Essex WoodsEssex, MA, United States Essex WoodsEssex, MA, United States Essex WoodsEssex, MA, United States Essex WoodsEssex, MA, United States

VIF FESTIVAL RETREAT for those who signed up April 1-30

By Vintage Improv Festival (other events)

10 Dates Through Jan 30, 2023


Early Bird Deals through April 30 if you make a $150 deposit now!

Your attention to this is much appreciated.

The IRL Hybrid Retreat is on!

Here's the pitch!

We've spent 2 years together as a community sharing virtual space as we hunkered down to survive the Pandemic. I feel like a dragonfly tentatively emerging from my cocoon! Let’s fly together and meet in September for a VIF 2022 Improv Festival/Retreat!!! Fall is a perfect season to visit New England! It will be glorious to spend time together sharing the same space…once again or for the first time!!!

Beginning as early as September 15, please play “Yes, Let’s” with me in person!

  • “Yes, let's” break bread together!
  • “Yes, let’s”  roast marshmallows and tell scary stories in front of the fire pit together.
  • “Yes, let’s” dance and sing and utter profanities in public together.
  • Yes, let’s” meet in the sauna or the hot tub and say nothing!
  •  “Yes, let’s” enjoy the sounds of nature and the lovely crisp New England Autumn nights under the colorful changing leaves.
  • “Yes, let’s” just share the same space together at Essex Woods Meeting and Retreat Center.

Essex Woods is located on Cape Ann just off the Essex Scenic Coastal Byway that traces Boston's Historic North Shore. This tranquil sanctuary is tucked amidst sixteen acres of white pines and oaks, less than a mile from the ocean and surrounded by 250 acres of conservation land. In this idyllic nature setting we can give the gifts of improvisation to each other as we temporarily leave behind all that diverts our attention from learning, playing , and performing together in the same space.

I am pleased to announce that Jonathan Pitts, Deana Criess, Michael Gellman  and Tom Tollenaere have confirmed to be present the entire Festival as our Core Faculty....and you can thank Jonathan for the suggestion of  making this a retreat. Tricia Bitetto and Zander Manting-Brewer will also be there as our ever-loving production team!

Some additional information:

  • This rustic non-smoking retreat center is not wheelchair accessible.
  • Depending on the final registration, one or two others people may share sleeping quarters. Yes, you may co-request specific bunkmates.
  • There are plenty of bathrooms next to the bedrooms, but they are not en-suite.
  • Yes, if space permits, you may bring a guest that shares your quarters and does not improvise. They will pay the same Center Fee Daily Rate you pay and a reduced Festival Fee that supports Festival production.
  • You can drive if you want, and plenty of free parking is available, But once you arrive, you won’t need a car for any reason during the entire weekend! The Center is easily accessed via a 40-minute Lyft/Uber ride from Boston Logan.
  • The Festival with be both and asynchronously hybrid-what the hell does that mean? Well, our on-site advanced intensive troupes will meet and rehearse virtually the weekend before the fest as these forms are generally taught in 5-6 day sessions. That is the asynchronous part. We also plan to broadcast @theFollies with both live and virtual acts. Members of our Merritt and Messing House Teams who attend the Festival will perform together alongside their cast-mates on ZOOM.
  • Submissions for preexisting troupes will open after April 7. Please see the information below.

We've spent 2 years together as a community sharing virtual space as we hunkered down to survive the Pandemic. I feel like a dragonfly tentatively emerging from my cocoon! Let’s fly together and meet in September for a VIF 2022 Improv Festival/Retreat!!! Fall is a perfect season to visit New England! It will be glorious to spend time together sharing the same space! Once again or for the first time

These Early Bird  Deals are available only until April 30!

  • $25-$50 Early Bird Discount based on package total
  • Significant Discount on Festival Fees
  • Optional $25/night Shared lodging 

FYI regardng Costs

  • The Retreat Center charges a daily rate per person.  We can’t discount that. It includes three meals. Everyone pays this. Even our production/teaching team. Those costs are $250 per person per day.
  • It costs VIF $750 per person to produce a festival that keeps our class sizes ensemble sized groupings small.We must do all of these things to pay for the educational/performance .
    • Our curated Teams are not workshops. They are working ensembles of 6-10 . ideally 8 members
    • The size of these intensives have 1/3-1/2  the group size of a typical Festival workshop  .
    • Everyone performs typically equal to the number of days they are particiating in the festival.
    • We pay fair wages to our faculty and staff
    • We cover the technical expenses related to festival production and the hybrid experience
    • We pay travel expenses/lodging for our faculty

So if you are independently wealthy and would care to help us out because we are operating this Festival in the red this year. we are a 501(c)3. But if we don't have any benefactors, we are still committed to raising funds to cover the difference!

Package 1: The Whole Shebang :September 15-19

Total:  $1299

and you may pay over 10 payments

  •   $1000 Facility Fee for 5 days/4 nights including 3 meals and snacks
  •   $249    Full festival access/courses virtual and intensives IRL
  •   $100   Shared Accommodations -up to 4 nights, guaranteed if booked by  April 20, if space permits you may                                                                             book this after April 20.
  •    Get an extra early bird discount  of $50 to make total $1299

We highly recommend this option!

More about The Whole Shebang

  • It would be great if you could be there the whole time!
  • This session starts from 5 PM Thursday and runs through 4 PM on Monday Funday.
  • Please note that by paying the non-refundable deposit you are also committing to pay the entire non-refundable discounted All-inclusive Cost $1299 over an extended period of time such that $775 has been paid by September 1 and the remainder no later than February 1, 2023.

Even if you can't make it here until the first session at 9:30/10:00 am Friday morning, you should still sign up for The Whole Shebang.

Bottom Line you get:

  • $50 Early Bird Discount
  • Reduced Festival Intensive Costs
  • Complimentary Monday-Funday Activities
  • 4-day Facility Fee and guaranteed shared accommodations if deposit paid by April 20

Your Total Cost: $1299 can be paid in 10 monthly installments

10 Payment Plan ( We can adjust dates if needed as long as we get $775 by September 1.)

  1. $150    non-refundable now
  2. $125    due first of each month May 1-January 1
  3. Flexible dates as long as we receive at least $775 by September 1

Package 2 : The Whopper: Arrive 5 PM September 16-19

Early Bird Deal Through April 30 only

Total $ 1050,and you may pay over 8 monthly installments

Pay $150 now and then 8 additional monthly payments

If you work or your connections don't let you make it here until the Friday evening  sessions, you should sign up for The Whopper. 

You are welcome to stay for the complementary Monday-Funday Activities

Bottom Line you get:

  • $250  Festival Fees
  • $25 Early Bird Discount
  • 3-day Facility Fee including meals and snacks
  • Complementary Monday-Funday activities
  • $75 for 3 nights Guaranteed shared overnight accommodations if paid by April 20. Space A after April 20

Your Total Costs:

  •  $750 Facility Fee
  •  $250 Festival Fees
  •  $75   Lodging On Site

Your Total $1050 can be paid as deposit now then the rest over 7 months 

Payment Plan:   

  • $150    non-refundable now
  • $130-   First of month  May - October
  • $120-   Novemberr 1


Package 3 :The Weekender-Early Bird Deal

September 17-18 with priority option to overnight on-site on Friday-Sunday @ $25/night shared room

You Pay $825 total

Pay $150 now and then can be paid over 6 additional monthly payments

If you can't take vacation on Thursday but can arrive between 5 PM Friday and 9:00 am Saturday, you should sign up for the Weekend Rate.

With The Weekends Option, sessions begin at 9:30/10 AM. The first block session is optional, but it means you will only be on one curated team during the festival. While later arrivals that begin with the second block at 1 PM are fine, we can’t reduce the tuition costs. The pro-rated Festival Fee for this ticket is $250.

If you would like to arrive on Friday evening and play with us, let us know. If space is available to overnight, you will be placed in priority based on the order in which you pay your $150 deposit prior to April 30.

You are welcome to stay as late as 4 PM Monday for the Monday-Funday Activities

Bottom line you get:

  •  $25 Early Bird Discount 
  •   Discounted Festivsl Intensives
  •   Complimentary Monday-Funday Activities
  •   Priority for 2 nights’ Accommodations if Space Available


Your Total Costs:

  • $500      Facility Fees including meals and snacks
  • $275      Early Bird Discounted Festival Fees
  • $50       two nights shared accommodation payable if available after May 30

Your Total Cost   $825 including $25 Early Bird Discount

Payment Plan:

$150    non-refundable now

  •  $125-  First of the month beginning May 1-September
  • $75      Final Payment due October 1


Package 4 : Sunday only

September 18 : Full Day with Option for Space A accommodations Sunday night

Pay $150 now and then 3 additional monthly payments

If you can't make it until Sunday morning at 9 am, we still value your participation! You can sign up for this all-day intensive curated team . You will participate in one curated team and performance. You will likely meet for at least 2, possibly 3 hours over the preceding weekend so we can maximize your time to performance. This ticket includes up to 10 hours of IRL and virtual sessions. If space is available, we can invite you to stay over Sunday night if you like. But availability is the key, so if you reserve this before April 30, you receive priority for this option. If you would like to stay over Saturdaynight. please let us know and we can negotiate with the Center and come u with what the extra night would cost as it likely includes 1 or 2 additional meals.

Bottom line you get:

  1.  $25 Early Bird Discount
  2.   Pro-rated and discounted Festival Fees
  3.   Complimentary Monday-Funday Activities
  4.   Optional Overnight Accommodation for an extra $25 on Sunday night if Space Available

Optional Additional Prorated Facility Fee for Saturday if you wish to arrive after 5 PM Saturday

 Your Total Cost: $500

  1. $275 discounted Festival Fees
  2. $250 Facility Fees

$500 Total including $25 early bird extra discount (does not include prorated Saturday evening arrival/lodging)

Payment Plan:

  •   $150 before April 30
  •   $75   monthly May 1-August 1
  •   $50 Final Payment September 1
  • Will add accomodation/meals to final payment


Ways to get around the non-refundable payments designed to help you out if you must cancel 

VIF has a long-standing standard policy:  All tickets are non-refundable. Why? We still have to pay the instructor for the session you don't end up attending and we counted your contribution into paying our faculty. However ...we try to be as flexible as possible as long as we can ultimately meet our promises to pay our faculty so ... in future eligible offerings, we can offer credits spaced out over multiple events. 

Option 1 : TRANSFER ( You Sell to Someone Else)

While we cannot refund your package for the reasons stated above, to ameliorate a potential loss for you, you may transfer it for the full value you paid in most cases if cleared by Miki in advance with the following caveats:

  • Artistic Director approves the transfer in advance
  • There is no guaranteed swap of intensives. The Artistic Director curates these after the swap is complete.
  • Special dietary requests must be provided no later than August 20, 2022.
  • Early Bird Deals are not transferable. The person you swap with must pay VIF for additional Festival Fees
  • For the transfer VIF will honor up to a 50% tuition discount before adding additonal current Festival Fees.
  • The complete tuition must be paid in full before the transfer is complete.
  • The person you sell to is not enrolled until they receive an official notification from VIF so make sure you follow the procedures outlined above.

Option 2 ( Trade for eligible future credits)

Another option is trading your Package in for Credits in future VIF Virtusl events.

  • This may be done only if you complete the total payment of your package.
  • If you do not complete the entire package payment, you are not eligible for the future credits option,
  • VIF reserves the right to limit the amount of credit that can b applied to any single event,
  • You may transfer credits to another person but the above limit applies


All troupes who have performed together live or virtually prior to the Festival are encouraged to submit.

Submissions are only be accepted from troupes who are attending the Festival together with arrival/check-in no later than 5 PM ET Friday September 16.

As always, the invitation process includes adjudication-meaning it is a competitive process with the goal of selecting a delightful mix of styles, troupe size and expertise.

Guaranteed performance slot

Troupes who have previously performed at VIF live and virtually are immediately guaranteed a performance spot if they sign up for one of the Early Bird  Deals by April 300

Factors Considered in adjudication:

  • Registration of the entire troupe 
  • Troupes who have previously performed at the Festival either live or virtually will be given the highest tier preference
  • Troupes who were created virtually through or because of Vintage.
  • For planning purposes, we recommend the following packages for all members of troupes planning to submit: The Whole Shebang or The Whopper. In any case, arrival before 5 pm Friday is required.

Technology resources permitting we plan to broadcast a hybrid @theFollies on Sunday night of the Festival that will include the House Teams.


Any participant in the IRL Retreat  must be fully vaccinated and plan to be boosted to the degree recommended by the CDC in advance of the festival. We strongly encourage a 2022 Flu Vaccination prior to attending the event.

If screening on site reveals a risk for flu transmission, the participant will be required to wear a KN95 mask which we will provide st that time if you do not have your own.

We understand the world is returning to more normal activity and many Covid restrictions nave been lifted. Recognizing that our community demographic holds the highest risk for consequences as a result of a CoVid infection, our production staff began reviewing protocols 2 months ago in planning for this festival. They have concluded that there will likely be changes in recommendations regarding group settings in the coming 5 months. Because we will be eating, playing, sleeping and performing together in close proximity indoors, we want to implement a simple and consistent policy. By requiring proof of being fully vaccinated and boosted may exclude some members of our Community from our live event, but we will provide a virtual event later in the year that is designed to pick up those who missed participating in September.

We will base any additional requirements, such as testing and screening protocols  on our assessment of the situation as we approach the weeks just prior to the Festival.


Open only to VIF2022 Members. Please join VIF2022 if you have not already done so. Proof of Covid Vaccination and Booster Required. Fluimmunization recommended please!