Vintage Improv Festival celebrates the creative gifts to improv theater that people aged 50 and above bring. VIF began in 2018 when Miki Manting took her idea to create a national festival for seniors to the leadership of ImprovBoston which supported the initial 1 day event. In 2019, when organizational priorities changed at IB, VIF incorporated as a separate non-profit and has independently produced five annual improv festivals- four live and two virtual. When brick and mortar improv theaters went out of business in 2020 the Festival’s Artistic Director began exploring the possibilities of virtual improv classes, performances and conceived the idea of a full virtual major improv festival. The timing was perfect for meeting the entertainment, socialization and learning needs of the quarantined, most at risk age group/ VIF envisioned what could be accomplished virtually and became an early pioneer in the new art form of virtual improvisation. As a result VIF connected improvisers from all over the world while helping create a a global network of out of work improv icons. During the from March 2020-September 2022, VIF offered more virtual classes, workshops and courses in improv than any other organization in the world. VIF staged the first major virtual improv festival which on its closing night in September 2020 had 8 virtual stages running simultaneously.
In our most recent Festival in Ferry Beach Maine, fifteen world renowned improv professionals from North and South America, Europe, and Australia taught and directed ensembles comprised largely of improvisers over the age of fifty. Fifty improvisers created and performed over 30 hours of musical, comedic, theatric and dramatic improvisational art free to whoever wished to attend.
Senior citizens are often invisible if not altogether missing representation in many traditional improv institutions and settings. Vintage Improv Festival was created to afford seniors the opportunity to work, perform and produce improvisational art in a challenging, supportive environment at the Festival so they can return home with renewed confidence to challenge the barriers to diversity that ageism engenders. The ultimate goal is that age does not define what is an art form where things are literally imagined into existence.
VIF’s virtual theater @theFollies has been hosting weekly shows since 2020 and maintains a library of all virtual and live improv shows on the YouTube channel and at www.vintageimprov.org.