Umbrella Project Announces First Project: Emily Conbere’s Knocking Bird

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Umbrella Project Announces First Project: Emily Conbere’s Knocking Bird at West of Lenin September 11 through October 3
Playwright-centered co-producing organization aims to use dramaturgically-driven producing to make Seattle a destination for new plays

July 24, 2015 – Seattle, WA – Umbrella Project, a new play development and production company that champions the work of Pacific Northwest playwrights, announces its premiere production: Emily Conbere’s Knocking Bird. Umbrella Project co-produces this first full production with West of Lenin and the Splinter Group. Paul Budraitis (The Salesman is Dead and Gone, Bo-Nita) directs; Sam Hagen (The Flick, The Lower Depths), Angela diMarco (Boeing, Boeing, The Foreigner), and Alex Matthews (The Satori Group, Is She Dead Yet?) star.

“Umbrella Project was born out of a need to create a better way to support the work of our local playwrights,” says Executive Director Norah Elges, “We chose Knocking Bird for our first production because it is a perfect example of the barriers to the production of new work in Seattle. Knocking Bird had a reading at the Seattle Repertory Theatre in June 2013 when Conbere was in the Writers Group there, and the play was developed as a one-act by Sandbox Collective after an initial commission from Live Girls! Theatre. Conbere has been writing plays in Seattle for almost five years and has yet to have a full production of her work, despite being a respected playwright in the Seattle theatre community. We are excited to be able to change that.”

Knocking Bird is a psychological thriller about a husband and wife who retreat to the woods after a car accident leaves her body and his mind wrecked. Between long walks to the 7-11 and a mounting, lingering obsession with birds, the couple grapples with a visit from the man who shaped their past and threatens their future. Conbere describes the play as a look at “the strange and uncomfortable ways that couples transform and adapt to each other in order to stay together.”

About Umbrella Project:

Umbrella Project was founded in 2014 by Seattle-based producer, director, dramaturg, and actor Norah Elges with Gavin Reub (Co-Artistic Director of The Seagull Project, Casting Associate for Book-It Repertory) and Erin Bednarz (Artist Liaison and Outreach Coordinator for Live Girls!). The company’s goal is to create a better way to support new work born in Seattle. Through dramaturgically-driven producing and a network of dedicated artists, Umbrella Project will shepherd new work from its early developmental stages through a premiere and beyond.

Umbrella Project is founded on the belief that all the resources to make Seattle a destination for new play development are out there. Seattle has talented artists, interesting venues, and the potential for new audiences and a new group of donors. Through local and national theatre networks, Umbrella Project will further the life of new plays through a premiere and beyond. Umbrella Project will also foster the new play community in Seattle through audience development and professional network growth.

Playwright – Emily Conbere
Director – Paul Budraitis
Producer & Dramaturg – Norah Elges
Production Stage Manager – Ashley Rolph
Designers – Robert Henson, Leo Mayberry, Hannah Schnabel, Tom Wiseley, & Ahren Buhmann
Cast – Angela diMarco, Sam Hagen, and Alex Matthews

Tickets are $25 General, $15 TPS/Senior/Student. Tickets will be on sale starting August 10 at

September 10, 2015  – 8:00 p.m. (Preview)
September 11, 2015  – 8:00 p.m.
September 12, 2015  – 8:00 p.m.

September 17, 2015  – 8:00 p.m.
September 18, 2015  – 8:00 p.m.
September 19, 2015  – 8:00 p.m.

September 21, 2015 – 8:00 p.m. (Industry Night)

September 24, 2015  – 8:00 p.m.
September 25, 2015  – 8:00 p.m.
September 26, 2015  – 8:00 p.m.

October 1, 2015  – 8:00 p.m.
October 2, 2015  – 8:00 p.m.
October 3, 2015 – 8:00 p.m.

Preview on September 10 and Industry Night on September 21 will be Pay-What-You-Can. There will be a talkback with select members of the cast and creative team following the performances on September 17, September 24, and October 1.

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