ISTA Academy Shanghai Members

With the ever changing nature of international school life we are now running a new model where we welcome in ISTA practitioners from around the world to work with the students for our weekend events. This maximizes variety whilst making sure that the ISTA pedagogy, vision and values are being upheld.

 The ista practitioners we bring to Shanghai are widely experienced teacher practitioners who have taught in international schools and worked in the entertainment industry all around the world.  

Whilst our founding members are no longer here in Shanghai, they have left the Academy in a strong position to kick on into the future and still have a lot to do with the current setup and the history of the Shanghai Academy.

Past ista Practitioners include former Vice President of ISTA, Darren Scully, and current ISTA Board of trustees member, Anne Drouet who is still the driving force behind the ISTA Shanghai Academy programme.

Read below about our past and present ISTA Academy Shanghai members.

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Anne Drouet


ISTA Board of Trustees member

Founding member and current Director of the ISTA Academy Shanghai.


Née Anne Wu,  Anne has been teaching music and musical theatre since 1994 and her work in and outside the classroom has taken her around the world. As a freelance composer (Anne Wu), Anne has worked with music legend John Altman and recently performed with Andy Summers from the Police. She has also composed music for film (Weinstein Films) and theatre projects.


In the Academy, Anne enjoys teaching students to compose with a variety of director's briefs and resources.  Young people who may never have written a note before, learn to express themselves through music and write their own songs using instruments as industry software.  Anne is most inspired by a drive to develop empathy and shape value in young people through powerful experiences in the Performing Arts.


Anne is the founding director of ISTA's first Performing Arts Academy which is based here in Shanghai.  She is now the Director of Performing Arts at the Hong Kong Academy and is hugely honoured to be setting up ISTA's second permanent home.

Hannah McFadden, Movement & Choreography

Current ISTA Academy Shanghai trainee practitioner

Hannah is a creative choreographer and director with considerable experience as a performing arts teacher in secondary schools in Australia. Her training in classical ballet, and then later as a dance teacher, lead her to her interest in creative movement within theatre. She has then gone on to work with young people in the creation of physical theatre, explorative movement pieces and musical theatre.  She is very excited about working at the ISTA Academy and looking forward to working with students on collaborative approaches to Movement and Choreography..


Steve Harris,

Current ISTA Academy Shanghai Administrator

Steve is a Kiwi construction manager by trade, but has been in Shanghai for the last 3.5 years with his wife who is a primary school teacher at WISS (Western International School of Shanghai).

He was recruited by Darren and Anne by a stroke of luck and has been giving his time to the ista Academy Shanghai for around 2 years as the Administrator/photographer/helper at ISTA shanghai events. Steve is very happy to help and is very excited to be apart of ISTAs Shanghai family.

"I came to Shanghai to say yes to any opportunity that came my way, and I never would have dreamed of being involved in a Performing Arts Academy, but here I am and I am very thankful to be here". 

Darren Scully, Drama

Former Vice President of ISTA

Founding member of the ISTA Academy Shanghai


ISTA has been a big part of Darren’s life since the early 1990s. He is a former Vice President of ISTA and a trustee. You may have seen him as AD, Rep or host of ISTA festivals both in Europe and Asia. He’s the Artistic Director at Western International School of Shanghai.


Darren has directed a lot of theatre in over 30 years as a teacher, from classic musicals to edgy experimental work. More recently he has been working on re-interpreting classical texts through physical theatre approaches  and devised work in immersive, site-specific venues.


He is an experienced AD at over 10 festivals and Student Ensemble Leader at TaPS (the IB Theatre programme). He has also worked a lot with teachers as Artist-in-Residence and for professional development at festivals. He has hosted 6 festivals at MS, HS and TaPS levels. Darren has been a contributor to ISTA’s journal, Scene, and co-authored IB Theatre Arts training for teachers.


Darren loves audiences stumbling across performances and watching the magic work. Contrary to popular opinion, he thinks theatre can make people better and the world a better place.

Rui Cunha, Theatre Tech & Set Design

Founding member of the ISTA Academy Shanghai

Rui  co-founded the Projectos AdHoc, a theatre group, acting and playwriting while at Secondary school. With a degree in Philology at the Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Rui worked as a lighting technician in the Teatro Viriato, where he became Technical Director. He is the Theater Manager and MS Theatre Tech teacher at WISS (Western International School of Shanghai).