About

Basement Theatre is a place where urgent and adventurous live performance made by independent artists is incubated and supported. We do this by proudly showcasing artist's work across two performance spaces - the Studio upstairs and the Theatre downstairs.

“Basement has changed the way theatre is made in this country”

NZ Herald, 2019

We believe that the theatre is a colonial construct with deep-rooted barriers across cultural, economic, physical, political, religious and gender-based contexts. We seek to remove these barriers from our space so that all people can enjoy it with dignity. We acknowledge that as an historically pākehā, cis and able-body led organisation, we can only achieve this by being critical of our privileges.

We are passionate about looking for ways to bring sustenance to our artists, but also to our staff, so that everyone can leave our space with their kete full of resources and their wellbeing nurtured. We provide a space for our communities to connect - giving opportunities for them to wildly be together and take part in a dynamic social exchange. We also carry out artist development programmes throughout the year that centre a ‘learning through doing’ approach, and have a cheap-as-chips rehearsal space, The Dojo, which is available to our artists for hire.

Tickets are cheap, as are the drinks at the bar, so grab your whānau, your friends, or a date, and come witness history in the making.

Urgent artistry
We occupy the underground and value the idea of pushing culture forward through urgent and adventurous independent artistry. We celebrate ‘genre-bending’ and enjoy the unpredictable revelations that come with eclectic, mixtape-style curatorship.


Wildly connecting
We value communities coming together in vibrant connection as being key to our sector’s resilience. We see warmth and generosity as powerful tools for social activism. We want our space to be an energy nexus and a portal for social exchange.


Abundance & Sustenance 
We believe that a well-resourced artist is a vital and impactful agent in society, and we want them to live abundant lives. We celebrate infrastructures that ensure live performance can be a financially viable practice. 


Radical groundedness
We believe an enriched organisational lifeforce starts with grounding into the locality of where we are, and taking the lead from mana whenua. We believe that the wellbeing of our communities depends on the wellbeing of our staff. We want to engage radically with the notion of respect; as a concept, as an action, and as a remedy.


Learning & curiosity
We are a place for artists to learn things, and see ourselves as learners too, always in collective pedagogy. We value the ‘invisible curriculums’ and subsidiary skills that fall out of the creative process. We appreciate knowledge that emerges from going into the unknown.

From when we opened the doors in 2008 the Basement has played host to over 850 productions and thousands of artists both onstage and off.

Every year, about 700 artists grace our stages, and 25 artists take part in our development programmes. In 2021, 94% of our content was Aotearoa work, 75% were world premieres, and 74% were made by vital voice communities (Tangata Whenua, People of Colour, LGBTQIA+, immigrant communities and disabled people).

Cat Ruka

Executive Director

Nisha Madhan

Programmer

Helen Sheehan

Operations Manager

Nicola Brown

Marketing & Relationships Manager

Joel Wood

Bar & Front of House Manager

Michael "Trigg" Trigg

Technical & Facilities Manager

Ali Nicoll Van Leeuwen

Ticketing Manager & Marketing Assistant

Nahyeon Lee

Creative Producer

Nathan Joe

Programming Assistant

Tracey Egarr

Administrative Coordinator


Interested to work with us at Basement theatre? join our team.

Basement Theatre is a charitable trust and is governed by a board that centres what’s good for artists in all of their decision-making. We are lucky to share a whānau-based relationship with our board, and be guided and supported by such a knowledgeable and passionate group of people who provide us with strong strategic leadership. Our board consists of: Mei-Lin Te Puea Hansen, Nigel Borell, Sarah Longbottom, Hugh Robinson and Wendy Youens (Chair).

We are also incredibly lucky to be supported by a rōpū of rangatira who guide us in our tikanga Māori and allyship as tiriti partners. This rōpū consists of Graham Tipene, Kura Te Ua, Huia O'Sullivan, Mei-Lin Te Puea Hansen, Borni Te Rongopai Tukiwaho and Whetu Silver. Our reo journey is being guided by whaea Mischellé Tohu and kōka Manawanui Mihaere.

Learn more about how Basement came to be