ISTA present...

Guangzhou MS/HS Festival

April 25 - April 27, 2025

Please note:

This Festival is being co-organized and operated by Near West, Guangzhou. Booking takes place via this webpage*
As this is an ISTA IGCI – Near West, GZ Festival, all festival finances will be managed by Near West. Fees will be paid in Chinese RMB, and Chinese fa piao is available by request**

This festival is open to to member organisations within Guangdong Province within mainland China and invited local Chinese public schools.

This festival is suitable for learners aged 12 – 18  (Grades 7-12 in most International schools).

* Near West can support the registration if schools are experiencing difficulty.
** Should schools wish to pay in GBP, please contact the festival Event Manager

What is an ISTA Festival?

What learners and educators are saying 

“The passion our students developed for theatre, how life changing this experience was for our students. Parents have emailed us about it, our director has gotten in touch – just such an amazing positive experience. Bringing a younger group, with three 9th graders and five 10th graders to what was an unknown beast in a Deep Dive Festival; seeing our kids rise to the challenge and just fall in love with theatre making, was special. The number of students who came out of this festival talking about how excited they were about going into IB Theatre, asking us how they could do that… absolutely outstanding.”
Educator – ISTA Deep Dive  into Tradition, Theory and Theatre Making, October 2023

“My favourite part was showing all our work and efforts to the audience and sending a strong message of the lack of freedom in our lives using different art forms, it was so fun and collaborative and I loved using the stage and performing at my very best . I really enjoyed meeting people similar to me and getting to know different people and cultures from around the world. The best parts of the festival were getting to explore different art forms with as much creative freedom as we wanted because it allowed us to get more comfortable with this sort of creative process. The amount of time we spent with different schools; I would have loved to be able to meet even more people. I gained friends, experience and lots of fun from this experience.”
Learner – ISTA Festival 2022

ISTA Festivals

Our festivals give young people an immersive theatre experience over several days in exciting cities and locations across the world. Festivals are built on story-based inquiry and provide participants with the skills and experience needed to explore theatre collaboratively and develop themselves as global learners.

At ISTA we use stories to share, explore, create and present stories of who we are and of our world. We believe sharing stories from particular settings and cultures is a powerful approach to global learning. Story also provides a concrete focus for young people and artist’s creative work.

Equally weighted so that everyone has the same opportunities – ISTA festivals are the best way for young people to learn about theatre, themselves and each other.

Click here to download the Benefits of attending an ISTA Festival

About ISTA IGCI – Near West, GZ Festivals

This is an ISTA Global Centre for Innovation (IGCI) – Near West festival. The ISTA Global Centres of Innovation are centres around the world where we work with partners to create, develop and trial innovative models of arts practice related to global learning and teaching through the arts. Over three years each centre focuses on a particular area of inquiry related to arts practice and teaching and learning. New models are developed through events and projects with students, teachers and artists. The learning is shared through conferences and seminars.

The Near West IGCI area of inquiry is focused on:

Engagement of public (non-fee paying) schools.
Working with schools and settings where English is not the language of instruction/delivery.
Exploring the development of regional hubs capable of delivering authentic ISTA programming and sustainable ISTA events in their regions.

This festival will be exactly what you have come to expect from ISTA ensemble festivals, with small modifications made to support the IGCI area of inquiry, including:

Fees quoted and paid in RMB, with China fa piao available.
Financial assistance to support the participation of local educators and learners.
A thematic link to Chinese language and culture within the artistic journey.
Near West Group Website

Important booking and registration information

We have made some significant changes to our Event Terms and Conditions for 2024-2025
Please read updated Terms & Conditions before submitting your booking.

Booking – NEW DEPOSIT PROCESS 2024-2025
Upon submitting your booking you will be issued an invoice for a 50% deposit based on the registration fees for the initial number of students you intend to bring. This deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable, serving to confirm your reservation for the event. Full confirmation of your places will be granted upon receipt of the deposit payment within a 30-day period.

To prevent significant decreases in total event numbers when registration is completed PLEASE only book the number of spaces you are certain you can fill.

See FEES section below for more detailed information on fees.

Registration opens Monday 15 April 2024 9:00am GMT
All information must be submitted by Friday 31 January 2025 11:59pm GMT

Important Notes about Registration:
We appreciate that some schools will already have confirmed students so please register your group as soon as possible from this date onwards
All registrations must be submitted by Friday 31 January 2025 to allow for finalising the artist team, T-shirt orders, catering, transportation etc. ahead of the event.
Please see this document for the information required to complete registration.
Travel information is required as part of the registration process.

It is important to note that if the actual number of students attending the event is less than the number initially booked, the deposit paid for those students who do not attend will be forfeited. For example, if your school initially books 15 students and pays the corresponding deposit, but later only 10 students are registered for the event, the deposit for the 5 students who do not attend will not be refunded. Conversely, if you increase the number of students attending, you will be invoiced for an additional 50% deposit per new student added to your group.

Waitlist Procedures

Once the maximum number of bookings has been reached the event will display “Waitlist”.
If this happens please email the Event Manager and ask to be added to the waiting list providing the number of students and teachers you wish to reserve in your email.

Event Managers will monitor actual registration numbers as they come in and contact organisations on the waitlist (in the order requests were received) to offer any places that become available.

Travel & Visas

Participating schools are responsible for arranging and booking their own travel to Guangzhou.

Booking Travel
All participants will fly into Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport or arrive into Guangzhou East Station.

The journey from the airport to the venue takes approximately 60 minutes. The journey from the train station takes approximately 30 minutes.

Booking Travel 

Participants should arrive at the host school to check in by 8:30am on Friday April 25 2025.

Participants should not plan to leave the school until after 3:45 on Sunday April 27 2025.  Please arrange travel accordingly.

Please book travel accordingly and allow for ample time to travel to and from the airport/train station.


It is the responsibility of the schools/participants to ensure they have the appropriate visas, as required.

Please ensure that you start looking into visa requirements sooner rather than later as the process can take a significant amount of time.

If you require assistance or additional documentation to support your visa applications please ensure to contact the event manager well in advance.

ISTA business days are Monday to Friday and we endeavour to reply to all emails within 3 business days.

ISTA staff are not able to monitor emails over the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) or on holidays.

If a staff member is away from their desk working an event, a response may take longer than normal.

Fees & Payment Information

Registration Fees Confirmed pricing: (Includes cultural experience, t-shirt, and local transportation)

Student Participant Fee – 2988 RMB
Adult Participant Fee – 788 RMB

Surcharge Airport / Train Station Transfer Fee – 90 RMB per person


Hotel model

Please Note:
Festival hosts will arrange a block booking reservation at an appropriate hotel. Participating organisations are responsible for booking and paying for their group’s accommodation at the recommended hotel.
Airport/Station pick up/drop off and daily local transportation to the festival venue will not be provided for organisations choosing to book at a hotel other than the one recommended by the host.
ISTA and the host organisation will not take responsibility for any arrangements made between the organisation and the hotel.

Hotel information coming soon

Name of hotel:
Postal address:
Phone number:
Hotel contact name and email:

Daily rate for double/twin room with breakfast:

For adult chaperones
Single rooms should be booked for 3 nights from April 24 2025.

We work on a costing of 900 RMB per room per night including breakfast

For learners
Shared rooms should be booked for 3 nights from April 24 2025.

We work on a costing of 900 RMB per room per night including breakfast.


For hotel stay students and all adult chaperones
Please ensure you book breakfast at the hotel.

Lunch will be provided daily at the host school/venue.

Evening meals will be provided at the host school/venue.

If a social meal is to be part of the festival schedule for adult chaperones and ISTA artists this is costed at approximately GBP £30 per person.

The ISTA Young Creative Leadership Programme

The ISTA Young Creative Leadership Programme is an opportunity for high school students to develop their creative leadership skills.

Students develop their skills through a series of reflective tasks, mentoring and attendance at a middle school festival in a leadership role. The student then plans how this leadership experience will be implemented in their own community.

This is a powerful service learning opportunity and can be used as part of other leadership initiatives.

Click here to download the fact sheet.
Contact your Event Manager for more information.

What to bring

Appropriate attire

  • All participants must bring clothing that is suitable for physically active workshops during the day (athletic wear, PE kit, performance blacks, etc.)

Please note:

  • Participants not dressed appropriately for physically active workshops may be asked to sit-out.
  • Participants may be asked to remove footwear, jewellery etc. for some workshops.
  • Chewing gum is not permitted in any of the workshop spaces.


  • Pens, pencils, highlighters etc. for notetaking
  • Refillable water bottle

Download & Forms

Please find below the relevant documentation for you to download:


Starts on Friday 25 April at 08:30
Finishes on Sunday 27 April at 15:45
(Local Time)


ISA Science City International School

66 Yushu Road
Science City
Guangzhou, Guangdong

Venue Website


• Near West Group Ltd.