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Hillel Academy to host Int'l Theatre Festival

Published:Wednesday | February 15, 2017 | 12:41 AMKimberley Small
Ouida Lewis, Professional Drumming Instructor
The Festival's planning committee (From left): Tanese McIntosh, Akeem Mignott, Anushca-Mai Bunting and Jennifer Tickle
Marlon Simms, associate artistic director, National Dance Theatre Company
Pierre Lemaire, Director of the Edna Manley School of Drama
Jonothan Neelands, Professor of Creative Education

The International Schools Theatre Association (ISTA), in collaboration with Hillel Academy, will be hosting the 2017 edition of the International Schools Theatre Festival at Hillel Academy in St Andrew from February 16-19. In an effort to further develop the performing arts at the school, Hillel Academy joined up with ISTA in 2015. Hillel Academy director, Nick Hazell, is excited to host this year's festival in Jamaica. Hazell said, "All of the international schools I have worked at have been ISTA members, and I have seen the transformative impact that these festivals have on the young people who attend them."


Delegation visit


In 2016, a student delegation from Hillel, led by drama teachers and parents, participated in the festival in Atlanta, which focused on the civil rights movement. This year, students and teachers will come from Atlanta International School, USA, the International School of Panama, and American International School, Kingston. Akeem Mignott, Hillel's drama teacher, told The Gleaner that the school is expecting a total of 48 students and teachers to participate in the this year's festival, with 22 of those hailing from the host school, with the students' ages ranging from nine to 14.




He said that the festival's workshops offer professional training in movement, acting, drumming, and poetry, as well as preparation for production. There will also be professional development workshops for staff on how to utilise drama in the classroom.

Mignott also revealed that local practitioners like Pierre Lemaire (drama professor) and Ouida Lewis (percussionist and hand drumming lecturer) of the Edna Manley College of the Visual Arts, along with Marlon Simms (artistic director of the National Dance Theatre Company), will be conducting workshops with the students.

Guest presenters at the festival include Julie Pasqual, a professional clown who works with Big Apple Circus in children's hospitals in New York; Kristen Van Ginhoven, artistic director of WAM Theatre; and Jonothan Neelands, professor of Creative Education at Warwick University Business School, UK.

"I'm so proud that Hillel is going to be the host of the very first ISTA festival in the Caribbean," said Hazell.