13th Annual Maydays Improv Retreat

This place is amazing – it’s like Hogwarts for improvisers.

How would you like to spend three days staying in a grand house with en-suite bedrooms in the Oxfordshire countryside (Yes, we have a smashing NEW Retreat venue for your pleasure!), taking your choice of improv classes in the company of some of the most lovely and talented people you’ll ever meet?

If this sounds good to you, then we invite you to be part of the Maydays Improv Retreat from 22nd-25th October 2020.

Whether you’re new to improv, a seasoned veteran, or somewhere in between, you’ll come away from this residential week refreshed, energised and inspired.

What is the Improv Retreat?

Quite simply, it’s an unforgettable experience.

Every September for the last 12 years, The Maydays – one of the most established and experienced improv troupes in the UK – have taken over the stately Osho Leela spiritual centre and transformed it into a unique improv school. But NEW for 2020, we’re moving our Improv Retreat to Denman College

We will have exclusive use of the house, grounds and facilities, including a cafe, bar and a full restaurant and the option to have your own private en-suite room.  

Those of you who have been to The Retreat before will notice that it now runs over three days rather than four.  This was the only way to keep the prices close to their previous levels while upgrading the facilities so substantially.  We have added an extra class to the Sunday timetable and it will finish slightly later than in previous years (17:00) but it is only 40 minutes from London so hopefully your journey times home should be quicker.

Around 70 attendees come from all over the UK and further afield, and from all kinds of walks of life. Each day these lucky people choose from a taster’s menu of 16 different classes. There are two sessions before lunch and two more in the afternoon, with four class options to pick from for each session. So everyone charts their own course through the day, picking the classes that most appeal to them.

In your downtime between classes, you can relax in the café, take a well-earned nap in your room, stroll the spectacular grounds, venture deeper into the surrounding countryside, or simply mingle with the other guests and teachers and compare notes on the classes you’ve taken.

Then, every evening, you’ll be treated to performances from some world-class improvisers, and you’ll see the techniques you’ve been studying come to life on stage.

On the final day, an afternoon showcase gives everyone the option of getting up and performing in front of the entire group – improvising a scene or a song (or both) in a way that they might have found unthinkable just a few days earlier. Then everyone hugs and goes home, counting down the days until next year.

Why you’ll like it:

  • The atmosphere at the Retreat is buzzing – with so many fascinating creative types under one roof. You know those special, switched-on people you meet from time to time, the ones who are bright and kind and funny and generous and have a gleam in their eye? Imagine a houseful of them.
  • All the bedrooms at Denman College are ensuite, with pricing options for triples, doubles, twins and single rooms
  • Each class you take is taught by a true improv master: a kind, wise soul who knows exactly how to help you raise your improv game in the most supportive environment imaginable. As The Maydays work their magic, your breakthroughs will come thick and fast.
  • You’ll laugh a lot. Really. A lot.
  • 3 meals a day in the on-site restaurant with options for all dietary requirements – not just vegetarians!  All included in the price.
  • Good transport links from nearby Didcot Parkway to Paddington

What you’ll learn:

Whether you want to brush up on your scene work, dig deeper into character, or explore the possibilities of new improv styles and forms, you’ll get practical guidance and instruction that is personally crafted to give you what you need. Here is just a taster of the classes that have been offered in previous years:

  • Practical classes aimed at specific areas of improv: ‘Object Work,’ ‘Scenes, Scenes, Scenes,’
    ‘Move Your Body.’
  • Slightly more eclectic and tantalising topic areas: ‘Own that Joy!’ ‘Fail Big,’ ‘Totes Emosh.’
  • New styles and techniques: ‘Shakespeare’, ‘Musical improv,’ ‘Improv for One.’
  • Forms and structures: ‘The Harold,’ ‘The Deconstruction,’ ‘Living Room.’

You can stay in your comfort zone for some classes, and for others, you can push yourself into scary new areas that turn out not to be so scary after all.

You’ll find new confidence you didn’t know you had. You’ll reawaken your capacity for joy. You’ll discover that you are a genius and a poet and an artist. And, best of all, you’ll make some truly brilliant new friends into the bargain.

What you’ll say:

‘What an utterly magical week. How am I going to readjust to life in the real world?’

‘I feel like I’ve run away and joined the circus.’

‘Look at all these lovely nutters!’

– Mayday who shall remain nameless, gazing out at the assembled students

Jason Chin Scholarship applicants need to apply before the 1st September, winner announced 9th September – full scholarship applicant info HERE

Pricing – includes en-suite accommodation, breakfast, lunch and dinner and all workshops, classes and shows:

  • Single room with en-suite: £750.00 p/p
  • Double room with en-suite: £700.00 p/p
  • Twin room with en-suite: £650.00 p/p
  • Triple room with en-suite: £550.00 p/p

Check out how our 12th Annual improv retreater’s got on in 2019 HERE


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