The ISH Institute
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.

About ISH
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."

Colonial Theatre

July 15, 2007


  Photo by Serge Ligtenberg

  Photo by Sphiy Cousin, Red Bull