About us

Theatreview™ (https://www.theatreview.org.nz) is operated by The Theatreview Trust.  NZ Charities Commission Reg. No. CC45963.

our purpose

To create and publish on-line reviews and archival records of professional performing arts.

The mission is to review the richly diverse array of professional performing arts throughout New Zealand, as constructive contribution to:

  • the public in communities throughout Aotearoa New Zealand for whom the work is made and on whose behalf the critics write;
  • the practitioners who create publicly available shows and need to see what they make reflected, in order to contribute to their professional development;
  • the ongoing conversation of which reviews, comments and discussions are part; and
  • the historical record of performing arts practice in Aotearoa New Zealand – a wide-ranging, globally accessible and readily searchable on-line archive of the people, visions and places of those productions, and of those reviews and discussions.

our process

Productions are identified and, when a production requests it, a review is commissioned.  The reviews are then published and, with production details and any subsequent discussion round the review, archived on the website.

the people

the patrons: Taiaroa Royal | Dawn Sanders ONZM, QSM

the Trustees: voluntary professionals from various areas of the performing arts sector, who look after the governance and overall administration.  All of the Trustees share their time with other professional commitments. As at 2 May 2024, they are:

Bette Cosgrove, Chair    (English teacher, former performing arts administrator)
Marjorie McKee       (actor, finance and graphics contractor)
John Smythe                   (writer, actor, playwright, theatre critic)             

Dan Slevin, treasurer     (freelance writer, adviser on strategic planning, project manager)
Mitchell Manuel             (actor, writer, digital graphic and textile designer)

Brigitte Knight                 (dance tutor, artistic director, critic, ​freelance adjudicator and choreographer)

Iosefa Enari, MNZM       (dancer, choreographer, artistic director and educator)

the editorial team: arts professionals, who commission, edit and publish the reviews. Both share their time with other professional commitments

Managing Editor and Editor (Theatre): John Smythe, founder, Theatreview’s senior theatre critic and a Trustee

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 Aotearoa 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 theatreview.org.nz.  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 New Zealand’s longest running professional theatre (Victoria University Press, 2004) and The Plays of Bruce Mason – a survey (VUP & Playmarket, 2015).

Header text

Editor (Dance): Lyne Pringle, Theatreview’s senior dance critic

Over 42 years as a dance/theatre artist in Aotearoa 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.

She began reviewing dance for Theatreview in 2007 and stepped into the Editor (Dance) role when Raewyn Whyte retired in 2021. Since 2019 she has also been a dance reviewer for The Post.

the IT consultant, who troubleshoots: Sascha Monteiro (PureJS), an experienced engineer and developer.  His skills include JavaScript, Java, PL/SQL, Servlet, JSP, PHP, HTML, CSS, SOAP, REST Linux, Oracle, Apex, Tomcat, VMWare, MySQL.

the associate editors: other arts professionals in the field, recruited by the editors as needed.
Associate Editor – Auckland Theatre: Lexie Matheson
Associate Editor – Dunedin Theatre: Lisa Warrington
Associate Editor – Christchurch Theatre: Julie McCloy

the reviewers: the editors recruit and support teams of voluntary reviewers nationwide, who have practical experience in the performing arts, have insight into relevant cultures, genres, generations, affiliations, identities and sexual orientation, and who –

  • love the performing arts and understand what contributes (or otherwise) to quality and effectiveness;
  • have open minds yet are not afraid to ‘call it as they see and feel it’;
  • are appropriately assigned according to their genre expertise, cultural and gender identification, sexual preference and age demographic (especially when this is requested by producers); and
  • can express themselves well in writing.

more about us

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

It carries reviews of professional theatre and dance performance throughout Aotearoa New Zealand, together with the visions, people and graphics of the productions, and news and discussions. 

Genres reviewed include mainstream, classical, niche, circus, hiphop, children’s, opera, puppetry, festival works, youth, contemporary and populist, and cutting-edge, co-op and experimental.  Reviewing also includes productions of full-time dance and drama schools, and major youth productions to honour coming talent.

The editorial team is paid nominally for their work as we secure funding.  Associate Editors volunteer in some regions to keep our services available while funding is restricted.

Between 80 and 120 reviewers across Aotearoa New Zealand volunteer their time and skills, without payment other than receiving two complimentary tickets to the production they are reviewing.  Financial payment to reviewers is an aspirational aim but requires sustained funding to support it.

Theatreview is often the only publication to review the work of emerging artists, Fringe shows, performance in the regions, return seasons by established artists and touring productions.  It is often also the only platform for reviews of dance, including from well established companies and of works not just by emerging but also by established practitioners.

In 2023 Theatreview was gifted the reo name of Te Whare Tapere Tirohange Hou. This was an honour, for which there is enormous gratitude to Rakauoteora Te Maipi QSM, known as Koro Don (Tuhoe, Te Aitanga a Mahaki, Te Arawa), and to Sally Thorburn the Trustee who steered the final stages of the long process through with sensitivity and dedicated care. See here for a fuller context to the name.

Theatreview is funded solely by grants and donations.

the finance and other figures

See the Charities Services reports CC45963

some brief overviews

Theatreview for 2019

Theatreview in brief in 2017

Theatreview for 2017