Dame Ngaio Marsh

Ngaio MarshAcclaimed mystery writer Dame Ngaio Marsh first studied at the College’s School of Art while still a schoolgirl and in 1919 she graduated with an arts degree.

She then joined a touring theatre company and travelled to England to pursue her theatrical studies. Marsh returned to Christchurch when her mother became terminally ill and by the end of the 1930s she had published seven more novels (her first was written in England) and had become an international celebrity.

Marsh’s association with the University continued in her later years as drama lecturer and producer for the Drama Society’s Little Theatre. The theatre seated just over 200 people. It not only taught skills to student actors who looked to a future on the stage, it was also an important social centre and its use of up-to-date technology was exciting for early audiences.

In 1967, the University of Canterbury named the theatre at its new Ilam campus after her.