The Intercultural Theatre Institute (ITI) has just launched an all new loan fund for actor students! The Möbius Fund is a revolving loan fund that awards ITI students in need of financial aid with an interest-free loan that will cover up to 100% of their course fees.
Much like its name, the Möbius fund is cyclical in nature, where upon graduation, beneficiaries will begin paying back their loan and replenishing the fund capital in order to continue funding future students. ITI reports that almost 90% of each student cohort requires financial assistance for their training, and there are few bank loans or scholarships currently available to assist them.
Kicked off by four lead donors, namely Leonardo Drago (AL Wealth Partners), Pierre Lorinet (National Arts Council Board Member), Benson Puah (Esplanade CEO) and BinjaiTree (charitable organization), along with ITI alumni and anonymous donors, the Mobius Fund has raised a total of $250,000, and matched by the MCCY’s Cultural Matching Fund, has an initial capitalisation of $500,000 to fund its initial recipients, who receive funding based on a needs basis.
Mobius Fund recipient Wendy Zhuo was particularly happy about the launch of the fund. The first year student had just purchased a house and was worried about coping with paying for both that and the annual school fees. Prior to joining ITI, Wendy had to give up a theatre course as a 19-year old when she ran out of funds to support herself, instead joining the workforce to help support her family. But her desire to return to theatre training came back in full force upon involving herself with playback theatre some years ago, and ITI became her answer.
As well as being a recipient of the Mobius Fund, Wendy is also a recipient of the ITI scholarship, which covers up to 80% of her school fees. The Mobius Fund would then cover the remaining outstanding amount, assuring Wendy of having a worry-free education at ITI and allowing her to excel and develop. Wendy mentions she is interested in pursuing a career in physical theatre after she graduates.
When asked about whether she was worried if she’d be able to pay back the amount in the years following graduation, Wendy replied “There’s no pressure to pay back immediately after graduating, it’s not like they’ll be like ghosts haunting me for the money. But because of how supportive ITI has been, they feel like a family to me, and I’d be more than happy to contribute back to the fund once I’m done with my studies.”
Even with the initial capital, the Möbius Fund still has a way to go, with their next phase seeking the support of the public and corporate partners to raise a further $300,000 for the fund. As an approved IPC, donations to ITI are also eligible for 250% tax exemption; and dollar-for-dollar matching by the Singapore government’s Cultural Matching Fund.
With such a strong programme in place, ITI is paving the way forward in making drama education more affordable and manageable. We wish Wendy and the other students at ITI all the best in their theatre training, and can’t wait to see the amazing things they go on to achieve in future with ITI’s impressive, truly unique intercultural and multifaceted training programme.
ITI will also be showcasing a new work based off Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment from 7th – 9th September entitled Leakages and Anticoagulants. Tickets available via Peatix