As one of the founding schools of The International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA), CAC hosted the ISTA HS Festival for the first time this year since 2008. ISTA believes that the future of our world depends on confident, internationally minded, collaborative and culturally literate young people who are empowered to engage with and change the world responsibly.
The theme of the festival this year was "The Gift of the Nile", focusing on site-specific theatre practice and how theatre can respond to place. The festival was led by three professional teaching artists (Carl Robinson, Helen Abbott, and Mike Pasternak). They managed three days of learning and creation, mixed groups of students from CAC, El Alsson, AIS-West, NCBIS, and overseas visitors from American Community School of Beirut and St. John's International School in Belgium. Moving to the Out-and-About excursion, the entire group crossed the Nile by felucca to experience the river itself in a traditional context. Afterwards, they toured the Saqqara Pyramid to gather inspiration from the architecture, history, and landscape of Egypt. Students took skill-based workshops in performing arts. This provided a wonderful opportunity to get training in the performing arts for students interested but unable to take coursework. It was also loads of fun!
The culminating performance at the closing ceremony included movement-based theatre, spoken word, and a participatory experiential performance where the audience was led into the theatre on a blindfolded walk to experience some of the students' interpretations of the sounds and physical experiences they got from navigating the Saqqara site.
It is also worthy to note that this year's ISTA festival couldn't have been possible without the generous support of many CAC alumni and community businesses.
CAC is very excited to host the ISTA festival again next year, and CAC'S Performing Arts Department is currently working on developing the next starting point for creating theatre in a unique and inspiring context. More information about ISTA can be found at www.ista.co.uk.