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Arts and Entertainment

Lipscomb’s Red Dog Productions Revamps The Well Stage

If you have attended a show at The Well recently, you may have noticed a few changes. The stage has undergone a rebranding and operational shift, now under the management of Red Dog Productions, a hands-on venue management practicum for Lipscomb’s music students. 

These students are learning the ins and outs of running a performance based business. “Students get to book shows, work with artists, ticket shows, manage shows, host shows, run the sound and lights. They get to have their hands in that whole thing,” says John J. Thompson, director of music industry studies.

The practicum students, alongside Thompson and adjunct professors, spent last semester re-inventing the program. Thompson said the idea of Red Dog Productions came from the students, noting that Red Dog is the name for baby bisons. 

In the past, the practicum ran under the name Black River Stage and was operated under what was then the school of hospitality. The Well Coffeehouse used to be involved with the operation of the practicum— students were employed by the coffeehouse and it would occasionally be open during showtime hours. However, with the hospitality program coming to an end and The Well Coffeehouse deciding to take a step back, the practicum has undergone a few changes over the past semester. 

Emily Kirby, sophomore music industry studies major from Brentwood and member of Red Dog Productions, says that the biggest change over the past semester is that The Well Coffeehouse requested not to be affiliated with the stage anymore. “They weren’t gonna like serve coffee or be open during the times that we would have people performing so they decided to let us do our own thing with it,” Kirby explains. “We just kind of created our own venue management company basically to differentiate that we’re not necessarily with The Well.” 

Thompson says that while the practicum has underwent administrative changes, the core values of the practicum have stayed the same. “I oversee it but it’s really driven by the students and I bring my oversight,” says Thompson. “It’s a little different but I think that it’s different in terms of how it’s administered but the point of it is the same.”

The Well Coffeehouse has granted permission for the practicum to use the space after hours and has allowed access to the sound equipment. But The Well isn’t the only space Red Dog Productions is using to put on events.  

“It’s not just The Well explicit its The Well adjacent I guess,” says Kirby. The team has put on events in Collins as well as various locations around town.

While performances are geared towards Lipscomb students, it’s not strictly limited to the universities students. Kirby says anyone in the area is welcome to sign-up to play. She says that they have a list of contacts who sign-up through a link on social media. “So if they sign up on there then we have them on our roster to like pick from for different events,” says Kirby. 

Red Dog Productions is hopeful to bring its shows to bigger auditoriums over the next year. “We’d love to have a band perform in a larger venue then The Well and ultimately make it become a fully fledged like venue business that we can have people go through us for,” says Kirby. Another goal for the next year is to put people in the seats. Kirby says that “the short term goals just getting more people involved and increasing the audience count.” 

The practicum students are ready to get up and running this semester. After creating a new business last year, they are excited to see the result of building this program from the ground up.

Last year, Red Dog Productions hosted several events like a Dolly Parton Tribute Night and conventional writers rounds. However, this semester they are introducing a more variety of shows to the stage. “We did an open mic night recently that was packed and it drew a lot of people from the community that weren’t even Lipscomb students so that’s something we’re definitely going to do more of,” says Thompson. 

Red Dog Productions is introducing the idea of different level events, which is something new the practicum is experimenting with. “I think every semester we’re going to try to have a variety of experiences from free open mic things to ticketed low price to a couple premium things,” says Thompson. “We’ll have things that are really community oriented for the whole area as well things that are really specifically for the Lipscomb community.” The practicum is hosting their first premium show featuring Randy Stonehill, contemporary Christian music pioneer, on Feb. 24.  

If you are interested in performing at The Well, checkout there social media to learn more.

You can buy tickets to future Red Dog Production shows here: Tickets

Photo curtesy of Red Dog Productions.