• The New Zealand Theatre Federation was founded in 1970.
  • The Federation represents non-professional/community theatre societies throughout New Zealand.
  • It became the successor to both the British Drama League (est. 1932) and the NZ Drama Council (est. 1945) as the one National Body to provide advice, services, support and training, at all levels.
  • In 2013 it adopted Theatre New Zealand as its Brand Name


  • To promote Theatre in Aotearoa-New Zealand.
  • To advance the writing and performance of New Zealand Theatre.
  • To foster and support the appreciation and study of Theatre.
  • To inspire high standards in all aspects of Theatre.
  • To encourage and provide workshops, to train and up-skill all practitioners.
  • To act as the synthesis of the Arts, in design and performance.


Theatre New Zealand currently represents:
  • 71 Societies from Northland to Southland
  • 19 Secondary Schools across the nation
  • 23 Individual Members
  • 13 Life Members


  • Theatre New Zealand works in association with PlayMarket, Wellington, in promoting and developing New Zealand plays.
  • It preserves many older New Zealand scripts in the May Ives Library, held at PlayMarket.


  • Theatre New Zealand hosts an annual festival of theatre at local, regional and national levels.
  • The Festival presents many awards recognizing excellence in Directing, Acting, Technical and Design accomplishments.
  • It acknowledges and awards Emerging Talent.
  • It receives entries from both Youth and Adult Teams.
  • There are no cultural or literary boundaries.
  • It engages professional Adjudicators from ANZDA who give feedback, to help improve the skills and knowledge-base of all participants.
  • 2010 was the Seventieth Anniversary of the Festival system.
  • Theatre New Zealand hosted an International Youth Theatre Festival in Christchurch (on behalf of IATA), as part of our 1990 Sesquicentennial Celebrations. 18 National and 8 International teams participated.


  • Theatre New Zealand is accessible on-line for information, administrative and artistic support, including workshops in all aspects of theatre.