Rude Mechs is an Austin-based collective theatre company that has created a genre-averse cocktail of over 30 original plays that we produced at our venue, The Off Center, in Austin, TX, from 1999 to 2017, when The University of Texas at Austin priced us out and demolished it. Hook ’em. When we are lucky, we get to tour our work nationally and internationally. In 2018 we will see the world premieres of two productions: Field Guide will be produced as part of Yale Repertory Theatre’s 2017/2018 season, and Not Every Mountain will be produced at the Guthrie Theatre. Our productions include Stop Hitting Yourself, which premiered in Lincoln Center Theatre in New York in January 2014, toured to Dallas and San Francisco in 2015, Now Now Oh Now, a National Theatre Pilot selectee toured to Duke University, Yale University, Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, and Miami Light, Fringe arts in Philly, and The Method Gun, which has toured to such far-flung destinations as New York City, Los Angeles, New Haven, Columbus, Boston, Portland, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Brisbane (Australia), closed its American touring life in Houston in May 2016.

Since our first season in 1996, we’ve received over a billion awards and nominations (mostly nominations) for artistic excellence, including a 2013 BESSIE nomination for our re-enactment of The Performance Group’s Dionysus in 69, and the prestigious Doris Duke Artist Award for Shawn Sides 2015. Rude Mechs was honored with an induction to The Austin Arts Hall of Fame in 2013, and featured in a nationally aired PBS documentary called Arts in Context: Rude Mechs.

Rude Mechs, a full company of 33 members, is led today by Co-Producing Artistic Directors Madge Darlington, Thomas Graves, Lana Lesley, Kirk Lynn and Shawn Sides, and Managing Director Alexandra Bassett. Two decades into this experiment, we remain a woman-led organization that has outlasted housing bubbles, tech bubbles, the Intel shell, and the “sharing economy.” Requiring less government interference than Uber, we’ve survived as an experimental theatre company based in the State of Texas, in the face of its prohibitive policies on everything from education to health care, and in spite of its profound lack of funding for the performing arts, and we are crazy proud of that.

Here’s what we do, click on the links to learn more about each program:

Create New Plays

We collaboratively create original work in Austin. We don’t produce the “old chestnuts” or even new chestnuts by other people. All of our work is home grown. We promise to always use our best thinking, our fiercest arguments, and the last of our midnight oil to make mentally nervy and physically ecstatic shows. We believe Austin has a unique voice. We are proud to represent it here, and to export it with sass as we tour nationally and internationally.

Provide Space to Artists for their WORK

We manage Rude Studios, Austin’s most affordable venue for rehearsal, meeting, admin, and art/craft space. It is home to our scenic lending library and used by visual artists, filmmakers, musicians, dancers, and theatre companies. By keeping our rental rates low, and often giving the space away for free, we subsidize the work that goes on in Rude Studios to the tune of about $10,000 per year.

Co-Produce New Works

We keep Austin’s performance scene fresh by co-producing local artists in our Rude Fusion series and by co-producing the best touring shows in the country… when we had a space, which we will again, like the phoenix….

Artists! We are still doing this, so if you would like to submit a proposal for Rude Fusion, click here to download the guidelines.

Serve our Community

Rude Mechs stores re-usable scenic and properties elements and offers them to Austin’s live performance artists free of charge in an effort to reduce the amount of ecological waste our industry generates each year. In 2006, Co-Producing Artistic Director Thomas Graves imagined and created this service as part of his Master’s thesis, and Rude Mechs was happy to provide the square footage to help him realize this project which has been going strong for several years. Contact Thomas Graves for information about the lending library.

Rude Mechs is dedicated to ensuring that everyone has access to see our productions, regardless of economic status. To that end, we offer Pay-What-You-Can admission, and we mean it quite literally. Every Thursday and Sunday night of every mainstage production patrons may select their own ticket price based on what they can afford to pay. We also offer sliding scale admission ($12 – $25) on Fridays and Saturdays.

We make new works – we want your opinions, and so we invite you to stick around to join the cast, crew, and creators for a lively and engaging discussion about the work and what you want from it.

We are doing this YEAR-ROUND now, so check it out. We offer teens the chance to write and perform their own words, to design, craft and to collaborate with their peers through our annual summer camp, Off Center Teens.

We offer observerships in production, administration and arts education. We believe it’s important to serve as a bridge to the next generation of artists, and offer exposure to just about everything we do – the good, the bad, the ugly. Observerships are open to anyone 16 years old and up. We wish we could, but we cannot provide housing for out-of-town students.

If you are interested in hanging out with Rude Mechs, please fill out an application.