Summer Shakespeare first began in 1963 when Professor Sidney Musgrove and the Auckland University student drama got together to produce the very first Outdoor Summer Shakespeare, Hamlet, thus beginning a legacy that has lasted for 52 years. In 1967, the Auckland University Students’ Association took on a funding and logistical role to ensure that the shows could continue following a troubled year in 1966, a relationship that has remained strong ever since. Summer Shakespeare continued on a nearly-yearly basis, creating opportunities for students and young actors and directors to make their start.

The full list of productions, including photos and details, can be found on our Facebook page.

From 2000 Summer Shakespeares started to become less frequent – significant changes to the students’ association meant that there were less resources available to put shows on, and the production was more vulnerable to the effects bad seasons. It was decided in 2010 to establish a new full time guardian of Summer Shakespeare, attached to the students’ association but not reliant on them, and staffed by a number of experts who would work towards long term sustainability. In 2011 the AUSA Outdoor Shakespeare Trust was incorporated and set about putting in place a plan to be self-sustainable and inoculating Summer Shakespeare from its vulnerabilities.

The AUSA Outdoor Shakespeare Trust is a registered charity, whose sole beneficiary is the Auckland University Students’ Association. Its aim is to:

  • Promote the education of students and members of the community in the works of Shakespeare
  • Make the works of Shakespeare alive and relevant
  • Stage performances of Shakespeare’s works
  • Promote and further the education of students of literature and drama by providing them a means of participating in theatre

The Trust board currently consists of:





Michael Hurst
Since 2011 (founding member)
Chair of the Board






Professor Tom Bishop
Department of English, University of Auckland
Since 2011 (founding member)








Sam Durbin
Since 2011 (founding member)
Trust Secretary







Dr. Norman Wong
Associate Professor, Department of Accounting and Finance, University of Auckland
Since 2012


Rachel Burnett
2016 Student Representative


Anoushka Maharaj
2016 Student Representative