New artists 2020-2021

2 June 2020

A warm welcome to all of our new ISTA artists joining our artist teams this year!

Alan Brooks
Dancer and choreographer based in Germany; festival SEL.

I’ve been a successful professional dancer, choreographer and community dance worker for over 20 years. I conceived and led Germany’s first State Theater education programme and am the Artistic Director of the School Dance programme for the Ministry of Education of Bavaria where I lead choreographic residencies to socially deprived schools and teenagers.

I remain fascinated by the emotional power of dance and the possibilities and chances it brings to young people. Their artistry, courage, passion and commitment is constantly inspiring to me. Regardless of background, academic potential, disability or status, the humanity of dance and its ability to change lives is a constant source of joy.

Andy Burt
Former member teacher based in Hong Kong; Rep.

I began theatre at an early age in southwest England and studied music and French at London University. I’ve loved teaching drama and theatre arts at international schools in Hong Kong and Europe, and I enjoy sports and cooking. I am currently studying for an M.Ed. in Theatre in Education with Trinity College, Dublin.

I have a very broad interest in theatre. I have worked professionally as a workshop leader, pianist (Laban Centre, London) and lighting designer, with over 30 years of non-professional experience as actor, director and stage manager. I conduct orchestras and choirs, compose and arrange music, and write plays. I especially love anything to do with movement and physical theatre.

I have spent over 30 years as a head of faculty in international schools. I hosted several (huge!) ISTA festivals in Hong Kong, and have regularly taken my students to HS and MS festivals in Europe, Asia and Australia, since 1987.

Cheryl Causley
Member teacher based in Istanbul; Rep.

Currently living in the beautiful city of Istanbul, I began my teaching career in Vancouver, Canada and have expanded globally. I value the process of developing theatre work in young people, and love to watch how it can change someone. I challenge students to examine stereotypes, explore social issues and to push the boundaries of their creative expression.

As a director and teacher, I love working with non-verbal styles of theatre like Frantic Assembly, DV8 and the endless possibilities of telling stories without words. I have a passion for Verbatim Theatre and using theatre as a communicative tool for plays relating to social issues. Watching students challenge themselves creatively is fantastic.

In the past, I was conference coordinator of the annual teachers’ conference in British Columbia, organising all aspects of the conference from hotels to workshop leaders to entertainment. I have extensive experience organising and facilitating numerous student cultural trips to New York, London, Spain, Greece and Ecuador. I love coordinating teacher workshops and even casual curriculum-sharing among colleagues.

Kirstie Davis
Director from the UK; festival SEL.

I have worked at many theatres around the country. For six years I was the Associate Director and then Acting Artistic Director of Watford Palace Theatre. I was CEO and Artistic Director of Forest Forge from 2009 to 2016 where I commissioned and directed over 20 new plays. I have been a freelance director for the past four years and am based in the south west.

As a director I am particularly interested in new writing and developing new work which has a multi-disciplinary approach. I also really enjoy working in communities to create new plays. I recently directed a piece about the bus that goes from Lancaster to Keswick. This was developed via over 350 interviews with people of all ages in that region.

Revati Khattar
Dancer and choreographer based in Mumbai; festival SEL.

I am a professional dancer, choreographer and a certified yoga trainer, and did my Bachelors in Business. In this past decade of working in the performing arts space, which started with being a certified trainer at the Danceworx Academy, I have performed in shows, commercials, choreographed for a Netflix series and a few movies and taught dance at the American Embassy School, New Delhi.

From brainstorming to showcasing, the complete process of creation is something I feel passionately about. It excites me to pick up a theme and find our own way of interpreting it and at the same time seeing how differently/similarly someone else might relate to it. I enjoy working with young minds, always filled with refreshing ideas and new angles.

Amanda Lehoux
Member teacher based in Beijing; Rep.

I fell in love with drama, devising and theatre when I was 14 years old, and have been exploring and pursuing my passion ever since. My interest in drama and devising lead me to complete a Theatre-in-Education Fine Arts degree at age 22, and I have been teaching and learning around the world as an international theatre/drama teacher since then.

What interests me as an artist is the role of ensemble in creating and how, when we work together, we can accomplish so much more than when we work in isolation. The creative process and its multitude of possibilities make me excited to create collectively every day.

I am very pleased to be an ISTA Rep and bring a multitude of organisational and leadership experiences with me to this position. I have both hosted and brought students to ISTA events, lead departments within schools and been a part of highly functioning collaborative teams. I look forward to working with artists and teachers to ensure everyone gets the best ISTA experience possible.

Shruti Mishra
Freelance artist; festival SEL.

I am a theatre and movement artist from India. My training with many artists around the world specialises in movement based theatre and other movement based art forms like modern contemporary dance, Indian classical dance and various movement sciences like WUTAO and body conditioning.

As a performing artist I am interested in telling stories about different cultures around the world in a way that brings together the artistic intent with the various skills thereby giving the skills a poetic intent and expression.

Lian Sutton
Freelance artist; festival SEL.

I graduated from the BA (Hons) Acting programme at LASALLE, Singapore in 2014. In 2019, I completed my Masters in Arts Pedagogy and Practice by researching the pre-performance rituals of professional actors. I am currently co-founder of theatre collective; Dark Matter Theatrics and Artistic Director of Nusantara Theatrical Combat (NTC).

I was brought up by traditional martial artist parents, so naturally I’m drawn to the training of a performer, and developing the martial arts/performing arts dichotomy. In 2020, I started NTC, a theatre company which promotes the advancement of theatrical combat techniques inspired by southeast Asian martial arts training and aesthetics.

In 2018, I had the opportunity to run a movement workshop for ISKL’s annual arts festival, elements. Which led to me becoming a master class leader for both student and teacher PD&L sessions on my work with the four elements imagery and Brahe Method Maskwork at TaPS Kuala Lumpur 2019.

Naima Thompson
Member teacher based in Vietnam; festival SEL.

I am from Trinidad & Tobago, studied in the US and obtained a B.A. in Communication Arts and an M.Ed. in International Education. I am a licensed theatre arts teacher in the state of Massachusetts and an international theatre arts teacher since 1992. I have lived and taught in several countries including the US, Qatar, China, Thailand, Kenya, Turkey and Vietnam.

My pedagogical areas of interest include Augusto Boal’s Forum Theatre, Meisner’s techniques, Stanislavski’s method acting, Brecht’s Epic Theatre, and Peter Brook’s empty space. Additionally, I am the founder of the nonprofit Necessary Arts since 1996. With a wealth of experience in education, I am excited to bring meaningful development to both teachers and students alike.

Paul Whiteley
Music-focused artist based in Taiwan; festival SEL.

Over the past 30 years I have worked the gamut of the arts, entertainment and event industries as a performing artist, musician, artistic director, producer, East-West broker, technician and teacher, spreading my time between Australia and Asia. A musical theatre degree holder, I’ve toured in big production musicals since 2000 and currently reside in Taiwan.

I get excited in a creative space. Any creative space. Creating something from nothing and sharing it with the world excites me. And I love the “light bulb” moment in teaching. Ownership of knowledge and the confidence to risk. In particular, I’m fascinated by the concept of communication and how it impacts storytelling and the audience experience.

Marsha Yalden
Member teacher based in North America; TaPS SEL.

I live with my cat Fiona (and lots of koi fish too) on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA. I studied Communications and Theatre at the University of New Hampshire. I love theatre, of course, (attending shows, performing) but also love gardening, reading, traveling and driving my Mini Cooper, Rocco.

As an artist, I enjoy exploring what works to create realistic characters. Too often we get caught up in the spectacle of theatre, when what really matters to me is bringing something to the stage that causes your audience to suspend their disbelief and become lost in the performance before them.

I have accompanied my students to TaPS NYC for seven years. Last year, I was a SEL for the first time. IB Theatre teacher training in Atlanta, Montreal and Toronto. Theatre and English teacher for 22 years and IB DP Theatre teacher at Sturgis Charter High School for 13 years.