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
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.
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. The last two years it's been on a bit of a hiatus, but with a bit of luck it might be coming back for another 15-year run.
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. Previously it has been every Tuesday evening.
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.
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).
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, as this is currently a gravel lot following the 2011 earthquake, the society currently performs at Bentley's Bar and the Jack Mann Auditorium, depending on the size of the production. DramaSoc will return to the Ngaio Marsh Theatre in 2019 when its reconstruction is complete.
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.
James Hight Building
PO Box 31311
Jack Mann Auditorium
The Jack Mann Auditorium is currently where we stage most of our major productions.
Jack Mann Auditorium
53 Solway Ave