September 17, 2021

The Theatreview Trust 


“As an almost daily user of Theatreview, I am impressed by the professional way in which it is run. … There is no other organisation or publication that does this work for the theatre community. … I share the widely held enthusiasm among theatre audiences and practitioners that Theatreview makes an invaluable contribution to our community.”
David O’Donnell,
Professor, School of English, Film, Theatre, Media Studies, and Art History.
Victoria University of Wellington, Te Herenga Waka

Theatreview was created by John Smythe with web designer Emily Walker-Wright, and went live on 2 April 2006.


Theatreview’s mission is to constructively contribute reviews of New Zealand’s richly diverse professional performing arts productions nationwide, in order to:

  • evaluate and celebrate excellence in culturally diverse productions and performances
  • inform prospective audiences through timely reviews
  • provide informed feedback to practitioners
  • welcome audience and practitioner commentary, feedback and debate, and
  • build a comprehensive and readily searchable heritage archive that records and celebrates the diversity of professional performing arts practice in NZ.

This makes Theatreview New Zealand’s most comprehensive, inclusive and constructive performing arts review website. 

(Note: While Dance is reviewed nationwide, recent limits on funding have seen Theatre reviews of productions stage outside Wellington severely depleted. The Trustees are making every effort to resolve this situation so Theatreview can reinstate its nationwide coverage.)

The Theatreview Trust

The Theatreview Trust registered with the New Zealand Charities Commission on 5 January 2011: # CC45963.

As at November 2021 the Trustees are:

Dawn Sanders ONZN, QSM: Chair

Marjorie McKee: Treasurer

Bette Cosgrove: Trustee

Sally Thorburn: Trustee

John Smythe: Trustee

Lyne Pringle: Trustee

Overview is the only performing arts review site in New Zealand that has offered comprehensive nationwide coverage and an easy-to-access archive. As such it provides an essential service within New Zealand’s performing arts infrastructure, offering a critically responsive record of the quality, quantity, diversity and trends of current performance and production across the spectrum of the professional performing arts. (As of 2018, Theatreview has had to drop Auckland theatre from its coverage and visitors are referred to TheatreScenes for Auckland theatre reviews.)

Often Theatreview is the only publication to review the work of emerging artists, Fringe shows, return /developed seasons and successive seasons of touring productions. The site also posts links to other media reviews in order to broaden the ‘conversation’. Theatreview gives smaller regions a voice by commissioning reviews of local professional productions, touring productions and the performing arts components of ever-growing regional festivals. This offers fresh perspectives on shows from elsewhere and keeps all visitors to Theatreview informed about what is playing where and when.

Theatreview is often the only platform for reviews of dance, including well established companies such as Atamira Dance Company and works by emerging and established practitioners in the recent Kia Mau Festival and Auckland Pacific Dance Festival. In 2021 the Dance Editor has been actively co-opting a greater diversity of writing voices and establishing deeper relationships with the Maori and Pasifika artists and presenters.

Theatreview sustains a nationwide sense of community within the performing arts world, being the hub of performing arts critical discourse, a virtual meeting place for the performing arts community and the ‘go to’ place for people from diverse sectors seeking informed commentary on current and past productions. International seasons of New Zealand works are also reviewed wherever possible.

Because Theatreview’s objective is to accurately reflect professional performing arts practice from year to year, the statistics may fluctuate. What will continue to grow, however, is the heritage resource of reviews, commentary, news and debate. Theatreview is in constant use by practitioners, the general public, politicians and their advisers, teachers, students, researchers and a wide range of arts and creative industries organisations.

The Editorial Team

John Smythe: Founder and managing editor of  and its senior theatre critic, John Smythe is a Trustee of The Theatreview Trust. He has a Bachelor of Dramatic Arts from the National Institute of Dramatic Art and a certificate in screenwriting from the Australian Film Television and Radio School.

Starting in Gang Shows and David Tinkham’s Wellington Rep pantomimes, training in the Aro Valley with Nola Millar and her tutors, touring with the NZ Players Drama Quartet and participating in the early years of Downstage set John off on decades of wide-ranging professional experience as an actor, playwright, screen writer, tutor and theatre critic – in New Zealand, Australia then back in New Zealand.

He has served as a theatre critic for The Melbourne Times, The Australian, Theatre Australia Magazine – and, in New Zealand: the National Business Review and  He has been a contributor to Sean Plunket’s Newstalk ZB show, written a regular theatre column for FishHead Magazine and since 2015 has facilitated the supply of Theatreview critics to Radio NZ’s  Afternoons programme (later renamed Jesse Mulligan 1-4) .

John has served on the Board of Studies for Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School and as Vice President then President of the New Zealand Writers Guild (and before that as a Vice President of the Australian Writers Guild), serving on a range on industry boards, and attending (and helping to host) a number of International Affiliation of Writers Guilds meetings in the process. He also served twice on the international jury for the Banff Television Festival.

John’s most recent stage play, Where There’s a Will, was produced at BATS Theatre in April 2015. His non-fiction book titles include Downstage Upfront: the first 40 years of NewZealand’s longest running professional theatre (Victoria University Press, 2004) and The Plays of Bruce Masona survey (VUP & Playmarket, 2015).

Lyne Pringle is Theatreview’s dance editor New Zealand-wide. She works from her home office (which she provides to Theatreview free of charge). Lyne began reviewing dance for Theatreview in 2007 and stepped into the Dance Editor role when Raewyn Whyte retired. Since 2019 she has also been the dance reviewer for the Dominion Post.

Over 42 years as a dance/theatre artist in New Zealand, Australia and New York Lyne has gained a rich understanding of the needs and challenges of the sector. She has worked with many of the leading dance artists in Aotearoa, has received numerous awards and is deeply committed to the development of New Zealand performing arts.

Lyne now concentrates on supporting the wider sector, writing and social/eco activism. As well as writing for other publications, she teaches dance studies at the New Zealand School of Dance, is an oral historian for the New Zealand Dance Archive and a member of the Artistic Advisory Panel for Footnote New Zealand Dance.

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