ISTA Festival 2017

by Audrey Year 10

On February 8-12th, a group of Year 10s (Marine, Teo, Hugo, Paul, Ethan and I) and a couple of seconde students (Eliot and Alfred) took part in the High School ISTA (International Schools Theatre Association) Festival in Singapore with Mr. Burt.

On the 8th, after leaving school at lunchtime, we boarded our bus to the Airport Express with our luggage. Sorting out visas and passports was chaotic, but everything ran smoothly from then on. Our 4 hour flight brought us to the Changi Airport, from where we were taken to the host school, Tanglin Trust School to meet our host families.

Our first day at the actual festival definitely set our expectations high for the rest of our trip. We did some full-group theatre exercises as an icebreaker for students of different schools then set off to a peculiar “Out and About” in Haw Par Villa. We took lots of photos as inspiration for our final piece. When we came back, we met our ensemble leaders and started working in our groups to get familiar with each other and have a lay good foundation for productive teamwork the next day. A social event took place in the evening, which was a great way to connect with people from Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan and more along with a movie, a disco and a karaoke.

On the following day, we started off with more full-group exercises to warm us up and we went straight into an ensemble session with our leaders to start formulating ideas for our final piece. The day was broken up by workshops, which were led by professional theatre artists. The workshops covered areas as diverse as storytelling and speech to movement and exploring space. We finished the day off with another ensemble session and returned to our host families, as tired as the day before.

The last day was intensive ensemble group time - we had to create a piece of theatre with the theme of “Something Old, Something New” by the end of the day to present to our parents, school staff and host families. All the performances turned out brilliant, using creative props, lighting, spacing and techniques to convey ideas from different sources of inspiration.

FIS stayed an extra day in Singapore because of our flight time, so a staff member at Tanglin Trust School offered to take us onto her yacht for a sail around. They had kayaks, paddleboards and a speedboat on board, so we were in for a treat that morning. We had a wonderful lunch at their clubhouse and left with big smiles on our faces.