The chronicle of heritage and connection
By Matthew Godfrey
What is our heritage? ISTA is not a place in any one country or city. We have no historic buildings or sacred grounds. We are an amalgam of artists, teachers and students who willingly step into the creative void to better understand ourselves and the world we live in. Our heritage is our global connection. An ever-expanding web of diversity and acceptance which challenges the very essence of creativity on a daily basis.
There is a magical moment that happens at the beginning of every ISTA event. It is the moment when the artists first meet. It could be at the airport or in a taxi or in the hotel lobby. We can sense an excitement and connection before words are even spoken. It is a recognition of the travelling artist poised on the precipice of an adventure; a launch of a creative process about to take flight drawing these strangers together.
I met an artist once that I had never worked with before. We told each other our ISTA origin stories. He smiled as I mentioned Pat Zich, who founded ISTA. She had directed a production of Godspell in Tehran in the early 70s. He was her student and I was the young child of the lighting designer, who was often brought to rehearsals. And here we were in Beijing. Time, place, nationality and third culture disappeared as we stepped into the creative void together.
ISTA’s heritage is the interlaced sinews of the creative process drawn from a diverse group of artists, teachers and students from different cultures and countries for over 40 years. Each artist is entrusted to draw on another thread, weave their story and connect to the tapestry that is ISTA.