- High School
Seisen Students Create Drama — the Good Kind — at KPASS High School Drama Festival 2023
On Saturday, September 16, eight Seisen high schoolers joined other students from international schools across the Kanto region for the 2023 KPASS High School Drama Festival, hosted this year by Saint Maur International School in Yokohama.
Seisen’s new Drama Teacher Dr. Reimer joined the Seisen representatives at the event, which hosted 61 students Grades 9-12 from eight schools: Seisen, Saint Mary’s International School, Saint Maur International School, Yokohama International School, Zama American Middle-High School, the American School in Japan, Yokota High School, the British School in Tokyo, and the International School of the Sacred Heart.
At the festival, students were split into four groups, each combining people from different schools and led by a professional performance practitioner in the Kanto region. This year’s workshop facilitators were Joan Chen from Tokyo International Players, Jon Sabay from Tokyo Comedy Bar, Karen Pauley from TIP Youth, and Andrew Woolner from the Yokohama Theatre Group. Saint Maur’s Head of Drama Department and Director of Fine Arts, Nicolas Gregoriades was host of the festival.
These workshop leaders guided the students through the creation of original 5-minute performances of their own devising centered around a theme, which this year was “Revolution.”
At the end of the day, the four groups showcased devised pieces their members created over the course of the day on the stage in Saint Maur’s beautiful Auditorium. Each piece utilized simple-yet-thoughtful lighting and sound tech but otherwise focused on the use of their bodies and voices in space to tell a story. Each group interpreted the theme of “Revolution” very differently — some comedic and others serious, at times realistic and at other times avant garde — but all of the presentations effectively communicated a unified message in their shared vision on the stage.
Dr. Reimer said: “This was a wonderful experience for all of us. For the students, they got to meet other young people interested in Drama from all the different high schools, and experience working with professional theatre makers from around the Kanto region to create original short-form plays. And for the teachers: we got to network with our counterparts in all the other schools, sharing stories and ideas for our classes and school productions. It was so great that we could all come together in-person this year and devise theatre.”
Festival host Mr. Gregoriades said after the event, "This is a huge leap from the 26 students we had last year and close to the 75 students that we had in 2019." Such a strong turnout post-pandemic seems to show an desire amongst high schoolers in the KPASS school system for opportunities to create theatre and meet other likeminded artists.
Congratulations to all of the students who participated! And hopefully all of their fun experiences at the festival this year will inspire other students to sign up for future KPASS High School Drama festivals.
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Want to support Drama at Seisen?
Mark your calendars to come see this year's Fall Plays 2023, featuring two one-act plays – Ian McWerthy's "The Internet is Distract–OH LOOK A KITTEN!" and Julia Izumi's "Meet Murasaki Shikibu Followed by Book-Signing, and Other Things" – and the talents of Drama students from Seisen and Saint Mary's, November 3rd and 4th, 2023, at SMIS's Multi-Purpose Hall.