The chronicle of an ISTA host
By Georgina Christou
I attended my first ISTA festival ten years ago and was instantly impressed with the concept. An incredible opportunity for students and teachers to collaborate and create thought provoking theatre within some of the most beautiful locations in Asia e.g. Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Shanghai to name a few.
A couple of years later I hosted my first festival and I remember being nervous with all the logistical planning and the lead up to the festival. When the festival finally arrived, and I met the artistic team, the overseas students and teachers, the adrenaline took over and the festival felt like it ran itself. I’d waited in anticipation for a year for the festival to start and then the three days came and went and, quite frankly, I just wanted to do it all over again!
I remember my students and I waving goodbye to the final coach that was being driven to the airport and I watched the students wave back in floods of tears. In that moment you realise the impact such experiences like this have on students who get to meet like minded individuals. I remember my principal and I sitting in the auditorium buzzing from the experience. It was then that we decided we would commit to hosting every three years.
ISTA has become an integral part of the middle school drama programme at Taipei American School. It allows the theatre community from around the world to connect and become family. Between festivals, ISTA members regularly reach out to one another, be it to share resources, stories or just to check-in. I am grateful for the lasting friendships that have been created for myself and for my students, in addition to the lifelong memories.