Wellington's buzzing home of independent NZ theatre awesomeness. BATS' buzzing year-round programme is an alternative mash-up of theatre, dance, improv, stand-up, and experimental work.


Price Range $ – Thrifty: < $7 [wine] / < $5 [beer]
Ambience Lively
Noise level Upbeat
Licence This venue is licenced

Products and specialities

Professional theatre, rehearsal space, function space, licenced bar, venue hire


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  • SunClosed
  • HolidaysClosed

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Bats Theatre, and its bar, Understudy, are a Wellington icon through and through. Bats is home to the (in)famous wellington Improv festival, as well as hosting innumerable other productions over the course of the year. Always worth a visit!

Set as it is in BATS Theatre, Understudy bar is the perfect place to get a quick drink before or after seeing a show, but it's also cheap, comfortable, and central – why wait for a trip to the theatre? It's very spacious and there are often drinks deals.

Every year BATS is home to the Improv Festival, a week of made up funnies with companies from all over the country and all over the world contributing. The wide array of show means that there is a improv show on to suit anyone’s taste from the most grizzled improv veteran looking for things on the very cutting edge of the form to some mainstream chuckles for the man on the street.

Normally sitting just on the outside of Courtney Place, BATS is a beating heart of everything that is hip and young in the theatre. It may not always be great, but it will always be exciting.

It’ll be 25 in 2014 but it doesn’t look a year over 10, BATS is the fast-beating heart of the young Wellington theatre scene. This co-op based theatre, where anyone - even you - could put on a show for basically no money, is where everyone gets their start. And while the shows that are on maybe on then more shaky side of good, the experimentation, passion and cheap ticket prices more than make up for it. Always lively, BATS is always worth checking out.

No! Wait! I’m talking about the Understudy (or the Pit, depending on where BATS is when’re reading this) the bar that’s attached to BATS. Beyond being one of the best drinking holes in the central city, these intimate little sipperys often are home to intimate, charming performances - sometimes bands, sometimes burlesque, sometimes stand up comedy. Always worth a warming look.

It’s cheap, it’s hip, it’s exciting, and there is always something new on! What isn’t there to love about BATS theatre? While the quality may not always be guaranteed the short running times and cheap times more than mitigate for that and there is nothing more cutting edge culturally in this city than the hot, sweaty fresh young theatre sprinting across the BATS theatre stage.

Team dinner out on the town with a show at BATS - the perfect mix of fun and culture, with exceptional shows by local talent at affordable prices.

Get out there and support your local amateur theatre group! Bats has recently moved to the more central DIxon Street and offers imaginative, independent amateur entertainment most nights. While the admission prices are a little steep, the enjoyment you’ll have and the creativity of the actors more than make up for the extra few dollars you’ll fork out.

The one theatre in Wellington that gets it right every time. Bats is a great spot to see up-and-coming thespians, directors and producers play out independent theatre that’s always clever, and often hilarious or moving. Perfect for a cultured night out.

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