Wong Jin Yi is an actor and theatre practitioner based in Singapore. She was part of Young & W!ld’s graduating cohort of 2019, performing in their showcase Anything Can Happen/Something Must Happen. She has also performed in productions by NUS Stage, most notably The City Remembers (2018) and The Golden Record 2.0 (2019).
Jin Yi has conducted workshops in Viewpoints, in collaboration with the Playwrights Commune (2021).
She came to ITI to further her understanding of the origins of theatre and to become acquainted with her body as an instrument for creation. To this end, she continues to pursue training in movement forms outside of those taught at ITI, including Odissi at Chowk and Taiji.
Jin Yi plans to expand her interest in theatre-making by pursuing avenues of playwriting and directing in addition to performing. She aims to create work that reflects the complexities of the human condition.
Jin Yi is a recipient of the ITI Scholarship and a beneficiary of the Möbius Fund.
What were you doing before coming to ITI?
I was deciding between pursuing a career in academia versus furthering my theatrical training. I was taking workshops and classes here and there, including a year with Young and W!ld under Edith Podesta.
Tell us how you came to know of ITI. What made you choose to come here?
I saw ITI on a slide in one of my university lectures. I was considering getting further training in theatre and ITI felt like the perfect place. I talked to some alumni to get a better idea of it before I came. They assured me that ITI was a place that would help me become more “myself”.
Think back to your first day here: what were some of your thoughts and emotions then?
I was excited and didn’t know what I was actually getting myself into. I was unprepared in many ways but game to try anything.
What is it like to train here at ITI?
It can be wrenching. Eye-opening. Exciting. Always surprising. Magnificent even in trivial ways. A dream.
I’m much more connected with [my body], more confident in using it as an instrument and my relationship with it is much less driven by shame. I now understand it better as an extension of myself and have learnt to enjoy how it looks and expresses itself onstage.
What have you learnt from working with your international group of classmates?
Working with my classmates from various cultures has shown me that theatre should be something joyous and organic. In Singapore, there’s a tendency to make theatre something cerebral and self-indulgent, but my classmates have shown me through their cultures that theatre and performance are created from a sense of shared community and fun in the process.
What are the most memorable experiences you’ve had at ITI?
Suzuki training. Singing Jitua in Kutiyattam. Text analysis with Aarne. My turning points presentation. My FYiP presentation, and rocking out with my batchmates backstage — this is the most memorable part of any performance or class here.
How has what you’ve learnt here shaped or changed you as an actor?
I’ve changed so much as a performer and a person. I think the biggest difference is how I approach my body now. I’m much more connected with it, more confident in using it as an instrument and my relationship with it is much less driven by shame. I now understand it better as an extension of myself and have learnt to enjoy how it looks and expresses itself onstage.
Other things I’ve learnt: Work hard, but don’t beat yourself up over things. It’s okay to take time. There is nothing wrong with being who you are. Take care of yourself. You’re your own instrument.
What are your plans for after graduation?
Continue working in research for money, and work in theatre with those funds and flexible hours. I’d like to focus on creating and performing in self-written works.
What would you say to a new student or someone considering joining ITI?
Good luck. Keep an open mind.
Any special thanks?
To all my teachers — thank you for everything and for taking this chance on me. And to my batchmates — thank you for teaching me how to be an artist. I would never have broken through the shell of my old self if it weren’t for all of you.
Profile photo and ASYLUM production shot by Bernie Ng