BurkTech Players Return to Stage To Discuss Love, Relationships

The theater company, composed of students from the School of Theatre & Dance and the Burkhart Center for Autism Education & Research, will perform several original works.


It’s complicated.

That relationship status is more or less the theme of the Texas Tech University BurkTech Players’ fall performance. The theater company, which is composed of students from the School of Theatre & Dance and the Burkhart Center for Autism Education & Research, will look at the entanglements of relationships, the sometimes challenging pursuit of love and the mixed emotions that accompany love and loss.

“Relationships are universal,” said Winter Davis, managing director of the BurkTech Players. “Whether we are seeking another to know us better or trying to reconcile our choices, we are all intimately connected through the nature of human existence.”

The BurkTech Players is a student-led effort that grew from a community theater course connecting theatre and dance students with students who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Enough college students with ASD expressed interest beyond the classes that the group came together, with the support of Mark Charney, the director of the School of Theatre & Dance, and Wes Dotson, co-director of the Burkhart Center.

As the initial performances filled the theater, the company looked for more and bigger opportunities, including writing their own one-act plays and choreographing dance routines. This year’s performance ends with a piece choreographed by Sam Shreffler, the co-artistic director and one of the early and enthusiastic members.

“It’s a story of desire and regret, that in a moment we can let our desire outweigh our better judgment,” Shreffler said.

The company will perform:

  • “Apres Opera” by Michael Begelow Dixon and Valerie Smith, directed by Caroline Jane Davis
  • “Almost Maine: ‘Sad and Glad’” by John Cariani, directed by Winter Davis
  • “A Study in Relationships” conceived by the BurkTech Players Ensemble, directed by Reese Thompson
  • “Park Bench 10: A Satirical Examination of Early Playwriting” by Meg Davis, directed by Caroline Jane Davis
  • “Projected Pieces” conceived by the BurkTech Players Ensemble, directed by Caroline Jane Davis 
  • “Lovers Past Nightmare,” an original dance piece conceived and choreographed by Sam Shreffler

The performances are at 4:30 p.m. Sunday (Nov. 13) and 7 p.m. Monday (Nov. 14) in the Escondido Theater of the Student Union Building. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. Reservations are encouraged, as seating is limited. Seats can be reserved at the group’s Facebook page.

The BurkTech Players also offer free workshops from 5-7 p.m. on the third Monday of every month. The workshops will be at the Burkhart Center. The December and January workshops will be geared toward teachers and students who are interested in bringing theatre techniques and activities into the classroom, specifically for students with ASD and developmental disabilities. More information will be posted on the Facebook page. 

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The Burkhart Center

The Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research

The Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research is part of the College of Education and is the premier center in Lubbock for research, education and assistance for families affected by autism.

Research at the center covers three major aspects: developing strategies for the preparation of teachers to meet the needs of students, examining ways to develop parent support networks and preparing individuals with autism as they transition from school to adult services.

The Transition Academy, the center’s flagship program, is home to about 15 teenagers and young adults who have an autism spectrum disorder. They come to campus Monday through Friday to learn job and life skills, including how to live independently, and many have jobs through partnerships with campus and community organization.

The Burkhart Center is named for Jim and Jere Lynn Burkhart in honor of their grandson Collin.

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School of Theatre & Dance

Department of Theatre and Dance

Texas Tech's School of Theatre and Dance is part of the College of Visual & Performing Arts. It is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theatre.

The university is one of two in Texas to offer all traditional degrees in theatre, and one of only three in the southwest to offer a Ph.D. in Fine Arts.

Students in the School of Theatre and Dance pursue a core curriculum that includes training in the areas of design, acting, directing, dance, stage management, history and playwriting.