Where we are and where we are going: An update

8 August 2022

Following our most recent board of trustees meeting at the end of June, I thought I’d give you an update of some of our plans and the initiatives we’re working on so you have a sense of our direction. Some of you will have already heard some of them at our regular ‘Drop Ins’. We’re also working on developing consultation processes so that from September there will be ways that you can become a part of our development and growth.

Our Identity

As you may have noticed we have defined our identity and purpose, with clarity and simplicity, as an organisation that specialises in global learning through theatre and the related arts. We are now turning our attention to developing a concise, clear and coherent framework and model for the ISTA Ensemble Method which is our roots, our heart and underpins all our practice.

Our strategy 2022-2025

All of our current work and our future development is guided by 7 strategic pillars developed in collaboration with the staff team and the ISTA board of trustees.

These provide us with a roadmap as well as being our navigator.

All areas of development are all informed by our strategic pillars.

Though these pillars are interrelated, we are also taking each as its own separate area of focus and developing a strategy for each.

Our offer

To offer unique, high quality and immersive global learning through theatre and related arts events, services, programmes, projects and resources for young people, artists and educators.


To be recognised as a world leading provider of global learning through theatre and the related arts.


To work collaboratively with a wide range of communities and diverse groups using the ISTA Ensemble method.


To offer a high-quality membership service of value that encourages organisations and individuals to join ISTA.


To be recognised as a quality, global resource and training centre of diverse, international, current artists who share our values and practice the ISTA ensemble method.

Values-led partnerships, collaborations and donors

To develop existing partnerships and engage with, collaborate or partner with a range of cultural/educational and values-aligned organisations and individuals around the world to support our work, expand our reach and grow our capacity.

Resources, finances and operations

To develop a robust and sustainable model that will ensure the security, growth and development of the organisation, our capacity and our resources.

Working in partnership

We’re thrilled to have developed some new partnerships which provide us with opportunities to work in new places, with exciting organisations.

We are proud to announce partnerships and collaborations with:

• The 9/11 Memorial and Museum, New York

• British Film Institute (BFI), London,

• Amala Education

• Loughborough University UK, Trestle Theatre Co UK, Artist Residency Thailand, Thailand, University of Chiang Mai, Thailand

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum, New York, USA


This will be a new ISTA Global Site of Learning, alongside The Eden Project in the UK and the Terezin Memorial in the Czech Republic. We hope this will be an annual event offering young people and educators to explore the stories of this important site and moment in history through theatre.

British Film Institute (BFI), London, UK


This will be the site of training for film teachers and theatre teachers interested in film with discussions of a festival or event for young people based on their incredible archive.

Amala Education


Working exclusively with young refugees and displaced young people, we will be running workshops this year in Jordan exploring how personal stories can be used as a tool for advocacy and change. We will be offering this as a professional development opportunity to educators interested in this type of work.

Loughborough University, UK

Trestle Theatre Co., UK

Artist Residency Thailand

Chiang Mai University, Thailand

We’re putting in a joint bid to the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) for a 3 year research project exploring the the ISTA CONNECT model and the decolonising of the curriculum.

Our artists

We undertook the mammoth task of updating our database so that we comply with data regulations, have an updated list of the current work our artists are engaged in and to help guide the future staffing of events.

Over 140 artists have responded, wanting to continue working with ISTA.

In addition, we’ve also run two artist trainings in Chiang Mai, Thailand and Guangzhou, China to diversify our pool. We welcome the 18 newly trained artists to the ISTA community.

ISTA TAPS Perspectives: Developing relationships with current theatre companies

The new ‘TAPS: Perspectives’ brings young people and educators together with current theatre companies and local industry professionals in the cities where the events are held; Chiang Mai, Hong Kong, London and New York. This allows ISTA to also contribute to the cultural economy of the cities which host our TAPS events.

We have engaged and established relationships with over 16 theatre companies we have never worked with across the 4 cities and we hope these will yield future projects and work.

ISTA Global Centres of Innovation

ISTA Global Centres of Innovation will be located around the world and developed in partnership with international organisations who share ISTA’s values and commitment to global learning through theatre and the related arts.

These centres provide ISTA with a space to experiment and innovate, ensuring that our work and models of practice are informed, piloted and founded in action research.

We plan to develop a network of 6 centres by 2024 with the first three established in 2022-23. These will also be centres of ISTA artist training and global hubs for conferences, workshops and the dissemination of our discoveries and models.

We are proud to announce our first two centres:

Artist Residency Thailand and Traidhos Three Generation Community for Learning, Chiang Mai, Thailand

• focussing on the CONNECT Model and engaging with local communities

Near West, working in Guangzhou, China and Fairfax County District, Virginia USA

• focussing on the engagement of non-fee paying schools

We hope you’re as excited as we are by these developments and look forward to seeing you at some of these events as well as working with you to develop our strategy and our future together.