Before 1982, no journal devoted to the study of Australian drama was available and very few established journals provided space for serious discussion. In response to this situation, Richard Fotheringham, Veronica Kelly and Jeremy Ridgman produced the first issue of Australasian Drama Studies in October 1982.
Aiming to 'chart all the patterns of academic research and theatrical practice in Australia and New Zealand', the editors of Australasian Drama Studies have encouraged a wide variety of research areas. Following the belief that 'people cannot know what they are capable of if they forget what they were able to do in the past', many articles on the history of theatre in Australia and New Zealand have been published. In addition Australasian Drama Studies has published articles on performance studies in Australia, circus, puppetry, Aboriginal performance, women's theatre, gay, lesbian and queer theatre, community theatre, interculturalism and dance and physical theatre.
Despite the journal's title, articles and special issues have focused on the dramatic traditions of other countries and regions such as Ireland, Canada and South East Asia. Contributors also are drawn from many overseas countries. In addition to academic articles, Australasian Drama Studies regularly publishes contributions from the profession in the form of speeches, interviews and roundtable discussions, asserting itself as the voice of theatre studies in Australia.
Since 2001, the journal has been sponsored by the Australasian Drama Studies Association, providing a secure foundation on which to develop future research.