Umbrella Project went to the Humana Festival of New Plays

​A play marathon. 7 shows in 3 days. 

Our first stop in Louisville is Actors Theatre of Louisville, home of the Humana Festival for New Plays (and celebrating their 40th year!). ATL is in the heart of downtown Louisville, KY and the partnership between the theatre and the Humana Foundation is the longest running partnership of it’s type. With theatre makers and lovers coming in from all over the country, we’re excited to see all 7 of these new works, meet the playwrights, dramaturgs, & directors, catch up with old friends, and make some new ones.

Les Waters, artistic director of Actors Theatre of Louisville.​

We kicked off the start of the festival with a fantastic party hosted by Actors Theatre of Louisville at the Speed Art Museum. Welcoming us to the festival with opening remarks by the one and only, Les Waters, artistic director of ATL. The crowd was a social mix of actors, playwrights, producers, directors, patrons, board members, local and national artists.

Executive Director Norah Elges & Managing Director Erin Bednarz with actor Renata Friedman (This Random World) and playwright Steven Dietz (This Random World).

At the opening party, we caught up with some Seattle artists who were working on the festival. One of our favorite playwrights, Steven Dietz opened This Random World at Humana and was awarded one of the finalist citations from the Steinberg/A​mercian T​heatre Critics Association​ for his play Bloomsday which premiered at ACT Theatre in Seattle last year. The incredible actor, Renata Friedman, also perforning in This Random World, has previously graced Seattle stages in new works like The K of D by Laura Schellhardt at Seattle Repertory Theatre. 

Executive Director Norah Elges & Managing Director Erin Bednarz with playwright Martyna Majok (Wonderous Strange) and manager/producer Kelly Miller.

At the opening night party we also got to catch up with playwright Martyna Majok who was first introduced to Seattle through One Coast Collaboration and her play reWilding was produced by the Satori Group in 2013. Her playIronbound is currently running in NYC at Rattlestick and her project with the Women’s Project in their Pipeline festival opens next week. While we at UP love the ways technology allows us to connect, nothing beats getting to spend time together in person; especially with new play advocate, manager, producer, and mentor extraordinaire, Kelly Miller who’s involved with innovative organizations like New NeighborhoodThe Kilroys and the Women’s Project Theatre Pipeline Festival (along with Martyna and Lee Sunday Evans, director of Wellesley Girl–interview coming soon!). Let’s hear it for more power to female playwrights and theatre makers! 

Check back here over the next few weeks for interviews with some of the amazing new play champions we met at the Humana Festival!

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