The chronicle of an ISTA book
By Emmy Abrahamson
When I first started attending ISTA festivals as an artist in 2001, I frantically used to jot down all the games and activities that the other artists shared and that I had observed. Over the years it became an over 30-page long collection filled with activities such as ‘Pete’s chicken’, ‘Rebecca’s mirroring’, ‘Helen’s samurai’ etc. This collection became one of my most treasured possessions and one that always travelled with me to every ISTA festival.
So, in 2017, when it was decided that ISTA was to create a new resource book for drama teachers, I was delighted as I would no longer have to try to remember all the amazing activities I had witnessed at festivals – and I would get plenty of new ones. The last ISTA book (Teaching ensemble technique in theatre) had been written by ISTA founder Pat Zich and been published in 1986 – it was time for a new, fresh and updated collection for drama teachers.
With Dinos Aristidou attached as editor, the first step was to contact all ISTA member teachers and artists to ask if they would be willing to contribute to the book with either games or activities. The response was overwhelmingly positive and soon no less than 50 member teachers and artists had sent in contributions. Being the copy-editor of the book, it was great fun to go through all the activities and put them into a coherent shape and order.
It’s the generosity with which the ISTA community is always willing to share – and share quickly – when asked to, that always humbles, inspires and awes me. In April 2020 the book was published and the result is a resource-must and a gold mine for any drama educator. My personal smudged and slightly torn collection of drama activities can now finally stay at home.