September 17, 2010

8-9 October 2010  


A reunion of Drama Studies graduates from 1970 to 1990 will be held on October 8-9 2010 at Victoria University of Wellington, on the occasion of the Theatre and Film Programme’s 40th birthday. This is the first occasion such a reunion has been held, Phil, David and Russell will be there and we are looking for as many of our alumni to be there too.

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Will this be the week that David O’Donnell, popular Victoria University lecturer and theatre director, beats off the competition to win “Academic Idol”, run by Victoria University’s student magazine Salient

Students and Alumni of the University’s Theatre and Film Programme hope so. 

“It would be another great way to mark our 40th Birthday year,” says Margaret Belich, Project Manager, Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty Office and a Drama Studies alumna. “David is not only teaching in the programme, he’s also a graduate of it”.

On the weekend of 8-9 October, Victoria University Drama Studies graduates from 1970 to 1990 will celebrate the achievements of the students from those years, many of whom have risen to prominent positions in theatre, film and television, universities, teaching, radio, public service, and other fields.  

The occasion is 40 years of the Theatre and Film Programme at Victoria University of Wellington, the oldest course of its kind in New Zealand. Earlier this month the celebrations were kicked off with the Victoria University Theatre Programme 40th Anniversary Public Lecture: ‘A New Shakespeare Play? The Story of Cardenio’s Double Falsehood’, presented by Tiffany Stern, Professor of Early Modern Drama at Oxford University. 

Retired Professor Phil Mann, the course’s founding lecturer and retiring Professors David Carnegie and Associate Professor Russell Campbell, the other two permanent staff members during the Drama Studies period, will also be honoured during the weekend reunion.  

Margaret Belich says that for many years studying “Drama II” at Victoria was the entry point to one or two year’s fun making theatre and film, and a variety of fascinating scholarship. 

“The mix is the same today, only now you can get your doctorate. Other institutions in town – like Toi Whakari, Downstage, Radio New Zealand, BATS – are greatly supportive. They share history and of course, lots of Victoria’s graduates. My memory is of committed, inspired teachers, who told you to ‘get out and make a difference’. No surprise to me that David O’Donnell should be in to win ‘Academic Idol’.  

“The students of the first two decades – of Drama Studies – were remarkable” said Professor Carnegie. “Only after 1990 could you get a degree in Theatre and Film. Prior to that, students did the course entirely for interest and love.” 

The search for the programme’s graduates continues.

“We are trying to contact as many of the alumni as possible for the first reunion the programme has had. Phil (Mann) has promised to take one of his legendary classes,” says Ms Belich.

The event programme details are at: and registration at   

Or email

Jo Bean ph:  021 738 939
Margaret Belich: 021 667830
Professor David Carnegie ph:  04 463 6825  

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