• Theatre Archives NZ has created a National Register of New Zealand theatre collections held by theatre organisations, individuals, companies, venues, libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies. It can be found on our database page. This lists more than 400 New Zealand theatre collections and provides information on where they are held and how they can be accessed. You can contact us for more information here
  • Contribute to this database by completing our Survey of NZ theatre records.

Researchers interested in theatre archives may also find these online resources useful:

Database updates
We thank all those who contributed to our database. If you have any theatre or drama records that could be added to it, please contact Theatre Archives NZ (Contact us) or if you do not already have an entry in our database, please complete the Theatre Archives New Zealand survey here.

Please let us know if you require help.

'The End of the Golden Weather' by Bruce Mason, Downstage Theatre, 1990. Theresa Healey and Cliff Curtis. Photo: Peter Dinnan

'Tu' by Hone Kouka, Tawata Productions, 2013, Tina Cook, Matariki Whatarau, Taungaroa Emile, Kura Forrester, Carlos Drinkwater, Tola Newbery. Photo: Aneta Pond

Since 2003 we have been engaged in a programme of interviews to provide an oral archive of the emergence of professional theatre in New Zealand from the 1950s. 

Oral Histories at the Alexander Turnbull Library:
Link to Interviews from 2003-2019

These are a transcribed series of three-hour interviews, all with basic indexing that includes name/keyword searching, that are held by the Turnbull Library.

Current list:

  • Bernard Esquilant and William MenloveFounders of the Southern Comedy Players, Dunedin
  • Yvette BromleyCo-founder of The Court Theatre, Christchurch 


  • Raymond BoyceProfessional designer, working in theatre, opera, & ballet
  • Ralph McAllister. Teacher of drama; Director


  • Patric CareyFounder of the Globe Theatre, Dunedin


  • Paul Minifie. Actor; Director
  • Raymond HawthorneFounder of Theatre Corporate, Auckland; Actor; Director
  • Ian MuneActor; Director; Film maker; Writer; Teacher


  • George Henare. Actor
  • Martyn SandersonActor; Director; Founder of Downstage Theatre


  • Bill Sheat (OBE). Lawyer; Council Member on Drama Panel of the Arts Council; Inaugural Chairman of the Board of Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School; Inaugural Chairman of the Film Commission; Chairman of the Royal Ballet
  • Roger Hall. Playwright; Teacher


  • Pat Hawthorne. Original staff member of Downstage Theatre. Former board member of Playmarket and Theatre Archives New Zealand


  • Ray Henwood. Actor; Co-founder of Circa Theatre
  • Renée. Playwright


  • Peter Vere-Jones. Actor; Writer
  • Elric Hooper (MBE). Artistic Director of The Court Theatre 1979-1999


  • Jennifer Ward-Lealand. Actor; Director; board member
  • Michael Hurst. Actor; director
  • ​Susan Wilson. Actor; Director
  • David Carnegie. Co-Founder of Fortune Theatre; Academic
  • Simon Prast. Co-Founder ATC; Actor; Director
  • Simon Bennett. Co-Founder BATS Theatre; Director

Caring for your Theatre Archives is a manual for people dealing with theatre archives, and is designed to be an easy-to-follow guide.

The manual covers all the basic steps of archives practice, including:

  • What are Theatre Records and Archives?
  • Theatre Archives Management
  • A Policy for Theatre Archives
  • Collecting Theatre Archives
  • To Keep or not to Keep
  • Depositing your Archives
  • Documenting Theatre Archives
  • Taking Control
  • Appraising Photographs
  • Preservation and Conservation
  • Using Theatre Archives
  • Digital archive management

As well as giving practical instruction on how to deal with archives, the manual includes Appendices that give useful examples, and information on how to obtain supplies.

While the manual is published to give assistance to theatre archivists and others responsible for or holding theatre archives, it will be useful to all people who care for archives of small organisations, and who do not have ready access to training or to outside expertise.

The manual is available from Playmarket. Download it here

'Awatea' by Bruce Mason, Downstage 1968, Inia Te Wiata. Photo: Terence Taylor

'Krishnan's Dairy' by Indian Ink. Jacob Rajan. Photo: Indian Ink Theatre Company.

Conservation Supplies
Victoria University of Wellington, School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies

National Library of New Zealand
Alexander Turnbull Library
Te Whaea National Dance and Drama Centre, Nola Millar Library
Hocken Library
The Film Archive
NZ On Screen
Play Bureau
Theatre New Zealand
Musical Theatre NZ
Theatre Aotearoa -- NZ Theatre Database

Auckland Theatre Company
Basement Theatre
BATS Theatre
Centrepoint Theatre
Circa Theatre
Silo Theatre
Tawata Productions
Taki Rua Productions
The Court Theatre

Scottish Theatre Archive
International Association of Libraries and Museums of the Performing Arts