The ISH Institute residency is a two-week intensive after-school
program for at-risk youth and youth from rural communities between
the ages of 13 – 18 years old. ISH instructors travel
from Amsterdam to Pittsfield to create a show with the youth
that incorporates the ISH disciplines.
ISH will work with young people from the Pittsfield area from
July 5 – 15 to create a performance that will be presented
to the public on July 15.
The objective of the ISH Institute residency is to give youth
the opportunity to work with international artists and learn
new skills in several different areas of stage production. ISH
encourages the young people to take an active part in creating
their own show by using their unique talents to express themselves
on stage. Consequently, they feel ownership and a great deal
of responsibility for the project which can be seen in their
creativity, dedication, cooperation and interest in making the
show a success. It encourages the exchange of cultural and artistic
skills between ISH, the youth and local artists. In addition,
the residency establishes relationships between the presenter,
local artists, the youth, local organizations and schools that
will continue to grow after ISH leaves. These relationships
will give the youth the opportunity to continue developing their
skills with professionals in their own community.
ISH was founded in 1999 by Marco Gerris when he was 23 years
old and one of the youngest theatrical producers in the Netherlands.
He had developed the idea of making a show using disciplines
never before been seen in the theatre – nor previously
staged in such a combination: disciplines of the street and
from the club circuit, together with inspirational elements
of pop concerts,video clips, cartoons, video games and film.
That was how the show, ISH, and the group with the same name,
came into being. The title was derived from that useful suffix
‘ish’, fitting into ‘one thing or another,’
when one is unable to make a precise definition of something.
Therefore ISH stands for the multidisciplinary character of
the shows: acrobatic stunts and dance on inline skates, street
dance, break dance, video art, a live mix by a DJ, martial arts,
acrobatics, rap, beatbox and even bungee jumping, all find a
place within ISH.
The name of the group also stands for the wide range of talents
and the versatility of each individual performer, for they have
to master several disciplines at the same time. Moreover, ISH
stands for the background of the program makers and the performers
who hail from different corners of the world. This cultural
background is by no means absolute and is therefore ‘ish’:
Marco Gerris is Philippine by origin, grew up in Belgium, yet
feels most at home – and lives – in Amsterdam.
In the meantime ISH has staged five shows (ISH, ISH_, Triple-ISH,
4-ISH, Virtual-ISH) that have all been enthusiastically received
by press and public. The performances pull in a full house of
mostly young people who may have never seen the inside of a
theatre. The productions are praised by the press due to the
recognition of the unbridled dynamic and the connection of new,
up to the minute disciplines in the world of theatre. ISH has
completed tours in the United States and Canada, and a number
of European countries.
Meanwhile ISH has its own home base in Amsterdam, the ISH Institute,
where not only new shows are made and rehearsed, but where young
people can also get lessons in all the disciplines that can
be seen in the ISH shows. In most cases these lessons are given
by individual members of the cast. The ISH Institute also organizes
numerous activities on locations in the Netherlands and abroad.
These activities include workshops, demo’s and school
projects where students make and present their own show.
Educational Director: Ken Srisangkhan
Producer: Gerard Cornelisse
Production Manager: Arvid Silos
Participants: 35 tot 40 local youngsters
"Hailing from the Netherlands, the theater company
ISH takes their name from the notion that they are not one thing
or the other: not quite theatre, not quite sport. 4-Ish is full
of performance-ish arts like competitive inline skating, martial
arts, and even meditating. And in the end, both show and company
are more than entertaining-ish."