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The arts vacation you didn't know you need.

Williamson Retreat

October 14-19, 2019

Ronora Lodge and Retreat Center

Watervliet, Michigan


Join us next autumn for an all-inclusive six-day immersion at the Ronora Lodge and Retreat Center in southwest Michigan, one hundred miles from Chicago (and your to-do list, your have-tos, your obligations, your transactions).  Williamson Retreats center around intensive studio exploration designed to reconnect the acting instrument with the world. Time on the land as it changes colors will ground the body in slow pace while warm, clean food keeps it running optimally. Experience the work from the source with special guest and technique founder Loyd Williamson. Performers of all levels are welcome as we dive deeply into the first semester of Loyd's work, now forty years in the making and more relevant than ever.




• 16 class sessions
• free time on the land
• clean, seasonal comfort food
• cozy Grandma-inspired lodge with a gorgeous veranda
• fires burning around the clock

• community-centered practices
• early and mid-career artists from around the country
• expansive indoor studio with vaulted ceilings
• bone-deep artistic rejuvenation

It’s become a ritual for artists who seek freedom from daily opportunity to retreat from the pedestrian and devote oneself entirely to the discipline.
— Loyd Williamson

We're journeying to the Ronora Lodge and Retreat Center in Watervliet, Michigan, where 400 acres of forest preserve are home to miles of trail, a private lake, wetlands, and meadows. There's abundant outdoor space for ceremonies, bonfires, boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, volleyball, basketball, swinging, and stargazing. 

The friends who purchased Ronora say it's the place where you can find Mother Earth, sense her balance, find your own. Watervliet means where waters meet, and the town is home to orchards, vineyards, woodlands, and lakes, including Lake Michigan, just ten miles away. 



Joseph is a teaching artist from New Jersey by way of Philadelphia, where he graduated from the University of the Arts. He is a decade into mentorship under Loyd Williamson, and is a certified teacher of the Williamson Technique (and proud Williamson purist). Joseph teaches classes and retreats all over Chicagoland, and is a movement instructor for the Gately/Poole Conservatory. He is an adjunct instructor in movement for BFA actors at Northern Illinois University, where he regularly coaches physical impediments for the production season. 



Kendra is a performance faculty member for Northern Illinois University School of Theatre and Dance where she teaches movement, voice, and acting. Raised on Florida swampland by way of NYC, Kendra trained at Moscow Art Theatre and Shakespeare and Company, and has mentored under multiple master teachers in several disciplines. She logged thousands of classroom hours in the last decade including six years curating voice and movement curriculum for the Gately/Poole Conservatory. Kendra is a certified Williamson teacher and fierce protector of individualized process. She's the founder of Human in Public, a resource collective for crazy busy creatives. 

I feel I finally understand a true dedication to process thanks to you two.
I am so thankful for the dedication, attentiveness, and careful planning Joe and Kendra put into their Williamson Retreat.
Joe and Kendra are actual wizards.
Movement Camp was total bliss.


We love knowing what to expect and you might too, so here's the proposed lay of the land.

We'll have exclusive access to Chadwicke Hall, an indoor studio with a fireplace and vaulted ceilings where most of our sessions will live. We may also be around the fire pit, out in the fields, on the trail...sensory connection to the world around us feels abundant at Ronora and we plan to use it all.

The week is an immersion and will hold extensive space for exploring the work alongside chunks of time off to process. It has to be that way with peak experiences.

Monday, October 14
4:30pm: Arrivals, Hors d’ouvres

5:00pm: Orientation, Tour of the Land, Community Guidelines

7:00pm: Dinner, Poetry Readings  


Tuesday, October 15
6:30am: Coffee Brewed

7:30am: Morning Bell

8:00am: Session One - Motion & Sound

9:00am: Time on Land, Breakfast

11:00am: Session Two - Physical Technique: Open Choreography

1:00pm: Lunch

2:30pm: Session Three - Physical Technique/Motion & Sound

4:00pm: Time on land

6:15pm: Session Four - Discussion of Values: The Physical Process of Acting, Tension as Untruthful behavior, Length of Spine, Effortless Behavior

8:00pm: Dinner, Dessert, Poetry


Wednesday, October 16
6:30am: Coffee Brewed

7:30am: Morning Bell

8:00am: Session Five - Motion & Sound

9:00am: Time on Land, Breakfast

11:00am: Session Six - Physical Technique: Open Choreography

1:00pm: Lunch

2:30pm: Session Seven - Physical Technique/Motion & Sound

4:00pm: Time on land

6:15pm: Session Eight - Discussion on Expansive Behavior: Creating Drunk, Limitless Release, Why we say “I have no apologies” 

8:00pm: Dinner, Dessert, Poetry

Thursday, October 17
6:30am: Coffee Brewed

7:30am: Morning Bell

8:00am: Session Nine - Motion & Sound

9:00am: Time on Land, Breakfast

11:00am: Session Ten - Physical Technique: Open Choreography

1:00pm: Lunch

2:30pm: Session Eleven - Physical Technique/Motion & Sound

4:00pm: Time on land

6:15pm: Session Twelve - Discussion of Values: Poetry of Language, The Immediate World, Readings on Gumption 

8:00pm: Dinner, Dessert, Poetry


Friday, October 18
6:30am: Coffee Brewed

7:30am: Morning Bell

8:00am: Session Thirteen - Motion & Sound

9:00am: Time on Land, Breakfast

11:00am: Session Fourteen - Physical Technique: Open Choreography

1:00pm: Lunch

2:30pm: Session Fifteen - Physical Technique/Motion & Sound

4:30pm: Time on land

7:00pm: Dinner, Dessert, Poetry

9:00pm: Bonfire

Saturday, October 19
6:30am: Coffee Brewed

7:30am: Morning Bell

8:00am: Session Sixteen - Motion & Sound

9:00am: Breakfast, Clean Cabin

11:00am: Departure


Participants will receive an updated schedule and welcome packet a few weeks before we gather.


Meet Ronora.

Ronora Lodge & Retreat Center is on the site of historic Camp Watervliet for Girls founded in 1934 by Dr. Henry Tatter and Velda Jordan Tatter.  The property was purchased from Dr. Lonny Myers in 1988 by three friends who share a love for the land.  They have restored the historic buildings and increased the acreage to preserve this beautiful natural setting.  All effort goes toward making Ronora Lodge & Retreat Center a place where, in the words of Dr. Tatter, you can "feel Mother Earth, sense Her balance, and find your own."


Ronora is expansive. Here’s a taste:

  • Miles of groomed, looped trail on Redtail Nature Preserve

  • Indoor fireplaces and outdoor fire pits

  • Spring-fed Lake Sherwood for paddling, swimming, and fishing

  • Open-air studio, facing the lake

  • Migrating birds, carpets of wildflowers, ripe wild blackberries and mulberries, and beauty in every season

  • Verandas, porches, picnic tables - plenty of places to settle in and settle down

  • The biggest bonfires

  • Sacred energy healing spaces

  • No light pollution (you can see stardust)

  • Woodlands, meadows, wildlife, pristine pastures

  • All in Grandma-chic-meets-Wes-Anderson decor

Ronora is like wrapping yourself in a blanket of peace and serenity woven by nature.
— Ora Uzel

Early Bird Accommodation & Investment Plans

We'll stay in a gorgeously curated cabin named Grandma's House. The light on the veranda is exquisite, and indoor and outdoor fires will keep us cozy when temperatures drop. A family-style kitchen holds laughter and shared labor over epic food spreads designed to alkalize the body while nourishing autumn's comfort food cravings. Our perch at the edge of the property means you can roll out of bed, snag the morning beverage of your preference, and be on the trail in minutes. Meditation and studio spaces are just down the path, and the lake is right down the hill.

Choose the room and plan that work for you. The October Williamson Retreat can be covered all at once or split over multiple months. At registration you will have the option to add a linen bundle (towel, washcloth, sheets, pillowcase) or bring your own.

Planning to attend multiple retreats this year? Ask about bundle pricing and super extended plans.


Features: In the warm upper level of Grandma’s House are two dormitory spaces with twin beds. Heat and laughter rise up into the rafters in this camp-style community sleeping area. Beds include a comforter and pillow. Linen bundles are available for an extra fee. Two shared bathrooms are on the lower level, each with a shower.

From $775.00 / $875 after August 15

Features: On the lower level of Grandma’s House are three semi-private rooms, each with two twin beds, now available to one person if complete privacy is preferred. Beds include a comforter and pillow. Linen bundles are available for an extra fee. Two shared bathrooms are just around the corner, each with a shower.

From $975 / $1075 after August 15

Features: On the lower level of Grandma’s House are three semi-private rooms, each with two twin beds. Requests to share a semi-private room with a certain person will be accepted once both registrations are complete. Beds include a comforter and pillow. Linen bundles are available for an extra fee. Two shared bathrooms are just around the corner, each with a shower.

From $875 / $975 after August 15



Tuition for a full week of movement technique and process classes with seasoned guides, cozy room in the cutest cabin, abundant clean cuisine, fireside chats, and scheduled time off, all designed to reset and rejuvenate the acting instrument.


Early bird gets the worm with extended investment plans. Choose to cover it all today or split it up over three, six, nine, or twelve months. Early Bird pricing ends August 15.


Full refunds are available until August 15. After August 15, no refunds will be permitted.


Planning to come to two or more retreats in 2019? Reach out here and we’ll hook you up with bundle pricing and super extended investment options.


This technique requires, first, actors who are willing to develop their senses so that they become completely connected to the specific people, places, and things of the world around them; second, actors who can allow their bodies to become vulnerable to any and all experiences that come from those connections; and finally, actors who can allow their experiences to be expressed in vivid behavior that is completely receptive to new sensory connections.
— Loyd Williamson

Space is limited for an intimate retreat and assurance of the individualized attention this work requires. If you see yourself walking the trails and dancing in the fields, then you are called, like we were. We'll see you in the woods.



How do I get there?

The address for Ronora Lodge is 9325 Dwight Boyer Road, Watervliet, Michigan. Parking is available on site. If you are driving, you will be asked to help with transport of retreat materials and attendees as a community contribution. All rideshare participants help offset gas.

What if I'm flying?

Plan to fly in before noon on Monday and out after five on Saturday. The best airports are O'Hare and Midway; we can arrange ride-sharing from these locations. Eyeing up another airport? Just ask, we'll see what we can do. 

Can I take a train?

Ronora is Amtrak friendly! The Capitol Limited from DC stops in South Bend, Indiana. From Chicago you can take the Blue Water Line to Dowagiac, Michigan. Ride-sharing is likely available but not guaranteed. Thinking of another station? Just ask. 

How does ridesharing work?

If you are driving, you will be asked to assist the community by picking people up along the way. All participants in rideshare must help offset the cost of gas. Once travel plans are made, Kendra will organize the rideshare plan and pass it to participants within one week of the retreat. 

Exactly how much training will I get in the Williamson Technique?

Movement Camp is carefully designed as an immersion in the technique, so the sixteen classes, time on the land, meals, space between events, all of it is seeped in sensual contact with the world around us. This part is essential to the actor. This is the part we crave when we're stuck in the rat race. It’s the heart of Loyd's work. Morning sessions are experiential Williamson classes, and late morning sessions break down open choreography and other elements of the physical technique. Evening discussions are a grab bag of readings, theory, and values set around the fire.

What happened to workstudy?!

We let it go in order to grow the community nature of our retreats. Now all participants contribute to the rhythms of the week.

Tell me more about the food.

Tell us your dietary needs and we'll make it happen. Past retreats included clean, fresh, local, and organic, with abundant vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free options. Snacks and beverages will be available all day. Meals will be family-style, plenty for all. 

What should I bring?

Lodge life offers plentiful chances to get cozy: think slippers, a robe, preferred comfort items. Bring your toiletries. For class you'll need adequate black or neutral movement clothes for five days, knee pads, notebook, journal, pen. You might enjoy having a tennis ball, ab ball, or foam roller. Bring layers, and plenty of outside clothing and shoes. Insect repellant and sunscreen are advised, and a bathing suit might be useful, along with water shoes or flip flops. Please bring poetry, plays, and travel-friendly musical instruments. Many campers have enjoyed essential oils, tarot/oracle decks, and other fun resources to share once on site.

Anything I should leave at home?

Alcohol is only permitted under contracted exceptions, and illegal substances are forbidden on the property. The cabin doesn't have wifi. We know...what?! We're cool with it: our community guidelines include massively limiting (and hopefully eliminating!) phone use during the week. 

Refund logistics?

Full refunds are available through August 15. After August 15, no refunds will be permitted. 

Can we talk about a more flexible payment plan?

Yes! Click here to reach out.

More questions? Send us a message at