July 1, 2023
NEW ZEALAND’S OLDEST UNIVERSITY THEATRE PROGRAMME UNDER THREAT
Due to the current financial crisis in the tertiary education sector in Aotearoa/New Zealand, the university where I teach Theatre is proposing to cut 230 jobs.
The cuts are far-reaching and affect languages, music, secondary teaching, geophysics and many other subjects. The proposal includes cutting more than half of the theatre academic staff and one technician. This would make it impossible to deliver the programme as it currently stands and undo over 50 years of hard work building a full theatre programme. It is also proposed that theatre will no longer be a stand-alone programme and will be merged with English Literature. My colleague James Wenley has written an article putting the cuts at our university in the context of wider challenges affecting performing arts education in Aotearoa.
Thinking about what would be lost if these cuts proceed has led me to attempt a brief history of our Theatre Programme. As a graduate and a staff member here for nearly 25 years, I’ve witnessed first-hand the massive contribution this programme has made to the arts in Wellington, in Aotearoa and beyond. [More]