Texas Tech University

Westward Ho! A Journey to Texas Tech and Beyond

Rachel Shipley

October 26, 2023

Ed Simone

Ed Simone (PhD 1996) had no intentions of going back to school when his wife Leigh decided to get a PhD in Spanish. Having earned his master's degree in the late 70s, he taught a while before touring the country creating theatre wherever he went. Simone was in rehearsals for a production of My Fair Lady at a summer stock theatre when a castmate, who had just recently completed his PhD at Texas Tech, put him in touch with the head of the theatre program, Rich Weaver. After contacting Weaver, Simone soon found himself the farthest west he had ever been: Lubbock, Texas.

What did your time studying at Texas Tech look like?

Ed as Prospero“I enjoyed the interdisciplinary nature of the program. It was not just about theatre; it was about visual art and music too. As a student with a particular interest in theatre, I was given the opportunity to perform in many roles throughout my time at the university in addition to my research, which I enjoyed. I also had so many marvelous professors and some great graduate colleagues who helped to shape my experience in such a positive way. It was a fun and exploratory period of my life.”

Do any people or moments from Texas Tech stick out to you as you reflect on your time here?

“That is a tough question because it is hard to single out a particular person or moment. I enjoyed watching my graduate colleagues direct shows and having the opportunity to work with them in my own projects as well. Everything from Danny Nathan's aesthetics course and Gene Midler's art course to Dr. Stone Rich's arts management courses played large part in my experience at Tech. Plus, I lived in Lubbock, which was a real treat. I had never lived west of the Mississippi before, so it gave me and my wife the opportunity to explore so many unfamiliar places. We were coming from Connecticut, so the thunderstorms were a welcome delight. All in all, I just loved the high plains.”

Where did life take you after you left the South Plains?

Ed and Leigh“As my wife finished her degree at Lubbock, I had the opportunity to work in San Marcos, teaching for three years. After that, my wife was offered a teaching position at our alma mater, Saint Bonaventure. I still remember when she told me that she got the job. I was in Rhode Island doing a production at Theatre by the Sea when she called and told me that we were heading back east. We moved to Western New York that summer and she began working at the university. I got back into broadcasting and acting where I did a little of everything including some work for Studio Arena, voiceover and commercial work, broadcasting, and classical and public service programming for the NPR affiliate until Bonaventure asked me to create a theater major. It took me about five years to design the major and organize the courses, and that is what I have being doing ever since.”

How has curiosity played a role in your life and career?

Ed as Sir Toby “Curiosity has been there every step of the way. Curiosity led me to the program here at Texas Tech and to where I am today. It guided me through a dissertation, something I never thought I would write. Being inquisitive lies at the heart of the arts. As artists and audience members, we must follow our desire to learn more. Curiosity surrounds you, especially in theater, because it encourages collaboration. You have lots of curious people running around working with each other to create this marvelous thing that audiences will see and can wrestle with for themselves. That kind of curiosity has always been my motivation.”

What's next?

“You know, I have never been a long-term planner and it has worked out so far, knock-on-wood.”

Simone will continue to do what he does best, inspire the next generation of theatre artists and explore the world as much as possible alongside his wife. He is excited to return to Lubbock for the first time since the 1990s for the Texas Tech alumni event in April 2024.