As Director, let me begin by quoting for you our recently revised mission statement:
The School of Theatre and Dance at Texas Tech University fosters the highest standards of scholarship and creative activity and provides opportunities for students to work actively in both areas. We champion training and education in a breadth of specialized programs, encourage students to cross boundaries between them, and prepare students for careers in both practice and pedagogy. By integrating the practical and the scholarly, the School serves as a vital force in the cultural and intellectual life of our society.
You will find at TTU opportunities that very few places in the country provide. For example, we emphasize studying boundaries so that we can cross over them; we strive to better practice with pedagogical study; and we inform performance experience with scholarly exploration. Other schools just do not have the faculty to support such a mission statement but we do; we care deeply about each individual student, and we have the myriad degrees to support your interest.
What else? We have connections with all the major conferences, festivals, and institutes. We send our students to USITT, to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (both regional and national), to the American College Dance Festival, to the O'Neill Theatre Institute, to the PLASA Focus event, to Arts Advocacy Day in DC, to the Popular Culture Festival, among many others.
Our students win national awards in criticism, choreography, scenography, dramaturgy, and directing, and our undergraduates have been invited to perform alongside Equity actors at the Kennedy Center MFA Directing and Playwriting Summer Institutes. We facilitate student interaction with nationally and internationally recognized guests artists, including major companies like Pilobolus and the Paul Taylor Dance Company.
And each summer, with the newly developed, innovative WildWind Performance Lab, we spend the month of June experimenting with dance and theatre processes guided by invited guests that have included Michael Legg, Matt Chapman, Rich Brown, Kari Margolis, David Kranes, and Jaston Williams, among others. They not only mentor the many projects we develop each summer, but they consult one-on-one with our students, providing good career advice and new national and international connections.
What's more, we provide money for student travel all over the world. For example, we take students to study at the Tennessee Williams Festival in Provincetown in the fall, and other interested students to Prague every other summer. We fund select students in the Dance program to attend ACDF every year. Our best graduate students have traveled to London, Ireland, Denmark and Istanbul to further their educational interests and research agendas.
We are contemporary, exciting, and innovative, striving truly to connect theatre and dance in more than name only. Our students direct, devise, design, dance, act, critique, dramaturg, and produce raw and fully designed theatre and dance events. We have a number of scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships, and they often allow out-of-state students to pay in-state tuition. We offer you experience, but we balance that experience with a theoretical base and scholarly research to make what you learn richer, better informed.
If you choose our program, understand that you are going to be active 24/7, and that you will leave knowing more about theatre and dance than you thought possible. Also, know that you will be treated with respect as individuals with diverse, specific needs and that we will do our best to help you realize. Our graduates attest to this individual mentorship; they are currently employed with Disney, American Ballet Theatre, American Dance Festival (touring nationally), The Kennedy Center, and the O'Neill Theatre Center, among other places. Many earn tenure track jobs or serve as Chair of their departments or Deans at their universities.
Finally, a website is never a true indication of the spirit of a university. To that end, peruse to your heart's content. Look at student testimonials, newsletters, and faculty accomplishments. But if you really want to know and understand a university, spend time visiting it. Meet the people with whom you want to study. We invite you to come and spend some time with us. We'd love to show off who we are and where we are going, especially with your help, talents, and interest. We have much to offer, and we'd love you to consider us for your undergraduate and graduate education.
Mark J. Charney
Director of Theatre and Dance