ISP students created Ariel and made her stand up for the marine world

In January 2016, a group of ten ISP students got together and started planning for a student-led musical production to be performed in June 2017. The idea for this long-term project came from Mari Katsuno, who was a Grade 11 student at that time, and started the process as her main Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) project of the IB Diploma Programme.

The students began by developing the idea, writing the script and composing the music during the first year, and then moved on to rehearsing and creating the props and costumes during the second year. The project finally culminated in June, when the cast of 19 students from Grades 8-12 performed the original play called "Ariel: Standing Up for the Marine World" on two evenings in June.

Throughout the two-year project, students organised events and campaigns to fundraise for the materials for props and costumes. Here are some of the comments participating students had when they reflected on the process:

  • It was great to have full responsibility for the project. With responsibility, there was a different kind of commitment and it changed the way we interacted with each other.
  • We can be proud of our accomplishments, and I learned a lot along the way. It gave me an inside view into working as a real theatre group, and the multiple tasks we had to remember and think about.
  • The group was relatively small, so we became quite close. It was a fun experience that gave us autonomy and freedom.
  • I loved goofing around with my friends and eating pizza!

The play was a two-hour performance of dance, music and witty dialogue, with a clear message calling for ecology and nature conservation. Here's what one parent wrote after seeing the show on the first evening:

"Some of us resisted the heat yesterday evening and indulged in the air-conditioned, sometimes even frigid, gym at 13 Beethoven to witness a truly remarkable Ariel story. This is a play written, produced, organised, fundraised, advertised and catered entirely by students and it blew me away. Coming with no expectations I was looking for a student-led remake of a sugary Ariel story. What we found, however, was an imaginative script addressing key social issues of the day using Ariel story as a backdrop, an amazing musical with exceptional acting, original songs and dances. Ariel, Eric, Ursula and Sebastian are true talents that can bring ISP to Broadway fame, others play multiple roles and contribute immensely to this great success. Whatever you have planned for tonight can wait, reschedule it, and make sure you attend the 2nd evening of Ariel at 19:30 at ISP – the play is phenomenal and the kids deserve your support!"

All proceeds from the ticket sales went to ISP's sustainable development project.

Creativity, activity and service (CAS) is a key component of the IB Diploma.

  • CAS enables students to enhance their personal and interpersonal development by learning through experience.
  • It provides opportunities for self-determination and collaboration with others, fostering a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment from their work.
  • At the same time, CAS is an important counterbalance to the academic pressures of the DP.

Synopsis of the play:

Ariel: Standing Up for the Marine World

The Kingdom of Soulamer of the world under the sea, has for generations been under the rule of the great kings and queens of Soulamer. Life was great in the world under the sea; there was not a soul that was unhappy. Until one morning, when the creatures of Soulamer woke to utter darkness, with the surface of the sea covered in goo. The humans, on the land above the sea, had set up a menacing beast of grey and trash which they called a 'factory'! Day and night, it exhaled choking smoke. It urinated toxic chemicals. It defecated plastic, tin, and glass.

The Kingdom of Soulamer soon drowned beneath the black veil. The grim shadow spread until all light and joy was no more. Soulamer turned into a kingdom of misery. King Triton feared the end of the marine days - he started to perish in grief and sadness.

But Ariel, the King's youngest daughter did not give up hope. Whatever it took, she was going to restore her father's kingdom's original magnificence. With a determined heart, she embarks on a dangerous journey involving an assassination mission, as she literally stands up for the marine world she loves.