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

Solos 2017

Solos 2017

Once on This Island

Once on This Island 

Costume Showcase 2017

Costume Showcase 2017 

Latest News

Keep up with Toi students, staff and grads

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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Term Two comes to a close

By | Featured, News | 2 Comments

And just like that – what seems like only moments since we left Manutuke and Marae Noho at the end of Term One – Term Two is also over.

It has been an extremely busy one for the school. Term Two holds two externally focused productions as well as several other major pieces of collaborative work that makes powerful demands on students and tutors alike.

Our two productions – The Antigone Sound and Black Confetti – closed on Wednesday night after heroic production processes and a great response from audiences, especially large groups from local schools.

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The first wānanga for Ruku Pō

By | News | No Comments

Ruku Pō is a leadership initiative that dives (ruku) into the potential of ‘subjective’ engagement, as an effective response to the chaotic, complex and as yet unknown (pō) ‘objective’ challenges of our time.

The Ruku Pō programme, divided into six wānanga, is based at Manutuke Marae and draws on the specific indigenous frames of the tangata whenua, Rongowhakaata, to explore marae approaches of ‘meeting’ including; formal orientation, reading the core of context of place, and aligning action while maintaining the deeply indigenous perspective of ‘wholeness’. The key is enabling difference to be met and revealing the potential of group. Participants are guided to lead and translate these approaches through testing in their own work contexts.
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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

Lisa Maule Senior Tutor – Production

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.