The Inaugural iStage Winter Arts Festival

January 9th, 2017

On Saturday 10th December at iStage we successfully celebrated the wonderful talent and amazing creativity of our young musicians, dancers, singers, actors and staff and the imminent arrival of the Christmas festive season with a very busy full day of performances and taster sessions in our inaugural Winter Arts Festival which we very much hope will be an annual event. Around 300 people visited us during the course of the day, an amazing number given how the length of time we have been open. We saw many familiar faces and old friends but also we were really thrilled to welcome many first time visitors to our Lujiazui home.



Exciting times for iStage Academy in 2017 ahead as we move to a new stage of our development!

iStage musical groups and ensembles are waiting for you: Our new Orchestral band and Rock Band is recruiting, with amazing opportunities to perform, even with our musical cast members!

Even more stages to perform on: other stages outside the Academy and bigger stages to give you even bigger challenges and chances.

Overseas Summer Camp: Stay in England and experience drama and theatre firsthand in the birthplace of drama in English with an experienced professional writer, producer and director.

Domestic Masterclass Summer Camp: Learn how to act like Broadway and West End actors and actresses, there is only one step away between you and professional performers.

In coming  January, an experienced professional UK theatre director with over 200 productions in West End, Broad way, and across the UK will be joining iStage as the Director of Performing Arts,   to make iStage a more inspiring place!




Performances got off to a delightful start with charming ballet on the main stage from our young ballerinas and their wonderful dance coaches, Julie and Mary. Parents and audience members were thrilled with the confidence and grace the girls showed performing on stage.

Glee Choir
Then Michelle Chang and her Glee choir took to the stage for a rousing performance of classic Christmas favourite songs with Michelle playing the piano.

Piano Show

Musical - Snow Queen
Our Junior Musical Theatre next performed a charming new tailor-made version of Hans Christian Andersen's much-loved fairy tale the Snow Queen, specially written and directed for them by our resident Director of Drama, Steven Hirst. The young artists sang, danced and acted the touching story of best friends Kay and Gerda and the frozen-hearted Snow Queen with Michelle accompanying them at the piano and Steven narrating to the delight of parents and audience members.

In the morning Michelle gave very popular taster sessions for Little Percussionist, Young Composer and Music Intelligence and Steven held a taster session for Drama and Creative English to introduce new and potential students to the kinds of activities involved.

Young Composer

Drama & Creative English  & Young Performer
After lunch there were very entertaining performances by some of our pianists, and Drama and Creative English and Trinity Young Performer students.

Vanke Drama
Our very enthusiastic and talented young actors and actresses from Vanke Bilingual school came and performed a dark and spooky theatrical version of the famous Christmas ghost story A Christmas Carol, adapted and directed by Steven Hirst from the novel by Charles Dickens, about the miserly Ebeneezer Scrooge and three spirits who come to visit him one cold and foggy Christmas Eve in Victorian London.

Musical - A Christmas Carol
Our Senior Musical Theatre actors and singers ended the day's festivities with a musical version of A Christmas Carol adapted and directed by Steven Hirst with Michelle Chang as Musical Director and live on piano. The 12 performers acted, danced and sang their hearts out and there was barely a dry eye in the house when they ended the show with a heartwarming rendition of festive favourite White Christmas. There were also popular taster sessions for ukelele and African Drums.

All performers were given an iStage Certificate after their performances as a record of having taken part. We were, as always, really grateful for the invaluable contribution of all our parents to the success of the day in helping their children rehearse their parts, practice their pieces, create a costume and supporting and encouraging them. We are very lucky indeed at iStage to be blessed with a wonderfully warm, friendly and supportive parent community and in fact during the day parent volunteers were helping out in lots of ways, even operating the lighting for one of the shows.

Festive food and drink was served throughout the day as the lights on the Christmas tree twinkled and sparkled. A great thank you to all our admin and supporting staff whose hard work and preparation made sure the day went very smoothly and efficiently. By the end of the long and busy day all our staff were pretty exhausted but very pleased with the wonderful response of parents and grandparents to the superb performances they had seen on stage that day.

A very merry and happy Christmas to all our performers, parents, friends, and staff and we look forward to seeing you in 2017 for more exciting events, concerts, musicals, dances and dramas here at iStage.