While studying for his masters degree in English at the University of Canterbury Elric Hooper appeared in several of Dame Ngaio Marsh's acclaimed productions of Shakespeare. Two years at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, as an acting and directing student followed. His professional career began in the world famous Old Vic. He appeared there for three seasons and worked as an actor and assistant to Franco Zeffirelli in his Award-winning Romeo and Juliet.
Thereafter he worked as performer, director and teacher in America, Scandinavia, Germany and France as well as theatres throughout Britain. He returned to New Zealand in 1975 and was Artistic Director of The Court Theatre from 1979 to 2000.
His talks on music and literature have become a popular feature on Radio New Zealand.
Elric has taught in the London University, London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and Inner London Education Authority. He has been guest lecturer at City of New York, Northwestern, Kansas and Washington Universities. In NZ he has taught at Canterbury and Victoria Universities, NZ Drama School, Unitec School of Performing Arts, Auckland and the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art, Christchurch. His has an extensive theatre company teaching history covering practical drama and stage theory.
In the 1990 Queens Birthday Honours he was awarded the M.B.E. and the same year received the 1990 Commonwealth Medal in recognition of his contribution to New Zealand Theatre. The University of Canterbury made him Doctor of Letters in 2001 and since 2000 he has been freelancing in Australia, NZ, America and UK.