The Department of Theatre and Dance Welcomes Rude Mechs for Two-Year Residency


October 5, 2020

The Department of Theatre and Dance and the College of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin are pleased to announce the renewed residency of the nationally-acclaimed, ensemble -based theatre collective, Rude Mechs. This two-year residency will provide students the opportunity to work with and learn from members of Rude Mechs through group workshops, mentorship and respondent feedback on student-devised work and processes.

“The Rude Mechs residency in the College of Fine Arts is yet another important step toward providing students in the Department of Theatre and Dance with a professional laboratory that will prepare them for future careers in the arts,” said Douglas Dempster, Dean of the College of Fine Arts. “At the same time, the college is providing crucial support to a nationally-renowned theatre company that has contributed so much to establishing the ATX brand that defines the Austin cultural scene.”

As part of their residency, students will have an opportunity to work directly with members of Rude Mechs, who have, since their inception in 1996, created theatrical works that have earned their company of 33 members over 180 local and national awards and nominations. “Rude Mechs has been expanding the definitions of theatre for over 25 years and is known for collaboratively creating original performances that defy genre or categorization,” shares Alexandra Bassiakou Shaw, faculty member at the Department of Theatre and Dance and Managing Director of Rude Mechs. “Our students will get to observe Rude Mechs at work and make work alongside them as collaborators through this residency. I’m grateful that the department recognizes the value of joining forces with this world-class ensemble. I know from my own experience of working with the Rudes when I was a student; they welcomed me into their process, which had a profound impact on me as an emerging artist.”

Part of the mission of Rude Mechs is to demystify the art-making process, allowing for communication with and responsiveness to audiences and the community at large. In partnering with the department, they will continue to foster this spirit of mutual creation and learning as part of developing new work. “Rude Mechs is honored to be named the Resident Theatre Company for the Department of Theatre and Dance,” shares co-founder and co-producing artistic director Lana Lesley. “We look forward to learning from the students, being inspired by their work and opening our company up to them as they forge their own paths in the world of the performing arts.”

Among their many achievements, Rude Mechs has seen six off-Broadway productions and four major commissions. They’ve toured their original plays to prestigious venues across the country, including The Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis and Woolly Mammoth in Washington D.C. Rude Mechs’ work has also been seen in festivals around the world, including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (winner Total Theatre Award for Best New Play by an Ensemble), the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and the Under the Radar Festival (NYC). Touring productions include Field Guide (Yale Repertory Theatre), Not Every Mountain (Fusebox Festival, The Guthrie Theatre), The Cold Record (Horizon Festival), Stop Hitting Yourself (Lincoln Center) and The Method Gun, which was staged at the B. Iden Payne Theatre last October.

For more information about Rude Mechs, please visit

Photo: Not Every Mountain (2019) at Motion Media Arts Center; Photo by Brett Brookshire; Featured (L-R): Crystal Bird Caviel, Mari Akita, Thomas Graves, Kelsey Oliver