I firmly believe there is no respite in this job. No sooner has one job been successf…
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I firmly believe there is no respite in this job. No sooner has one job been successfully completed - wham - you are straight into the next.
And so as the exciting TaPS schedule has now been launched and is open for business, not to mention the autumn IB trainings, it's time to pour myself completely into the festival programming for 2016-2017.
I won't deny it, there are still gaps, significantly more in Europe than Asia, which is interesting but mostly now it's about tying up final school approval and confirming dates. Then we start on stage 1 planning and the great creative stuff that is starting points. And filling those gaps. Even after 15 years I hover between moments of "OMG what if we're short for next year?" with that reassuring voice telling me that we will find the hosts and we will launch a full calendar.
As I was taking stock of who's confirmed and what gaps I need to fill - I was reminded of a conversation with ISTA trustee Alan Hayes a few years ago at a trustee meeting. We were talking over the idea that large festivals (160+) really needed to be avoided. Not only did they place terrible burdens on the host but they are also against the ethos of ISTA. We reflected on the early days and events that were small - and therefore intimate, ISTA style - affording really strong relationships between teachers, students and artists.
And looking at my programming docs this weekend - we have done that. Most festivals are planned for 100; a couple where I know the host can cater for 120 but no larger than that. Gone are the panicked days of old where we succumbed to last minute demand and changing the goal posts. This is a really great place to be in - almost without "planning it" we've achieved one of our goals - to provide consistency for hosts and to produce events that are truly in keeping with ISTA ethos, i.e. smaller rather than larger!
Over the weekend I heard from one potential host about the idea of a music theatre festival. We focused on this at Martine Simone and Sherri Sutton's bonsai festival at the International School of Geneva, La Chataigneraie in November 2015 to great success. I've always wanted more festivals devoted to music theatre and with the success of Geneva looks like Europe will be treated to a 2nd music theatre HS festival next year. How exciting!
I spoke to Matt Baker last week who also said what a great initiative the festival was. Perhaps a certain trepidation with four ISTA music artists gathering at one event (usually it's only 1 x music person per event) - but once they all got into the swing of things - it was undoubtedly a resounding success.
If any potential hosts in Asia are up for the challenge - let me know...