Artistic Director

Mike Werckle | Founder, Executive Artistic Director

Mike Werckle received a BFA in Character Animation from California Institute of the Arts in 1992. Upon graduation, he worked as Assistant to the Producer of Starlight Theatre in Rockford, Illinois, and went on to found The Wrong Hands Theater Company there, serving as it's Producing Director until he entered the game industry in 1994.

Werckle started at Viacom New Media in Chicago where he wrote and storyboarded the animated sequences for Beavis and Butt-head: Virtual Stupidity. He produced and directed the opening 3D animated film for the landmark Dungeons & Dragons: Core Rules game for TSR in Madison, Wisconsin. At Raven Software, and later at Human Head Studios, he helped pioneer the use of 3D animation techniques in the highly acclaimed games Hexen II, Heretic II and Rune.

Werckle attended The University of Texas - Austin, earning an MFA in Film Production in 2006. While there, he served as the Radio-TV-Film representative on the planning committee for the New Works Theater Festival, and directed Lucy Dies In Fives, a mixed media play with video which was awarded "Best in Fest" at Austin's highly regarded Fronterafest 2004.

Using his mastery of animation and film, Werckle entered the Film Industry as a Previsualization Animator and VFX Artist, working alongside top directors to design thrilling sequences on films such as Superman Returns, Live Free or Die Hard, I Am Legend, Tropic Thunder, Machete, and Predators.  He helped design the dinosaur sequences for Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life (Palme d'Or, Cannes Film Festival, 2011) and worked with The Wachowskis on their sci-fi epic Jupiter Ascending.  

In 2013, Werckle founded The West Side Show Room in Rockford with the goal of bringing locally produced new theater to downtown Rockford, Illinois.