Our Honorary Members
I first fell in love with the magic of ISTA at a HS festival in Cairo back in 2006, where I was thrown in the deep end of an exhilarating festival all about water. ISTA has taught me so much about creative collaboration and finding comfort in the unknown. I have been honoured to work with so many talented artists, teachers and students, learning so much along the way. I have served as ensemble / workshop leader, rep, artistic director, musical director and most recently as a trustee. After setting up ISTA’s first performing arts academy in Shanghai, I am currently the executive director of the ISTA Academy, Hong Kong where our mission is to create an independent playground for young people to create and connect, and to raise social awareness, develop empathy and creativity through the performing arts.
I have been working for ISTA since 1998 as an ensemble leader, a Rep, artistic director and Diploma Theatre teacher trainer. I run teacher sessions at festivals and since 2013 have worked as an Artist in Residence, running training in many areas, but mainly in Kathakali Dance Theatre and Laban technique. I have hosted ISTA festivals in Turkey, Egypt, Brazil (where I launched ISTA in South America) and India. I am now setting up the first ISTA Academy in Hong Kong.
I first worked with ISTA in 1997 when Tim Williams asked me to join the artistic team at his festival in Dunoon, Scotland. That first hugely enjoyable, if slightly terrifying, event was the start of a relationship with ISTA which over the years developed and defined me as a theatre professional and as a person. ISTA took me all over the world for sixteen incredible years and in that time I was lucky enough to serve as an ensemble leader, festival artistic director, trustee and later as president of the Association.
My initial contact with ISTA was in 1978 at a festival organised in Zurich. In 1984 I was elected to the ISTA Council and a year later I took up the role of Secretary. My presidency in 1994 followed that of Dinos Aristidou and Ted Miltenberger. During my period as president, working with Sally Robertson, we negotiated the ISTA relationship of Global Theatre Workshop Provider for the International Baccalaureate. In 2004 I relinquished my presidency and was invited as Honorary Life Member of ISTA, a distinction I accepted with much pleasure.
I became an ISTA artist in 1993 followed by a long spell attending festivals. When my other work, life and children made it more tricky to travel as much, I was still keen to be involved so joined the board of trustees for many years, serving as vice president before I retired. I was then delighted to become an Honorary Life Member.
When I heard: ‘We would like to make you an Honorary Life Member’, I was so moved but then immediately I thought: ‘Oh, God… this is what happens when you hit a certain age’. I’ve let go of that last thought and have embraced the offer with gratitude. ISTA has been a fundamental part of my professional and personal development. The students, friends, artists, master classes, productions, workshops and sense of ensemble in that organisation has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life’s journey.
I was teaching DP English in the Vienna International School when I first heard about ISTA. After VIS became a member school I took students to various HS festivals in Europe then hosted a HS festival at VIS where I had met Sally and introduced her to Pat Zich at an ISTA teachers’ workshop in Stratford-upon-Avon. I hosted the first Asian middle school ISTA festival at Taipei American School where Sally was the ISTA Rep and from then on I worked with ISTA in Germany, The Philippines, China and Riyadh. From 2011 until 2019, my work with ISTA as Board Chair was focussed on developing and documenting a wide range of policies and procedures to support ISTA’s growing worldwide position.
In 1987 I became an ISTA artist and a tea lady. Although I soon retired my purple leotard and doily hat (see May 2017 Scene magazine) for careers in the commercial theatre and experiential marketing industries, I remained an ISTA fan and friend. In 2000 Dinos Aristidou and I helped guide the transition from Pat Zich, ISTA’s storied founder, to Sally Robertson, ISTA’s storied CEO. Recently, I have helped develop ISTA’s work in the Americas and served as Event Coordinator and Rep for festivals, TaPS and IB workshops.
Dinos Aristidou (Deceased)
Dinos’ impact on ISTA has been immeasurable since his first festival in Barcelona in 1990. As well as having staffed numerous events as an freelance artist he has served on our board as member and president and in February 2022 joined ISTA staff as Executive Director. As well as all his work for ISTA, Dinos taught at several international schools in Athens, Milan and Vienna. His work for ISTA and organisations including the IB, UCAN and Birmingham Royal Ballet took him all over the world – enabling him to work with young people and teachers from every walk of life and culture. His passion for writing, directing and theatre education has contributed so very much to our rich and diverse history and ISTA is in the place it is today because of him. Dinos sadly passed away on 8th March 2023 at the age of 57.
Doug Bishop (Deceased)
Doug was involved with ISTA from the late 1970s in Berlin through the 80s in Kuala Lumpur and then in Taipei until his untimely death in 2010. Doug sat on the early Executive Council and then returned for a welcome stint on the board of trustees. He hosted regularly over a 30-year period and did much to give presence to the organisation as it became established in Asia. Doug’s quiet wisdom was always so greatly appreciated on the board and his contributions as a member teacher and host helped to shape the ISTA we know today.
Ted Miltenberger (Deceased)
Ted truly was one of ISTA’s ‘founding fathers’ and his involvement with ISTA goes back all the way to its creation in 1978. Ted’s commitment to the concept of ensemble shaped ISTA in many ways and he kept honing his views and understanding of ensemble throughout his life. For many years Ted was the theatre teacher at the American international schools in Milan and Paris. His ensemble approach also lead to him working with the Michigan State University Outreach programme. Ted passed away peacefully in 2015.