UK VOCAL IMPROV FESTIVAL RETREAT 2022
October 19 - 23
We are delighted to announce our first ever celebration
of the growing community of vocal improvisers in the UK!
Welcome! You found us! Let’s dive in…
Vocal improvisation opens a world of possibility for musical and interpersonal exploration in a myriad of directions. This gathering will offer a unique opportunity to experience some of its many flavours, such as collaborative vocal improvisation (CVI), circlesinging, body music, embodied movement, live looping, nature connection and play.
Our gathering is proudly and intentionally both a festival and a retreat. It embraces the excitement of coming together in person and sharing creative vocal expression, while also honouring the more inward, nurturing, perhaps sacred connection invited by this practice.
LAST TICKETS GOING NOW!
We only have a few remaining spots, especially Nomadland Tickets for people with vans. Register ASAP!
For the festival feel, on top of the many daytime workshops there will be spectacular evening celebrations, with performances from our experienced practitioners and lots of opportunities for participants to get up in front of an audience. There will also be ceremony, dance, and co-created spaces to play, connect and explore our voices.
However, this is no camping-in-the-mud type affair. We will be staying and singing in a peaceful, nurturing retreat venue, with private ensuite accommodation options, stunning singing spaces and nourishing meals. Plus we will be surrounded by tranquil landscaped gardens, woodland, and views across the River Avon.
This is both the earth and the fire, the yin and the yang, the outward and the inward, and the tapestry of magic in between.
Let us celebrate the aliveness of our creative voices. Let us embrace the wholeness of vocal improvisation in all its forms. Let us come together on this truly unique journey; the first gathering of its kind ever in the UK. Welcome!
A range of optional body and voice warmups in different spaces with different leaders each morning. Get ready for yoga, dance, meditation, choral warmups, and more.
Each morning, we will divide into smaller groups of between 12-14 people with whom we will travel throughout the day’s sessions. Over the course of the three days, you will be able to try out all eight of the facilitators, as well as sing with a different cohort every day.
Quiet time, space to reflect, hang out, read a book, decompress, nap, go for a walk, whatever you need to resource yourself.
SMALL GROUP WORK
Spacious, self-guided time to play and explore. Find a partner for a witnessed solo swap, play your fave improv games with some new friends, gather some people and offer a small workshop, or just take the afternoon off to sing to a tree!
Gathering together as a whole group in moments of ceremony to mark different points in our journey.
WHOLE GROUP SESSIONS
A space at the end of the day to feel into the power of the whole community singing as one.
A time for all the focus of the day to erupt in a joint celebration of our community. Expect performances from our experienced practitioners, circle song, cabarets, jams, and more.
Daily moments to come together in a small group (3-4 people) to check in about how you are doing and share what is coming up each day. Set at the beginning of the event, this will be your festival family, and will be lightly facilitated by a volunteer Pod leader.
We have curated a daily schedule that we hope will foster an inclusive, community-building, retreat experience. We feel it’s important to offer both small-group intimate settings, as well as uplifting whole-group experiences. We want you to be able to try out everything on offer if you so choose, but also to have time for quiet, reflection, and rest. We want to inspire and challenge you, as well as give you space to explore your own interests.
Discover Our Facilitators
& Their Sessions
(in alphabetical order)
A collaborative session where we will come up with vocal loops inspired by Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra techniques. Following an unplugged exploration of the different types of loops we can make, we will co-create a constantly evolving improv song using a microphone and a loop station. There will also be opportunities for solos.
Inspired by Música do Círculo, this session will embrace the potential of music-making with both voice and body. We are both the string that vibrates and the drum that resonates! Through an alchemy of musical games, we'll immerse ourselves in the spirit of play, stepping out of thinking and opening ourselves to presence, cultivating listening, connection and creative expression. This will be a light, gentle exploration of body music which is welcoming and open to all.
You can improvise with words! Yes you can. I didn’t used to think I could; now I’ve released 3 albums with completely improvised lyrics. It’s possible!
We will scramble your logical, literal, polite brain, tie up its wrists and ankles and throw it in the boot; allowing your poetic dreamtime to access your mouth. It’s amazing what s/he/they can come up with, and we gradually learn to practice surrender and allow it to flow. These methods come from Rhiannon, a CVI pioneer with a theatre degree who brought huge contributions to the artform in the realm of lyrics, meaning, poetics and storytelling.
An exploration of the Animal Matrix.
Drawing on principles from voice movement therapy, this session will give physical shape and vocal sound to the animal cycle. Our time together will support us in embodying our instincts and connecting with the visceral power of vocal improvisation, as well discovering how we might use this texture within a performance setting.
An immersive, outdoor singing experience exploring our interconnectedness as beings of nature with each other, and with that which is bigger than us all. Through games, expansion of the senses and deep listening practices, allow yourself to be transported out of your thinking brain and into your body as creature, as play, as energy, as part of a whole heap of vibrating atoms. Still a fully accessible session, just dress for the weather!
A space for vocal improvisers to build and refine their practice.
We’ll focus on the different aspects of Collaborative Vocal Improvisation: Developing rhythmic vocabulary, creating diverse musical contexts, playing with invented language, exploring shapes and structures - the compositional aspect of improvisation… And most importantly cultivating spaciousness, openness to one another, conscious listening and mutual support.
I’m truly fascinated by the rich tapestry of meaning and emotion that we assign to words and how that can alter and inspire changes in our physicality. Drawing on my interdisciplinary practice of collaborative improvisation that includes voice, words and movement, I will guide you through a series of ways into solo, duo and group exploration of the relationship between language and body. We’ll be moving between mirroring - converging, following - translating and influencing - collaborating. No prior movement experience needed.
We will journey all the way from our inner somatic landscape to a playful and profound space of movement-based collaboration. We will practice deep listening to the movements of the body, transforming sensation into sound, and opening a channel to express what arises from within. We will explore improvisation that emerges from imaginative, creative movement, and come together to co-create moving tapestries of sound. Shift your perception of voice from something we do, to something we are.
Accommodation & Ticket Options
Roll up, roll up! Ready for the digits?
All our fabulous festival-retreat tickets include the following:
4 nights accommodation ranging from private ensuite room to campervan options (see below for details), in the stunning spaces and grounds of Penny Brohn
5 days of delicious meals from our arrival dinner on Wednesday evening to our farewell lunch on Sunday afternoon
3 full days of a variety of workshops (from morning warm-ups, to small group sessions, to whole group celebrations, and space to freely connect and co-create)
3 varied evenings of performances, group sings, cabarets, jams and celebrations
Opening and closing ceremonies to welcome us in and see us off
…and all the magic that bubbles and blooms in the in betweens!
(hover to reveal price)
Indulge in your own private double room with ensuite shower & toilet. Ooh la la!
Share a room between two people and each bring your own blow-up mattress (we'll provide bedding). Indoor shared toilet facilities and outdoor shower cubicles. This is the indoor camping experience!
Team up and share a double room with an ensuite shower and toilet with a friend or partner. Option to share the double bed or for one person to bring an additional single blow-up mattress/camping mat.
Bring your campervan and have access to indoor shared toilets and outdoor shower cubicles.
We would like to highlight that a proportion of these ticket prices will go directly to our host venue Penny Brohn, which helps people with the practical, emotional, physical and social support they need to live as well as they can with the impact of cancer. We are really pleased to be supporting this cause.
Our home for this beautiful adventure is Penny Brohn, the national centre of a charity which provides free, integrative care to people living with cancer. Penny Brohn appreciates the growing need for psychological and emotional support for people living with cancer; the founder recognised that she needed to care for her, “mind, spirit, emotions, heart and soul” as well as her body. Everyone who attends the festival retreat is contributing towards these life-changing services and we are honoured to support such a charity.
Penny Brohn UK is set in a collection of grade ll-listed Georgian buildings, surrounded by four acres of beautifully-maintained gardens, on the outskirts of Bristol. The whole space and grounds is imbued with a sense of calm and careful attention to detail, and it feels so full of love and care as soon as you step foot inside.
The four main indoor singing spaces for the festival retreat are: The Sanctuary, The Garden Room, The Music Room and The Library. They all have glorious high ceilings and are wonderfully resonant - perfect for filling with voice! There are floor-to-ceiling windows which let the light pour in and look out onto the gardens, woodland, or courtyard spaces. You are never far from the lush greenery and the natural surroundings.
There is a spacious dining room where we will gather to enjoy nourishing and nutritious meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner - and the bedrooms range from private ensuite affairs to shared budget options, catering for all income levels.
There are toilets and washrooms on the main ground floor corridor for your use. There are two washrooms, one male and one female, with three toilet cubicles in each. Between these two washrooms are two accessible washrooms.
The building and grounds are accessible to people who use mobility aids. There is a lift to all floors, as well as an accessible bathroom/toilet with shower and bath.
How to Book
Please fill out the below Google Registration Form to book your ticket. Here you can specify the type of accommodation you would like, if you would like to share a room with anyone, as well as other information that will enable us to run the event as efficiently as possible.
We would greatly appreciate it if those who have the means to pay their full ticket price upon registration do so. However, if you are not able to pay the full ticket price immediately, there are two payment options. After paying your deposit to book your space, you may arrange to pay the rest in instalments or in full, due by August 1st, 2022.
Once you have sent in your registration, you will receive a confirmation email with our bank details. Your registration will not be complete until we have received your transfer. Upon receiving your transfer, we will send you a confirmation email acknowledging receipt and you’ll be good to go!