The Off Center was a multi-arts warehouse space managed by Rude Mechs from 1999 to 2017.

As a theatre collective, Rude Mechs remains dedicated to creating a community center for artists of all disciplines, and a flexible performance space that is affordable to all artists and their patrons.

To that end, they have acquired 5,000 sf at The Austin American Statesman. Rooms and rates are available on their website,

What happened?

In 2012, The University of Texas at Austin acquired the property from Cap Metro and issued a new lease at “market rate.” In exchange for Rude Mechs releasing the final 10 years on the lease, UT capped the increase at 325% in the final year.

Approximately 15,000 people moved through our doors each year.

By keeping their rental rates low, and often giving the space away for free, Rude Mechs subsidized the work that went on in The Off Center to the tune of about $15,000 to $20,000 per year.

The Off Center warehouse complex comprised:

  • A medium-sized flexible performance space 55′ x 38′ (maximum of 93 seats)
  • 3 studios for visual artists
  • Rude Mechs administrative offices
  • The Scenic Coop – a lending library of scenic and properties materials available to the community for free
  • The Scene Shop – available to arts groups at a very cheap rental rate
  • The Off Shoot  – a classroom for Off Center Teens and rehearsal space for Rude Mechs.

Rude Mechs operated The Off Center from 1999 to 2017. In 2008, they undertook a major renovation to create The Off Shoot, a 1400 sf space dedicated to the participants of Off Center Teens.

Support for The Off Center provided by:

The Off Center yard was landscaped and maintained by pro bono by Touch O’ Green Landscapes. They made the grounds beautiful and Rude Mechs loves them for it.

The Off Center building paint design was generously donated by Redstart Design Studios. Not only did they design it, but they created the templates and dug in with Rude Mechs to paint it.


In 2008Studio 512 fearlessly jumped into donating the design of The Off Shoot – a rehearsal space and classroom dedicated to the participants of Off Center Teens (then, Grrl Action).

The renovation of The Off Shoot was sponsored in part by generous individual gifts, and corporate and private foundation grant awards from:

The Laos House – Center for Personal Learning made a very generous gift in honor of Robert Bryant, founder/director; and in memory of Charles Smith, chef/philosopher/long time resident of East Austin.

Carrie Kenny and Sarah Sloan of Austin, Texas, generously contributed a gift that continues to honor Carrie’s father, John F. Kenny of Washington, DC. The gift supported the creation of a writing studio in the newly renovated Off Shoot.

The John F. Kenny Writing Studio is a place for the participants of Off Center Teens to write privately about their passions and dreams. It is also be a space that allows for the participants to meet with their artistic mentors who guide them as they conceive and create long-term artistic projects.

* The Meadows Foundation
* Impact Austin
* Austin Community Foundation
* Dollar General Corporation