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Auckland University Student Association Outdoor Shakespeare Trust records

Identifier: MSS-Archives-2022/13

Scope and Contents

Material relating to the production of outdoor Summer Shakespeare performances at the University of Auckland including, production proposals, publicity material, cast applications, financial records and post production reports.


  • 1963-2016
  • Majority of material found within 2004 - 2014

Conditions Governing Access

Not restricted

Biographical / Historical

Although the performance of Shakespeare's plays at the University of Auckland began as far back as the 1930s, the first presentation of plays by William Shakespeare by the Outdoor Shakespeare Trust began in 1963, with Hamlet: King of Denmark, directed by Sydney Musgrove. The Trust continued to stage performances annually (although with a couple of gaps) until the last play was performed in 2018. In addition to working annually with established and upcoming directors, the performances also became a training ground for many young actors through its 55-year history.

There have been 46 successful productions of Shakespeare’s 38 plays staged by the Trust. Most of these alfresco performances have been held on the grassed areas adjacent to the Clock Tower with the building’s gothic arches and balconies making up part of the set. The final play staged by the Trust was The Changeling (written by Thomas Middleton and William Rowley) directed by Michael Hurst in 2018. The folding of the Trust was an unexpected consequence of the creation of the Pop-up Globe, a replica of Shakespeare's second Globe theatre in 2016. The establishment of the pop-up Globe, drew audiences away from the Trust's outdoor performances, and saw the end of the summer Shakespeare at the University of Auckland.


1.0 metres (2 x type-1 boxes, an A3 outsize box, A3 folder and a folder of posters. )

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Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection donated on behalf of the Outdoor Summber Shakespeare Trust by Professor Tom Bishop, Faculty of Arts, English and Drama, University of Auckland.

Related Materials

MSS and Archives 2013/7:Sydney Musgrove papers on Auckland theatre activities; MSS and Archives 2008/11:Theatre Workshop records; MSS and Archives 2009/4: Alan Brunton and Sally Rodwell papers. Items 2/58/1-3 relate to 1992 Summer Shakespeare production of Romeo and Juliet; MSS and Archives 97/5 University of Auckland historical collection – item 6/1/4/1g – photographs Summer Shakespeare

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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections, University of Auckland Repository

5 Alfred Street
Private Bag 92019
Auckland 1142 New Zealand