Summer 2021 and beyond: join us on the journey

20 May 2021

As we come to the end of our 2019-2020 year I realise it’s timely to spell out our plans for 2021-2022 and beyond. We now have a much clearer picture of what next year will look like and I wanted to share those ideas with you so that we can begin planning in earnest.

As you will have heard we are re-introducing some of our live events. Most notably we’ll be producing face to face TaPS in New York and London in October 2021. Interest is high already and while planning is proceeding very carefully as we continue to monitor the situation globally, we are confident these events will take place and be so very welcomed by schools, teachers, students and parents.

We are also planning to produce an extensive number of face to face festivals from January through to May 2022. In fact, this week I’ve been chatting to Annie Philip in Nanjing and we have our first Asian HS festival confirmed in Nanjing for 4th-6th May 2022! Tom and I are in contact with all of our member schools who were due to host in 2019-2020, in 2020-2021 and those who are due to host in 2021-2022 to begin this conversation, test the waters and see if hosting even very small events is doable.

It may be that we focus on ‘city wide’ festivals predominantly or ‘neighbourhood’ festivals, where we locate hosts in cities and regions where schools can travel shorter distances by bus, train or across a city. From the data we’ve gathered from member schools this is certainly doable. 

Given the continued uncertainty about what next year will look like it is going to be impossible for us to launch a full season of festivals at any time between September to December. We are really going to need to follow a ‘go with the flow’ approach. In a normal year I realise this would be problematic for schools who need to get an ISTA event locked into their calendar. However, we don’t feel this will be as important next year and schools will, if they can, jump at the chance to attend even at relatively short notice.

So what we plan to do is drip feed face to face festivals scheduled for January through to May 2022 as they become confirmed from September onwards. We will, at the same time, be mapping out our full line up of festivals for 2022-2023 within our usual programming time frame. Festivals for 2022-2023 will be confirmed by December 2021 and will be launched in March 2022. 

At the same time, as we explore a return to live events, ALL of our virtual events will continue. It’s important we do so, not only for the coming year when some of you will not be able to attend live events, but also long into the future as these virtual events have demonstrated that the ISTA magic can be harnessed in a virtual platform and for many of you these will become a more regular way of getting involved. They offer greater opportunities and flexibility in terms of scheduling and finances.

I want to thank all of you who have engaged in one to one conversations with us since January. These conversations have afforded us the chance to build relationships and also really gauge where you need support best. Let’s keep those going over the summer and into next year.

In addition to the ‘off the shelf’ virtual experiences, we have also been hugely successful in creating bespoke events for many of you whose students couldn’t attend after school or weekend ISTA events. We will continue to develop these and share our success stories with you.

A quick reminder of what we have on offer in the virtual world:

> TaPS
> Discover DP Theatre
> A summer season of PD&L workshops
> Monthly PD&L workshops for ALL theatre teachers as well as DP Theatre teachers
> IB workshops
> Festivals
> Spotlight sessions
> Master classes 
> Artist in Residencies 
> Instructional guides
> Bite-size courses
> Digital global productions

Congratulations to one and all for navigating this most challenging of years. I am sure you are eagerly anticipating the summer months to reflect, relax and rejuvenate. Thank you for your support. Through your trust in us we have been able to successfully continue to operate and innovate and I couldn’t be prouder of the efforts of everyone in our community to keep ISTA alive and thriving.

Please do get in touch with anyone on the ISTA team if you’d like to set up a conversation or if you have any questions.