In the performing arts every production has a different working model; this requires managers to be adaptable, flexible and skilled at leading teams through a creative process. Understanding all aspects of the craft and being able to empower people to work to their strengths is key.

Toi Whakaari challenged me and gave me the space to develop the skills I would need to form a career in the industry. Toi has a unique position where it is a learning institute and is part of the industry. It gave me the platform to enter the industry as a practitioner.

Alexander Borgers (Management Graduate 2013)Travel and Accommodation Coördinator – Pork Pie (Four Knights Films), Post-production Assistant — The Dark Horse (Four Knights Films), Production Coördinator — Everything We Loved (Four Knights Films), Assistant Stage Manager — BBC Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular (New Zealand Festival)

I found the people and environment at Toi Whakaari made this course a dynamic and holistic
learning experience. It combines a practical approach with inter-disciplinary learning and has a
strong connection to the industry, which put me on the path to a sustainable career in the performing arts and events industries.

Tim Nuttall (Management Graduate 2011)Producer – Vanilla Miraka (two awards in Wellington Theatre Awards 2016), Producer and Tour Manager — Miss Fletcher Sings the Blues (Cuba Creative), Event Manager — Seven Days of Sevens Festival (Wellington City Council), Freelance Stage Manager (Court, Fortune, Downstage)


Toi’s Bachelor of Performing Arts (Management) programme covers management practice in production areas of events, live performance and screen. It is about active integrated management. Performing arts managers are the leaders of teams and the initiators of process.

The three year programme was instituted in 2004 and was the first of its kind in New Zealand. Our graduates are innovators and leaders of performance practice in New Zealand and internationally. They are collaborative practitioners with developed interpersonal skills who can adapt to a variety of contexts and transfer their practice across sectors of the performing arts and creative industries.

The learning in the programme covers management contexts including stage and production management, producing, marketing, fundraising and sponsorship, events and technical management. We are looking for ambitious people who can see opportunities to contribute to the performing arts sector.

A foundation understanding of practical and technical skills builds to creative management and leadership in interdisciplinary arts environments. We offer this as applied, experiential learning. Students test and practice their skills on productions and in workshops. Personal working practice is developed, and individual interests are encouraged and expanded. Frequent interactions with industry specialists and professional directors bring expertise to the learning environment.

The goal-focused collaborative environment of performing arts at Toi Whakaari ensures that graduates can build working relationships, collaborate, think critically and manage complex processes. The Bachelor of Performing Arts (Management) programme trains emerging creative leaders and proactive managers.


The first year of the course focuses on the principles of management and leadership through key areas of theatre production. You will be trained in a diverse range of technical skills and health and safety practices alongside experiencing a range of equipment and performance venues. You gain familiarity with creative and technical production processes and work alongside other students on Toi Whakaari productions. Collaboration skills are developed throughout the year and you will work on projects with students from other disciplines.


Management learning is deepened and broadened with exposure across performing arts genres (music, screen, theatre, dance, events) and principles of management and leadership are expanded. Production practice on Toi Whakaari shows offers responsibility within mentored learning. You will be examining what your management and leadership approaches are through applied and reflective practices including internship (industry placement).

Toi Whakaari gives its graduates a strong foundation to enter the industry at industry level. Having secondment as such a big part of the course work means that students get hands on work experience and can network with future colleagues. Having a broad tertiary platform means that I always feel con dent in undertaking any challenge that my career throws at me.

Jade Bosman (Management Graduate 2010)Event Coördinator (Auckland Live), Events Coördinator (University of Auckland), Show Producer — Coca Cola Christmas in the Park, Freelance Stage Manager (Auckland Theatre Company)


In year three, research will see you test your professional and leadership abilities. Management understanding deepens across areas. You will be developing skills in planning, organising, budgeting, and working with people. You will be shaping your focus area through independent study. On production practice you will be leading process on a multi-discipline project, where you apply skills learnt in the course. Internship allows you to explore industry practice and make connections.

Practically testing the classroom learning was really valuable for me — not every institution gives
you that opportunity. Management in the arts isn’t something you learn in lectures, you have to
find your way on the floor. You have to take what you’ve learned and develop your own path.

Nicola Smith (Management Graduate 2012)Venue Manager – Turner Centre (Kerikeri), Assistant Stage Manager – Giselle (Royal New Zealand Ballet), Assistant Stage Manager – Hairspray (Wellington Musical Theatre); Recipient of the 2012 Bill Guest Award.


Term One, Week Zero

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On the first day we started with a welcome in the morning for our returning students, then an audience discussion with the makers of a Fringe show after lunch. The conversation of the day has been about process, connection and working practice.

The returning students and staff reconnect after some time apart over summer. We all prepare for the year ahead by thinking about what tone or flavour we as a collective group want to show during week one, when we are joined by 45 new students.  We are thinking about the working culture and what we individually and collectively can build.

Next week starts with a pōwhiri for our new students. In the arts management department, the work it takes for people to work to their best is at the core of many of the principles. We will be thinking and seeing and testing how this welcome works to orientate the new students to us. It is also a read out of where we are at as a wider school group, and the work ahead.

First day selfie – Lisa Maule