Q&A with Theresa Wee-Yenko

6 November 2019 | Journal

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Theresa is a member of Emergency Shelter, the training arm of Emergency Stairs. Her projects in 2019 include Encounters of Dance and Music in Instant Composition (Dance Nucleus).

Her previous stage credits include Off Stage (Emergency Shelter, 2018), Uproot (The Theatre Practice Lab, 2016), Let's Get Back Together (Red Pill Productions, 2014) and Romeo and Juliet (Toy Factory, 2014).

Theresa is a recipient of the ITI Scholarship and the Tan Chay Bing Education Fund Scholarship.


What were you doing before coming to ITI?

Coming back to Singapore after three years in India, I had a lot of questions. I was trying and quitting a lot of things, figuring out what I wanted and didn’t want to do.


Tell us how you came to know of ITI and what made you choose to come here.

Throughout the trying and quitting, wanting and not wanting… something I always looked forward to was Thursday mornings at The Theatre Practice (TTP) Lab.

The work was exciting and opened up senses I didn’t know my body had. The people were really cool, and really cool people are hard to come by. I wanted more.

After finding out that Wah Wah [Hung], Zach [Ho] and [Chang] Ting Wei, TTP Lab people I love and artists I respect, graduated from TTRP/ITI [ITI was formerly known as Theatre Training & Research Programme (TTRP) until 2011], I decided to come here.


What is it like to train here at ITI?

I feel like a different person and I’m not sure how I feel about that. I remember Wah Wah told me that ITI will continue to change me many years after graduating. Reminding myself to be brave, to trust myself, and to allow the journey ahead to be what it is.


What's your experience been like working with your classmates?

A lot of things in school keep changing, but 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, for three years — it’s a lot of people in a tiny space. This is really very intense, especially for someone who has a deep need for solitude. Sometimes I feel like an outsider and I’m okay with that most of the time.

My classmates probably don’t know I think each of them has something cool that only they can offer the world, or how much they have changed me.


I feel like a different person... ITI will continue to change me many years after graduating. Reminding myself to be brave, to trust myself, and to allow the journey ahead to be what it is.


Tell us about the most memorable experiences you’ve had at ITI.

My first encounter with traditional form training was a class with Yoshi-sensei [Noh master teacher Kanze Yoshimasa]. Couldn’t miss his arrival because he’s very tall, looks like an owl, and was wearing a yukata, which was something I’d only ever seen in anime.

After Sasi introduced him, he sang. It was a very ‘I-don’t-know-what-this-is-but-I’m-feeling-a-lot-of-things’ moment for me. It was all very strange and at the same time very familiar. I was certain that I had just witnessed something profoundly beautiful.

Do you know our region is so rich? Do you know there’s so much to discover right here? I really didn’t know before coming to school here.


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

I don’t know yet, I’m still digesting because a lot of things have happened. 

Excavating with Gey Pin, taking time with Besur, mopping with Chin Huat. These experiences mean a lot to me. I know they have changed me, and are continuing to change me.

Any special words of thanks?

Mowgli, I love you and I can’t believe we made it through this.



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Photos by Bernie Ng