Drama / Physical Theatre / Music / Theatre Tech

What is ISTA?

Founded in 1978, the International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA) is a UK charity that runs over 200 annual performing arts events worldwide. The ISTA Performing Arts Academy Shanghai based at the Western International School of Shanghai (WISS) is ISTA’s first of two Performing Arts Academy in the world. Backed by a star studded and award winning board of patrons, the program brings together students aged 11-18 from across Shanghai to collaborate and combine their talents to create their own work. Each 8 week course culminates in a public sharing or performance.

We Believe

  • Young people desire to learn and participate in a dynamic, creative environment.
  • The best discipline comes from a commitment towards common goals.
  • The arts encourage each individual to work in a creative, supportive and collaborative way.
  • The Academy is committed to these beliefs and its structures and teaching methods are planned to reflect them.

There are no auditions and the process is inclusive. We require drive, dedication, open minds, and total commitment to the process. It’s not just about talent – it’s about the desire to do well by yourself and your peers.

The ISTA Experience

After the first course, I asked my son why he liked ISTA so much. He answered that he was able to express himself without judgment. I think that this contributed tremendously to increasing his self-esteem. I think that the timing is perfect too. At 15, he was smack in the middle of adolescence and being a part of ISTA, made this complex period easier for him (and us) to handle. While he has always been a social person, being part of ISTA pushed him even further in his ability to have empathy and understanding of others.
We have physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual components in our personalities. The arts are important to me because they allow us to express and/or to appreciate the world using all of these components. The arts are nourishment for the soul, and thus make us more complete, well-rounded human beings.
I would recommend ISTA to all parents. Certainly to those whose children have an interest in theatre, but also to those who have children in all places of the spectrum, from the very shy to the very restless. ISTA can help the shy child come out, and the restless child to follow a discipline, both in a safe, constructive environment.