The University of Canterbury Drama Society Incorporated

DramaSoc has been stirring up drama in the University of Canterbury community since 1921.


We've been stirring up drama at The University of Canterbury since 1921

We're a student society, that doubles as a theatre company, with almost 100 years of experience running shows, festivals, and general hi-jinks. We aim to produce quality shows, promote a safe space to give theatre a go, and support drama and performing arts in the wider Christchurch community.



Shows and Events

We always try to provide fresh and exciting events that get as many members involved as possible. That does mean that we don't always know what we're going to be doing in the coming year.

To give you an idea of what we do, here's a breakdown of some events we've done in the past.

Major Productions

We try to consistently produce slick and fresh shows that promote inclusivity and provide high-quality drama to the Christchurch community. We try to do diverse and contrasting plays, so we're not just doing the usual song and dance.

Some of our recent plays include The Lazarus Lottery, an original psychological drama about cloning; The Canterbury Tales, a comedic romp through English folktales; and And Then There Were None, a 1920's murder-mystery; so who knows what we're going to do next?

We aim to do at least 1 major production a year, usually in the first term. Some years we have done a second major production somewhere in the 2nd semester.



A Day 2 Play

Teams get 24 hours to write, rehearse, and prepare a 10 minute play before performing it in front of a live audience.

This has been an annual event (with some exceptions) for longer than we can remember. All we know is that we love it so much we're turning it bi...annual.



3 plays, 3 nights, 3 dollars; the sexiest way to promote community theatre. 3SOME brings together original scripts, aspiring directors, and a frantic production schedule to make 3 nights of the best grassroots theatre in at least a 50 metre radius.

This has been a classic yearly event since the start of the millennium. It's been on a bit of a hiatus since 2015, but this year it's coming back with a bang.

Weekly Groups

The alternation of production hell and absolutely nothing can be a bit stress inducing, so we've been trying to make something a bit more consistent.

Currently we have an improv group called Say What? running, with the main emphasis being on a give-it-a-go attitude. Say What? currently runs on a Tuesday evening in The Living Room


Realistically tacky
— Tim Morgan (on Moonfleece)
I was confronted by an emotional, provocative performance by a group of extremely capable actors.
— Karen Hallsworth (on Moonfleece)
Excellent production, masterfully done!
— Jamil Guliyev (on And Then There Were None)
Loved the show
— Claire Stanley (on The Canterbury Tales)
[The Canterbury Tales] was the best production I’ve seen in years. Hilarious. Incredibly talented and funny cast. Better than some long running off-broadway productions in NYC.
— James Parfitt



The Canterbury College Drama Society was founded in 1921 under the leadership of Sir James Shelley. The club then rapidly rose to prominence, enjoying multiple decades as one of New Zealand's leading performing arts societies.

Sir James Shelley in Black Friday
Shelley is the figure kneeling centre.

[Macmillan Brown Library, Ref.: MB1985, Item: 79483]

The most notable of these golden years was the 1942-69 era during which the society was lead by Dame Ngaio Marsh. In this time, the society produced multiple critically-acclaimed shows, particularly those of Shakespeare. The society also completed both a New Zealand tour (Othello & Hamlet, 1944-45) and an Australian tour (Othello & Six Characters in Search of an Author, 1949).

Dame Ngaio Marsh Directing Hamlet
Performed at the Civic Theatre (11 July 1958)

[Christchurch City Libraries: CCL PhotoCD 17, IMG0039]

The club was wound-up in 1990 due to financial reasons, but was revived in 1993 by an ad-hoc committee. The society has then been in full operation since 1994.

In 1933, The Canterbury College Drama Society became The Canterbury University College Drama Society. Then in 1961 it became The University of Canterbury Drama Society. Finally, in 2002 the society became The University of Canterbury Drama Society Incorporated. Throughout all this time the society has alternately been referred to as DRAMASOC, Dramasoc, and DramaSoc.

DramaSoc's traditional home is the Ngaio Marsh Theatre in the UCSA building. However, following the tragic 2011 Christchurch Earthquake and the subsequent destruction of the UCSA building in which the theatre was homed, DramaSoc now performs in both the Jack Mann Auditorium and Bentley's Bar. DramaSoc will return to the Ngaio Marsh when the theatre's reconstruction is completed in 2019.




DramaSoc is an Incorporated Society with the NZ Companies Office.

DramaSoc is registered as a charity with the NZ Charities Services.

The University of Canterbury Students' Association (UCSA) is our official affiliate.

The University of Canterbury Musical Theatre Society (MUSOC) is our unofficial sister society.






Our affiliate, the UCSA, acts as our physical address and receives our mail.

c/o UCSA

Room 123
James Hight Building
University Dr.
Christchurch 8041

c/o UCSA

PO Box 31311
Christchurch 8444

Jack Mann Auditorium


The Jack Mann Auditorium is currently where we stage most of our major productions.


Jack Mann Auditorium
53 Solway Ave
Christchurch 8041

© Copyright The University of Canterbury Drama Society Incorporated