Q&A with Daisy Zhao Xiaoqing

20 October 2022 | Journal

1 Daisy Zhao Xiaoqing QnA

Daisy Zhao Xiaoqing is a performer-practitioner based in Singapore, originally from Dalian, China. She started her stage journey at a young age when she was part of a Chinese dance ensemble. She has received training in playback theatre, puppetry, Commedia dell'Arte, and embodiment training. 

Prior to ITI, Daisy worked as an early childhood educator in theatre arts with The Learning Connections, Young People’s Performing Arts Ensemble, as a puppeteer in Junction Tree with Mediacorp, and as an event host and magician with the Mighty Magic Lab. 

Her acting credits span both theatre and screen; she has performed in The Silly Girl and The Funny Old Tree (Young People’s Performing Arts Ensemble), Cabaret (The Stage Club), Tibby and the Tiger-Bunny (The Learning Connections). She also acted in the TV series Beyond Light Years produced by Shanghai GCOO Entertainment. Daisy is a core member of Long Time No See (好久不见) Playback Theatre. 

After graduation, Daisy plans to continue giving back to the community through playback theatre and working in early childhood education. She hopes to create her own works and continue rediscovering herself and the world through theatre.

Daisy is a beneficiary of the ITI Scholarship, Tan Chay Bing Education Fund Scholarship and the Möbius Fund, a revolving loan fund for actor-students.



What were you doing before coming to ITI?

I was freelancing in theatre and screen, attending masterclasses and workshops, teaching drama classes to young children and part-timing in event hosting.


Tell us how you came to know of ITI. What made you choose to come here?

I got to know some ITI alumni through theatre productions. I found them to be very grounded performers with disciplined practice and the training that they received has been continuously supporting them onstage as well as in life. I watched some ITI graduation productions and was totally captured by their performances. I gravitated to ITI due to the focus on interculturalism and my own interest in Asian traditional forms.


Think back to your first day here: what were some of your thoughts and emotions then?

To me, this remote place on the hill isn’t just like any normal arts school. Passionate students come all the way from their home countries to come here with their love for theatre and the world. I felt relieved knowing I’ve found my place and was about to start a new chapter as a performer, and hopeful that the next three years were going to be life-changing.


What is it like to train here at ITI?

The training is rigorous, rewarding and fun! First of all, it’s a great privilege to have the chance to learn the Asian traditional theatre forms. They free my body and mind and I have discovered so many possibilities in expressing myself onstage. I really appreciate the beauty and precision behind each movement, each glance and each word. Being exposed to different forms and acting methods in ITI has helped me to gather the fundamental principles in acting and equipped me with so many tools to practise and explore as a creator. The training provides new knowledge and challenges every day and I needed to find my own way to be motivated and ready. This process helped me to reflect on what kinds of habits I have and come to realise what kinds of adjustment I need to make as well as what kind of creator I want to be in the future.


The experiences here have moulded me into an actor who is more observant and passionate about people and life. I’ve also learnt to be more down to earth, flexible, independent and respectful.


What have you learnt from working with your international group of classmates?

I’m very intrigued by the different cultural backgrounds, languages and acting approaches of my peers; about who they are and the stories they share. This diverse environment opened up my mind, to watch with curiosity and listen with care.


What are the most memorable experiences you’ve had at ITI?

People greeting each other in different languages.
Squeezing around a small table to have lunch, with Uncle Chan’s funky music in the background.
Having a good laugh imitating each other’s habitual movement style.
A group hug at any moment.
There are so many more…


How has what you’ve learnt here shaped or changed you as an actor?

The experiences here have moulded me into an actor who is more observant and passionate about people and life. I’ve also learnt to be more down to earth, flexible, independent and respectful.


What are your plans for after graduation?

I plan to stay in Singapore and explore performing opportunities both in theatre and onscreen. I want to continue teaching theatre to children and doing playback theatre. To ensure people’s true stories and voices are heard as well as explore social issues in my future works.

In the long run, I hope to stage plays with an ensemble and to gather people to devise and create original works along with making theatre more accessible.


What would you say to a new student or someone considering joining ITI?

These three years are going to be extraordinary.


Any special thanks?

I want to thank every teacher and staff here in ITI for your generous love and care. Thank you to all the Angels for believing in the power of theatre. Thank you Tan Chay Bing Education Fund for supporting my journey in the performing arts. Thank you to every art practitioner for being part of the community of creativity. Thank you to my family and friends for the faith in me.


3 Daisy Zhao Xiaoqing Kutiyattam


4 Daisy Zhao Xiaoqing Asylum

2 Daisy Zhao Xiaoqing FYiP


Profile photo and ASYLUM production shot by Bernie Ng