ISTA present...

Comedy and story hour fundraiser

July 15, 2021

The last 15 months have been challenging, frustrating and sad for a myriad of reasons – one of the biggest ones being that we haven’t been able to engage with all of our amazing ISTA artists to the same extent as usual.

BUT… as we are now seeing a light at the end of the tunnel – and with ISTA returning to face to face events as of the autumn – we thought that there would be no better time to stage our first ever ISTA COMEDY AND STORY HOUR.

About the event

The ISTA COMEDY AND STORY HOUR is a 1-hour Zoom comedy and story session with some of our favourite ISTA artists, including Sherri Sutton, Nick Pillow, Natalie Diddams, Neil Farrelly and Chris Craig.

    • DID YA MISS ISTA? Chris Craig
    • Need some radicle comedy? Natalie Diddams
    • What are the best Japan bits? Neil Farrelly
    • Is my mic on? Nick Pillow
    • To mute or not to mute?! Sherri Sutton

The proceeds from this event will be used to support ISTA programming for the 2021-2022 season so that we can continue to provide events, resources and creative learning experiences to teachers and students around the globe.

Join us for this unique event that will be guaranteed to leave you smiling and laughing!

Please note: This event is not intended for students.

About the artists

Chris Craig
I fell in love with acting at 14 and by the time I was twenty I had left school, trained and was performing in my first professional role in the Edinburgh Festival. I have since worked with many different companies, directors and writers. Some very famous and some not so but all of them talented and committed – be it film, TV, puppetry, dance, theatre or radio.

Acting is a profession that is always full of surprises, where you have to learn to fail as well as succeed. Where you share so much of yourself with fellow actors and friends and, of course, your audience. Where time and again you return to the memory of when you first stood on a stage – how it felt so good and so right – and you knew you were meant to be there.

Natalie Diddams
I am a theatre director and academic based in Manchester. As a director I have a large number of productions under my belt, ranging from large-scale community pieces to one-person shows. I am currently writing a PhD about comedy and I am the founder of the Women’s Comedy Workshop in Bradford.

I am interested​ ​in​ ​how​ ​art​ ​interacts with​ ​history,​ ​politics,​ ​philosophy​ ​and​ ​religion –​ ​how​ ​it​ ​helps​ ​us​ ​to​ ​understand​ ​who​ ​we are​ ​and​ ​where​ ​we​ ​have​ ​come​ ​from.​ ​As​ ​well​ ​as​ ​all​ ​this,​ ​I think​ ​that​ ​making​ ​theatre​ ​is really​ ​good​ ​fun ​and​ ​I am never​ ​more​ ​happy​ ​than​ ​when​​ ​I’m in​ ​a​ ​rehearsal​ ​room​ ​or​ ​a workshop.

Neil Farrelly
I studied at Middlesex University, London. I have lived and worked in Asia for the past 25 years, teaching, directing, writing and collaborating with students and artists. I have worked for ISTA since 2004 and love the Connect programme. My first book Damn It, Do It was published in India in 2017 and my second book Foreign Entrepreneurs in Hokkaido in 2020. I live in Hokkaido with my wife and dog.

I like collaborating, creative projects and interviewing people. I like the feeling after a workshop of having made a difference in some way. I like underdogs. I like writing about what’s out there and what’s in me. I like handmade things. I’m old school in that I trust people more than machines. I think real communication is a glorious thing.

Nick Pillow
I’m a comedian, actor, theatre education consultant and teacher, based in the United Kingdom. Prior to freelancing, I was a full-time teacher for 12 years in London and Mumbai, and have also worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company in London, and as a stand-up comedian and comedy actor in Mumbai and across the globe.

As an artist, I have pursued two passions: comedy and Shakespeare, which aren’t as far apart as one might think. Both involve exploring the interplay between words and the body, and finding new ways of expressing yourself. I’ve also taught IB Literature and Performance for many years, and love exploring the relationship between page and stage.

I have been connected to ISTA for half a decade now, visiting numerous festivals as a teacher and more recently as an artist for both middle and high school, and in 2018 hosted a Connect festival with underprivileged students in Mumbai. As a comedian I perform regularly across the world, and run a stand-up comedy training course for adults and youth.

Sherri Sutton
I am a generator of ideas, a comic, a dream chaser, a writer/storyteller and a passionate theatre educator. The IB has given me my artistic legs to ground me and ISTA has given me my artistic wings to soar.

I am mad about stories. It is the essential ingredient for good theatre. I am devoted to comedy. It is a dialogue with the audience. Playing the truth is the hard part but it is where bliss is found.

As a host, I plan an engaging event’s frame. As a Rep, I manage what is on that frame. As CD, I provide context to the frame for collaboration to ignite. As SEL, I empower students to create on the frame and own it. As a TWL, I explore the IB with incredible theatre teachers in order to have a deeper understanding.

Ticket types

There are two ticket types for this event.

General Admission – GBP £10
These tickets will allow you to watch the whole show from start to finish as a spectator.

VIP – GBP £20
Only 10 tickets available for a more interactive, front-row experience for the show.

Link to watch

This event takes place on Zoom.

Upon purchase, you will be provided a link to the online event space. Then just click to watch at 1:00pm UK time on Thursday 15th July 2021!

Download & Forms

Please find below the relevant documentation for you to download:


Starts on Thursday 15 July at 13:00
Finishes on Thursday 15 July at 14:00
(BST - British Summer Time)


• Chris Craig
• Natalie Diddams
• Neil Farrelly
• Nick Pillow
• Sherri Sutton