About Theatre & Dance
Within a month after Texas Tech began classes, the Sock and Buskin society began producing short plays, and by April 1926 Tech was the home of a chapter of the theatre honor society Alpha Psi Omega. Since its first major production, The Youngest, in May 1928, Texas Tech University Theatre has produced hundreds of plays for the Texas Tech and Lubbock communities. More than 1,000 informal and developmental productions have been presented by students, including many original scripts.
Established to serve as an educational resource for Texas Tech University and a cultural resource for the Lubbock community, Tech Theatre offered courses as early as 1930. In 1966, the Department of Speech and Theatre Arts developed a theatre specialization; it began offering theatre Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in 1969. That year, Theatre enrolled 29 undergraduate majors and 4 Master of Arts students. In 1972, Theatre participated in the creation of the Ph.D. in Fine Arts degree and developed and offered courses for that program in 1973. Beginning with three students in 1973, the Fine Arts Doctoral program has since graduated 81 students. Theatre Arts became an independent department in 1977 and implemented the Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts degree programs in 1982. Texas Tech Theatre is one of only two theatre departments in the state to offer all the traditional degrees in Theatre Arts, and one of only three in the Southwest to offer the Ph.D. In 1992, Tech's dance program moved from the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation to form the Department of Theatre and Dance.
In April 1964, the University Theatre Building was inaugurated with a production of Romeo and Juliet in a state-of-the-art, 400-seat proscenium auditorium. This building, now known as the Charles E. Maedgen, Jr. Theatre, has hosted over 170 University Theatre productions and many theatrical competitions. In 1986, the building was expanded to its present size with the addition of offices and a 100-seat, thrust-stage lab theatre. In 1998, the main-stage theatre was updated by the installation of a state-of-the-art lighting system.
The teaching staff of the department consists of eighteen faculty in all areas of theatre, around 30 teaching assistants who teach, direct, administrate, and facilitate, and six professional staff members, all with MFA's. Enrollment within the department vacillates, but we generally have around 130 undergraduate BA and BFA majors and 60 graduate students in our MA, MFA, and PHD programs. The Department of Theatre and Dance produces three seasons of plays annually. We have a mostly faculty-directed four play Mainstage Season , a five-show Lab season that uses students and faculty to direct and design, and a summer performance lab in which students develop plays, devise works, and produce fully realized plays/musicals. The Department of Theatre and Dance is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre (NAST).
Milestones in the History of the Department of Theatre & Dance
First recorded theatrical performance at Texas Technological College in 1926 with the production of "The Youngest".
In 1964 the current University Theatre building was constructed, and since that time the likes of Barry Corbin, G. W. Bailey, and countless others have trod across its boards.
1966 saw the formal creation of the Department of Speech and Theatre with the degrees of Bachelor and Master of Arts approved in 1969. in 1977 the "Speech" was dropped forming the Department of Theatre.
In 1972 the Department participated in the creation of the one-of-a-kind interdisciplinary PhD in Fine Arts; later added to its degree offerings with the addition of the Bachelor and Master of Fine Arts degrees in 1982, making it one of a handful of programs in the country offering all the theatre degrees and the only one with an interdisciplinary Fine Arts Doctorate.
The current Lab theatre along with a suite of offices were added to the University Theatre in 1983. The addition of the Lab Theatre, a 100 seat thrust stage has provide the venue for many meaningful student directed and written productions since 1983, including a full summer season and the popular Red Raider evening of original plays staged each spring.
In 1992 the Dance Division, housed, then, within Health, Physical Education and Recreation became part of the Department of Theatre making us the Department of Theatre and Dance. Dance continues to have a strong tradition within the Department, university, and region.
Through the generosity of Mrs. Louise Maedgen, in memory of her late husband, the Department was able to begin renovations on the lobby of the Mainstage in 1999; formally dedicated in 2002 as the Charles E. Maedgen, Jr. Theatre the new lobby provides an elegant and comfortable welcome to our students and patrons.
The summer of 2000 marked the 75th Anniversary of Theatre at Texas Tech University. The celebrations were highlighted by an all class reunion and the formation of the Department's first official alumni chapter.
2004 marked the Department's accreditation by the National Association of Schools
of Theatre. As in its beginnings, the Department of Theatre and Dance continues to
remain committed to the education of young theatre artists and the production of a
wide range of productions that challenge, excite, and entertain our audiences.
In 2013, the Department of Theatre and Dance replaced the old summer rep model with WildWind Performance Laboratory, a lab which offers students in theatre and dance the opportunity to experiment with the process oftheatre making, giving them opportunities to study with professionals in all aspects of theatre from around the country. This signature program will continually provide students with one-on-one work with some of the best theatre and dance minds in the nation.