follow the on screen instructions. 


There are of course, some things which are harder to do in the online space, but there are also many things that we have discovered work really well, and we are sure we will find more as we experiment. In order to provide the best experience, we will be limiting spaces to twelve to start with. We understand that people may be feeling anxious and isolated, we will be being careful about the nature of the scenes we play. We are looking to provide much needed social contact as well as improv training. 


For the moment yes. We want to understand better how this could work, but if the situation goes on for a long time, we may look at longer courses or classes at different times. Do tell us your thoughts on that on the email address below. 


Classes will be conducted in English, but we are open to sign ups from anywhere. If we receive requests for classes at other times, we will provide them if we can.


When you click on the link, your computer should do the rest for you. We highly recommend that you use a laptop rather than a tablet and please be in a private room where you will not be disturbed and make sure that your device is well charged. That’s it!


Classes will be pay what you can afford with a recommended donation of £10 to go towards covering teachers and keeping the Bristol Improv Theatre afloat. You can donate to the campaign here


Zoom’s minimum bandwidth is 600kbps (up/down) and recommended is 1.5 Mbps (up/down). You can test this with https://www.speedtest.net/or by Googling ‘speed test’ and clicking ‘go’.


This will no doubt sometimes happen. If it does and we are unable to sort it out in time, we will either refund you or roll your place over to a new class.


Zoom has a facility for private messaging, so you can always message the teacher during the call, and if you have anything to suggest, or any feedback of any kind afterwards, you can email imogen@improvtheatre.net

You can see all of what’s coming up and how to join in with the online sessions here

This Valentine’s day, DJ Heart (Imogen Palmer) and DJ Broken (Caitlin Campbell) are on a mission to bring love to the lonely hearts of Bristol. And what better place to start with their crackteam of improvisers? Read on to meet the cast of Love is in the BIT, premiering this Friday at the Bristol Improv Theatre…

Sam Hall

Slightly battered but well-painted dingy floating through the sea of life. Have my fair share of barnacles but nothing titanic. Naturally buoyant, trim at the waist, stern when needed. Looking for someone to keep me afloat, tie my stomach in knots and make me keel over. Let’s drop anchor and have a glass of port. No krakens.

Sam McLaughlin

Cute, avid reader, active, with a keen sense of guilt. Enjoy picking apart conversations on my own or with friends, arranging Skype conversations and championing good dental hygiene. Seeking perfection and settling for you, take me to your favourite quiet places and we can dissect our pasts.

Ste Brown

Non-smoker, dad-joker, rum-and-coker. Bearded man with blonde hair, blue eyes and a cracking Midlands accent seeks non-bearded woman. You must enjoy improv, thumb-wrestling and find fart-jokes funny. I’m 5’9″, which is definitely the average size for a man in the UK. But it doesn’t matter anyway, because I can jump really high. I also do a mean Shetland Pony impression and own my own houseplant. His name is Frank.

Vicky Cansfield

Fun, feisty football fan. An excellent wingwoman on and off the pitch – but who’s going to make a pass and help me score? Seeking a team player who knows how to get me dribbling. I’m tired of scoring own goals, so shoot your shot! Please note that I haven’t made any explicit ball jokes, and I want some credit for that.

Love Is In The BIT is on Friday 14th February at 20:00. Tickets are £10 and can be purchased here.