Students from Victoria Shanghai Academy (VSA) performed a new play, Chequered Flags to Chequered Futures, by British playwright Mark Wheeller, to launch the ISTA Theatre Festival, which ran from October 31 to November 2.
VSA, the host school, invited not only Wheeller, but also teachers and students from other international schools in Hong Kong and other parts of the world.
All students took part in a variety of skill-based workshops - including play writing, voice and character creation and development - and used the text of Chequered Flags to Chequered Futures as the starting point. It's the first time the International School Theatre Association used an original play to inspire a workshop festival, which is based on the true story of a racing driver who survived a crash.
"It's been such a good experience for all of the students, not just the cultural exchange, but also working on drama … It's really nice [they] have that in common," said Joanna Crimmins, coordinator of the festival and VSA's head of arts.
Students from the mainland, Myanmar, Cambodia and Britain stayed with VSA students during the festival.
"All of our hosts were really supportive," said 14-year-old Karmen Arnold from Britain. Lewis Evans, 16, also from Britain, said he loved Hong Kong and just didn't want to go home. Lewis gave the credit to his hosts, Ryan Tang and Ng Hok-hin, both VSA students.
"The experience wouldn't have been the experience if it weren't for the hosts," said Lewis.
The hosts took their guests on a tour of the city. Besides classic tourist attractions such as the Peak, they also went to selfie studio SNAP HK and room escape site LosT HK. "The more you embrace it over here, the more you enjoy it," said Lewis.