Atlanta International School became an ISTA Global Partner School in 2014. The major focus of our work together is the production of a bi-annual festival focussing on human rights. Under the inspired leadership of Rob Warren and his team at AIS (notably Sherry Weeks) the CONNECT festivals partnering with the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta are nothing short of visionary. Through challenging, significant and far reaching starting points (Race, inclusion, prejudice and oppression in 2017 through to The price of freedom: modern slavery in 2019); combined with the benefits of partnering with such a powerful cultural institution (that connects the U.S. Civil Rights Movement to human rights challenges today) these festivals are powerful and transformative and empower students with regard to both agency and activism. This is a model ISTA seeks to further replicate and develop as we design festivals for the future.
The partnership creates other innovative programmes with one recent example being our ‘consultant for change’. One senior ISTA artist who works with the school over an extended period of time. This fosters a rich and sustainable dialogue, based on trust and consistency in connection in order for various faculties to create, design and implement innovative projects and curricular models throughout the school. Bringing in regular artists in residence who are able to work with all sectors of the student body, not just theatre, is also a facet of our partnership. From building resilience in IB students about to embark on the Diploma programme through to modelling how Drama can be used in the primary school.
Partnerships such as the one with AIS mean we are combining resources, talent and ideas in order to explore the best in theatre practice that enhances a school’s ‘offer’ and ensures ISTA is continually evolving and growing creatively, keeping us at the forefront of international theatre education, hand-in-hand with our member schools.