Upper School Choice - chess

Memories Made in Malta at ISTA Drama Festival

14th November 23

This November, Year 10 UAL Drama students participated in the International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA) Drama Festival hosted by the Verdala International School in Malta.

Every festival begins with a recognition and affirmation of each individual, their story and their perspectives. Then through ensemble building strategies, participants begin to collaborate and come together as an ensemble to learn together and from each other. The cultural story and site, chosen by the festival host, become the lenses through which participants creatively explore the ISTA Global Challenge using theatre and the related arts. Participants use drama to share their learning and explorations with an audience as a piece of theatre.

This year’s theme was ‘hekk gara, HAWNHEKK, hekk jigri’ which means This happened, HERE, this happens.

Working alongside schools from Dusseldorf, Barcelona, Belgrade and Egham, KAS students tuned in to their surroundings by taking a walking tour of Valletta visiting The Great Siege Monument and learning about the assassination of journalist Daphne Galizia who was unstoppable in the pursuit of justice. Then they explored Straight Street affectionally known as The Gut, built in the 16th century during the rule of the Order of St John, where the narrow paths of the street made it perfect for the knights to meet up and duel. It later became a retreat for sailors to drink and dance and indulge in taboo activities.

The group continued on to an event called Outside/In set in a disused historic building which was an art show celebrating cultural outlaws who embody the spirit of street art culture. Finally, the tour ended at St Catherine’s Monastery an order of Cloistered Augustinian nuns who made an oath to lead a life of prayer, contemplation, and service. Students were particularly interested by the ‘Control’ room used to deal with young women who were considered a threat to morality at the time.

It is no surprise that this rich cultural experience prompted deep conversations about traditions, beliefs and ideologies and translated in moving and thought-provoking drama work.

Students built their confidence by sharing work in their ensembles as well as full group performances and they experimented in site specific theatre performance. Head of Drama, Lucy, said: “It was a wonderful experience to witness first hand bonds made between students.”

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