Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School



New Zealand’s most innovative leadership programme



The most successful acting course in New Zealand for almost 50 years



The only stage and screen design degree in New Zealand



A broad foundation for a fulfilling career



The only course in New Zealand specialising in costume construction for stage and screen

I ref­er­ence my train­ing at Toi con­stantly. The act­ing course gave me con­fid­ence, tech­nique and stam­ina that have served me on every set and in every rehearsal or audi­tion room I have walked into.

Brooke WilliamsOutrageous Fortune, Spartacus, The Almighty Johnsons, The Shannara Chronicles

Study at Toi Whakaari

New Zealand’s leading specialist tertiary education provider for the performing arts





What’s On

Events, productions, tours and workshops

2018 Costume Workshop

2018 Costume Workshop

2018 Screen Acting Workshop

2018 Screen Acting Workshop

2018 Devising Masterclass

2018 Devising Masterclass

2018 Set & Props Workshop: Raygun Challenge

2018 Set & Props Workshop: Raygun Challenge

2018 Summer Intensive

2018 Summer Intensive

Latest News

Keep up with Toi students, staff and grads

Erik Thomson (centre), Cian Elyse White (right) and Anna Julienne (left), celebrate 800 Words' success at the NZ TV Awards.

Grads in the News

By | News | No Comments

The year is almost over and, while we have celebrated the achievements of this year’s graduates already, our alumni continue to shine in their high-profile careers. In recent weeks, it seems you can hardly go for a day listening to RNZ without hearing from a Toi Whakaari graduate and newspapers, websites and awards ceremonies have been full of them too.

Let’s start with the Wellingtonian of the Year awards, announced this week at Te Papa. Two Toi Whakaari graduates were nominated in the Arts category with 1990 Acting grad Hone Kouka taking out the top honour pipping 1984 Acting grad Miranda Harcourt at the post. Hone was nominated for leading the Kia Mau Festival of Māori, Pasifika, International Indigenous Dance and Theatre.

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Text Lab

By | Acting, Costume, News | No Comments
In Term 3, our first year actors collaborate with first year costumiers on a project we call “Text Lab”. Scenes from Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie are worked on with the direction of Director of Actor Training, Heather Timms, and Toi Acting and MTA graduate Erina Daniels.

The actors learn about building character and developing an approach to working with a classic text. A key question for them is, ‘How do I approach a text for performance when the world and words are not my own?’

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Hashtag Toi Grads Work

By | News | 2 Comments

There is so much graduate activity to celebrate this term: great productions on all over New Zealand. (We hope we don’t accidentally miss anyone out.)

Firstly to Dunedin where the Fortune Theatre Company presents Sondheim’s Into the Woods: Bryony Skillington (2007) as the Witch – “stupendous performance… one of NZ’s most spell-binding actors”; Frith Horan (2013) as Grannie – “delicious”; Josh Cramond (2015) as the Wolf – “but it is as a hilariously goofy Cow that he is really irresistible”; Julie Edwards (1989) is Jack’s mum – “one of the most engaging stage personalities you will ever see” and Peter Hayden (1973) “of the velvet voice”.

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Contact Us

Addresses, phone numbers, email and a map


Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School
Te Whaea: National Dance and Drama Centre
11 Hutchison Road
Wellington 6021
New Zealand


General Enquiries


+64 4 381 9251


Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School
PO Box 7146
Wellington South 6242
New Zealand

Key staff list

Christian Penny Director

Heather Timms Director of Actor Training

Emma Ransley Head of Design
ddi: +64 4 381 9244

Kaarin Macaulay Head of Costume
ddi: +64 4 381 9247

Kris Wehipeihana Nola Millar Library Manager
ddi: +64 4 381 9218

Dan Slevin Marketing & Communications Manager
ddi: +64 4 381 9238
mob: +64 21 442 989

Craig Atkins School Registrar
ddi: +64 4 381 9211

For application & student enquiries, please email apply@toiwhakaari.ac.nz

For visits and workshop enquiries, please contact workshops@toiwhakaari.ac.nz

Venue Hire

Te Whaea: National Dance & Drama Centre (home of Toi Whakaari) is hugely exciting and alive, with high, cathedral-like ceilings. You are entering one of the best performance training facilities in New Zealand.

Toi Whakaari shares Te Whaea with the New Zealand School of Dance and the building is purpose built as a centre for teaching performing arts. Large and modern, with state of the art facilities, Te Whaea is located in Newtown on part of Wellington's 'green belt' nature reserve, five minutes drive from the heart of the city and has ample parking.

Te Whaea was previously the Winter Show Buildings in Newtown Wellington.

Space is occasionally available for hire when not in use by the Schools. Click here for information on spaces and costs.

To enquire about venue bookings please contact reception@tewhaea.org.nz.