Mar 202018
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Three Days of Theatre Making

After two full days of intense planning sessions the festival based on ‘The Pearl Adventures’ was ready to commence.  On Friday 16 March, students from St Christopher’s School, Dharan British Grammar School, The British School of New Delhi, Cranleigh from Abu Dhabi, ABA from Muscat and the British International School from Riyadh arrived at St Christopher’s Senior School for the start of the festival. They were introduced to the ISTA representative, the ISTA artists and the starting point of the Pearl Adventures.  The students worked as a whole group to get to know each other with ice breakers and drama games all related to the theme. They then broke off into four ensemble groups to start creating theatre using a wide range of stimuli based around pearl fishing and the trading of pearls. The final part of the first day was a trip out to Sakhir to a Bedouin style desert camp where we enjoyed a Bahraini style Ghabga with musical interludes provided by the students.

The second day of the festival started with a trip to Qalat al Bahrain where the students were greeted by Yaz, a local archaeologist. She told the students about the history of the fort and all about pearl fishing in Bahrain. Her great grandfather was once a pearl merchant and she had some fascinating first hand tales to tell. The students worked in their ensemble groups to create a soundscape with gestures relating to the pearl fishers and this was then put together in a magical whole group performance within the walls of the fort, the general public on a day trip to the fort were very impressed with our impromptu performance.  After lunch on the beach, we headed back to school to continue creating theatre inspired by Yaz and the visit to the fort. The afternoon gave students the chance to participate in two workshops of their choice including breakdance, contemporary dance, puppetry, character creation, digging stories out of the walls and animal characters. A delicious dinner was served at school before tired students headed back to their hotel for a well deserved rest.

The final day began with a whole group rehearsal of the work created in the previous days before heading back into the smaller ensemble groups to continue developing their performance work. After the ever popular student choice of pizza for lunch, the ensemble groups came together to build the final performance piece. The festival came to a climax with an outstanding performance by the students. The performance was a blend of dialogue, physical theatre, movement and chants and the students showcased their many talents with confidence. It was a proud moment to witness the culmination of the work created over the three days and the festival was a memorable experience for all involved.

The students all agreed that they had had an incredible weekend and their feedback was unanimously enthusiastic:

“I got to create theatre all day long, how amazing is that?”

“This is the best thing I have ever done”

“Now I know what I want to do in the future, I want to make theatre and be an actor”

“I have made so many new friends, I love this festival”