Our students are coming to the end of a fantastic weekend at the ISTA High School Festival at Renaissance College. The weekend has been spent working with students from other countries and exploring word theatre traditions whilst learning new theatre skills. Our students have thrown themselves into the action and have had a brilliant time.
Yesterday we were all sad to leave SAS and Shanghai after a fun packed three days of theatre. The final festival day consisted of workshops and rehearsals in the morning leading to a sharing in front of an audience of over 100 people in the afternoon. The performance involved every people both on stage and behind the stage. An event for everyone to be proud of! We can’t wait for the next festival.
In the afternoon students took part in a series of workshops which ranged from musical improvisation, an introduction to Peking opera, set construction, clowning, physical theatre and commedia masks.
The workshops were a great opportunity to learn specialist skills and students had a chance work with different artists and other students outside core ensemble groups.
The fun didn’t stop when the sun went down. Students were thoroughly spoiled with a delicious dinner, served in an amazingly decorated dinning hall and followed by an incredible (and huge!) specially made cake. There was then popcorn as students settled in to watch the talent show. Some of our students were brave enough to perform.
This morning our students have been out and about in Old Shanghai to find inspiration for their Drama. The students explored the city in their ensemble groups to discover what life is like for the locals of this amazing city. Students will now spend the afternoon developing their pieces of Drama around their experiences.
Our students had a lovely first night with their host families yesterday and our first full day of the Shanghai ISTA festival at SAS has been full of theatre fun! We have played theatre games, learnt new exercises and worked in our ensemble groups exploring the festival’s theme of ‘The City of Dreams’. Let’s not forget all of the delicious food we’ve eaten! We are all looking forward to exploring The Bund tomorrow and working with new artists in our workshops.
Our Drama students enjoyed working with a visiting ISTA Artist in Residence this week. Fenella Kelly visited the school for three days, to run devising workshops with Drama students ranging from years 6-11. Our students played with different genres of theatre during these workshops and learnt to experiment with new devising techniques. On top of the workshops , all of Year 5 took part in a two hour Greek Theatre workshop with Fenella and produced some brilliant pieces of theatre.
On Monday evening Fenella ran a Katakahli workshop which included use of traditional costume and props. Kathakali evolved from early temple art forms in the 17th century, it is a highly charged, powerful drama that combines devotion, drama, dance and music to produce one of the most impressive forms of sacred theatre in the world.Our GCSE students really enjoyed the 90 minute workshop.
Our Year 11’s spent the day with Fenella on Tuesday in preparation for their upcoming practical exam. Year 11 learnt lots of new practical techniques and got their creative juices thoroughly flowing. Their devising work stemmed from various stimuli from ‘The Tempest’ to the modern play text ‘Black Out’.
Everyone who took part in Fenella’s workshops had a truly creative, enjoyable experience.
One of the most exciting things about the Drama Department is its membership of ISTA.
Following the success of the recent trip to Penang, we have signed up for 2 ISTA festivals next year, as follows:
- A Middle School Festival at Shanghai American School, Pudong (3rd to 7th November 2016) – this will be open to Years 6 to 9 and is likely to cost in the region of HK$7500-8000 all-inclusive, depending on final flight costs.
- A High School Festival at Renaissance College, Hong Kong (17th to 19th May 2017) – this will be open to Years 9 to 13 and is likely to cost in the region of HK$2500-3000 (non-residential).
These festivals will be of great interest and benefit to a wide range of our students: all that is required is an interest in Drama and/or other performing arts. The nature of the festivals, which include collaborative work, cultural exchange and a lot of fun, means that those who attend will learn a huge amount – attending such events is often an extremely powerful and transformative experience.
Even more exciting is the fact that this year we will also be taking some students to Shanghai who are particularly interested in the production side of theatre, whether this be stage design, lighting, sound or just a general interest in production support.
Please note that a letter for the festival in Shanghai will be sent out very early next term, once flight costs have been confirmed. The deadline for signing up for this festival is likely to be 5th September, so you will need to act quickly if you want to attend.
No doubt demand will be high after our students’ past experiences in Penang, Manila and Bangkok and after the success of the recent Prep School Production: don’t miss out!