• The New Zealand Theatre Federation (NZTF) was founded in 1970.
  • It adopted Theatre New Zealand as its Brand Name in 2016 and constitutionally in 2018.
  • 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.
  • Theatre New Zealand (TNZ) represents non-professional/community theatre societies throughout Aotearoa.


  • To promote Theatre in 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 mentor and provide workshops, train and up-skill all diverse practitioners.
  • To act as the synthesis of the Arts, in all aspects of design and performance.


Theatre New Zealand currently represents:

  • 52 Societies from Northland to Southland
  • 20 Secondary Schools across the nation
  • 18 Individual Members.
  • 9 Life Members.


  • Theatre New Zealand works in association with Playmarket Wellington, in developing and promoting New Zealand plays.
  • TNZ has preserved many historical New Zealand scripts in the May Ives Library, currently housed and curated at Playmarket.
  • It also ensures the collection of playwright's royalties from stage productions.


  • Theatre New Zealand hosts an annual Festival of Theatre, TheatreFest (informally known as the One-Act Play Festival) progressing through Local, Regional and National levels.
  • TheatreFest presents many awards recognizing excellence in Directing, Acting, Technical and Design accomplishments.
    It acknowledges and awards Emerging Talent.
  • TheatreFest receives entries from both Youth and Adult Teams.
  • There are no cultural, literary or content boundaries.
  • It engages professional Adjudicators from ANZDA who give feedback and critique, to help improve the skills and knowledge-base of all participants.
  • Theatre New Zealand hosted an International Youth Theatre Festival in Christchurch, as part of our 1990 Sesquicentennial Celebrations. 18 National and 8 International groups performed and shared in workshops.
  • 2020 will celebrate both the 50th Anniversary of Theatre New Zealand and the 80th Anniversary of the One-Act Play festival system.


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