Texas Tech University

School of Theatre & Dance Kicks Off WildWind Performance Lab

Amanda Castro-Crist

June 4, 2018

The performance lab brings 22 nationally acclaimed artists and 10 international faculty and students to West Texas for a month of training, development and workshops.


Beginning today (June 4) Texas Tech University's School of Theatre & Dance, housed within the J.T. & Margaret Talkington College of Visual & Performing Arts, will host 22 critically acclaimed artists as part of the seventh annual WildWind Performance Lab.

The month-long summer program for Texas Tech theater students, now in its sixth year, includes mornings focused on acting or design training; afternoons split into directing workshops, play and musical development and panel discussions with visiting artists who discuss their journeys and careers; and weekly public readings.

“Lab is usually a word reserved for scientists, so it may seem odd to think of ‘performing' with lab,” said Mark Charney, director of the School of Theatre & Dance and WildWind creator. “But labs like this one are places where students are free to experiment without the pressure of process. Most classrooms and, indeed, most performances are geared toward an end product that is shared with an audience. This lab emphasizes the holistic well-being of each student, and although there are different areas for design, acting, play development, etc., a lab brings students together to experiment. So, in essence, this is a lab in which it is safe to experiment with each element of theater.”

Mark Charney
Mark Charney

Since its inception, WildWind has adapted each year to fit the needs of the students and the school. This year, the Texas Tech students will be joined by eight visiting students and two professors from the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts.

“It's the premiere place to study theater in the country,” Charney said. “My company manager and director of marketing, Cory Norman, and I went to Hong Kong to share information about our program while visiting classrooms and meeting with the dean and the faculty. WildWind impressed them. They wanted to experience the program first hand, so Janice Poon and Tony Wong, two of our visiting artists, are bringing eight students from the Academy to Lubbock for the month. We are housing, feeding and educating them and we also are introducing them to all things Lubbock. We hope they may want to send students annually.”

This year's performance lab also brings to Texas Tech a major collaboration and the development of two more plays.

“The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival has honored us by making our lab a place to develop two nationally award-winning plays and train one national award-winning director,” Charney said. “We feel honored that WildWind is recognized by the Kennedy Center as a place to train playwrights and directors.”

The Charles E. Maedgen, Jr. Theatre will host public readings of those plays at the end of each week of the performance lab. The first, a reading of “The End of a Sound” by playwright Ann Gillespie, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday (June 8).  The readings are free and open to the public.

For more information about the WildWind Performance Lab and a full list of the public readings, visit the School of Theatre & Dance website.