Intercultural Theatre Institute


Intercultural Theatre Institute (ITI), formerly known as Theatre Training and Research Programme (TTRP), is an independent theatre school for contemporary artists. Founded in 2000 by Singapore’s acclaimed theatre practitioners and cultural thought leaders, Kuo Pao Kun (1939 - 2002) and T. Sasitharan, ITI is a unique enterprise in theatre training, human understanding and raising social and cultural awareness.

Who We Are

Intercultural Theatre Institute (ITI) is an independent theatre school for contemporary artists, conceived as a unique and unprecedented enterprise in theatre training, and raising social and cultural awareness.

It currently offers a three-year, practice-based, professional actor training programme founded on a rigorous, intercultural learning methodology with a view to producing original, contemporary theatre. The training encompasses exposure to a broad spectrum of cultures and languages, and immersion in traditional Asian theatre systems and contemporary theatre forms. Students are selected from among the best talents across Asia and beyond.

Through the espousal of intercultural theatre practice, ITI aims to train artists who are capable of working across cultural, linguistic, social and national boundaries, unleashing the immense potential of theatre to bring together, empower and ultimately harness the energies of diverse communities throughout the world.

ITI’s Acting Programme has attracted international recognition of the highest order, from well-known artists, respected educators and master teachers in the performing arts who have been part of the faculty, as well as academic and examination boards.

Through the years, the unparalleled training at ITI has produced exceptional, professional actors and directors or teachers who are in high demand in the performing arts, film and new media sectors.

To nurture the next generation of theatre artists, teachers and leaders with the hearts, minds and abilities to create art that embraces the values of cultural and social diversity, and celebrates humanity and life.

To nurture skill, technical competence, critical awareness, social engagement and artistic autonomy in theatre artists so that they are capable of contributing significantly to the theatre-making processes and cultures of their own communities.

All staff are expected to conduct themselves in line with the ideals of the organisation and with integrity, professionalism in their work, and openness to one another and to students, as well as to different aspects of theatre, arts and culture.

ITI is founded on the belief that theatre would have little meaning if it is not connected to life and society. Good theatre, like all good art, must have social impact. It must make a difference to life as it is lived by ordinary people. Through the espousal of intercultural theatre practice, ITI aims to train artists who are capable of working across cultural, linguistic, social and national boundaries, unleashing the immense potential of theatre to bring together, empower and ultimately harness the energies of diverse communities throughout the world.

The ITI Experience

“This is precious ... ITI is really one-of-a-kind. I don't think there is a programme like this, anywhere in the world."

– Yeo Yann Yann, winner of two Golden Horse Awards and International Emmy Award nominee; ITI alumna (2003)

Whether it is understanding the limits of your body or challenging your mind, finding a quiet moment to reflect or gearing up for a performance, creating your own work or making theatre with others — there is never a dull moment! A day in ITI is filled with diverse experiences in an intercultural setting.

  • Hone your acting and performance craft skills
  • Immersions in traditional Asian theatre systems
  • From rehearsal studio to main stage 


History & Milestones

ITI began as the Theatre Training & Research Programme (TTRP), founded in 2000 by renowned dramatist, Kuo Pao Kun (1939–2002), and the current Director, T. Sasitharan, after a period of research, reflection and preparatory work, including discussions with an international panel of consultants. TTRP was inspired by the unique experience of contemporary theatre in Singapore over four decades and, in particular, by Pao Kun’s artistic vision and multicultural practice.

Apr 2000

TTRP founded by Kuo Pao Kun and T. Sasitharan. Starts operations, as a division of arts charity Practice Performing Arts Centre Ltd (renamed The Theatre Practice Ltd in 2010), with seed funding from the Lee Foundation and Sim Wong Hoo. It was located at the Creative Technology building in International Business Park. Later, the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts also gave a grant for 2001 to 2003.

Dec 2003

Pioneering cohort of students graduate. Click here for our alumni.


TTRP moves downtown to 11 Upper Wilkie Road as anchor tenant and co-founds Emily Hill Enterprise Ltd, a prototype of a new model for the arts, together with four artists/organisations. Emily Hill is not just an arts venue and school campus, but also Singaporeʼs first confluence of art, creativity and commerce.

May 2008

As part of its research work, TTRP organised the inaugural Asian Intercultural Conference with the theme “Theatre Today: Seeking New Paradigms”. A landmark event, it was very well received and attended by leading theatre practitioners and academics from all over the world.

Jun 2008

Fourth cohort of students complete their training. 

July 2008

TTRP suspends teaching and training activity. The organisation sets out to work on reviewing all aspects of the first phase of its development and to map its next phase. 


TTRP continues to engage with the community, faculty and partners with overseas visits, public talks and events. Click here for our community outreach activities.

Jul 2010

TTRP accepts invitation to launch the Singapore School Project, in collaboration with Airan Berg, founder of the highly successful education project, “I Like to Move It Move It”, in Linz, Austria. 

Aug 2011

TTRP relaunched with new name, Intercultural Theatre Institute (ITI).

Oct 2012

Co-founder and Director T. Sasitharan receives Cultural Medallion award from the President of Singapore.

Dec 2013

ITI presents at Intercultural Actor Training Symposium in Berlin.

Nov 2014

ITI holds inaugural ITI Angels Initiative Dinner

ITI holds the second edition of the Asian Intercultural Conference in collaboration with the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay.

Apr 2015

ITI is named a recipient of the National Arts Council
Major Grant award.


Final-year students invited to perform at Singapore International
Festival of Arts (SIFA) and Singapore Writer’s Festival.


Director T. Sasitharan, together with members of ITI's academic board, Anuradha Kapur and Phillip Zarrilli, co-edited a special issue of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, published by Routledge (UK). 

Aug 2017

ITI launches the Möbius Fund, the first student revolving loan fund.

Nov 2017

ITI holds the third edition of the Asian Intercultural Conference in collaboration with the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay.


National Arts Council renewed its support for ITI through the Major Company Scheme Grant.


Director T. Sasitharan, Anuradha Kapur and Phillip Zarrilli co-edited Intercultural Acting and Performer Training, published by Routledge (UK). 


COVID-19 pandemic hits, ITI events went online