A Look Back: Knocking Bird Premiere 

Knocking Bird trailer, produced in partnership with Mighty Tripod Productions.

​​This time last years, we jumped in with both feet. At the same time that we were running our Kickstarter campaign, we were already putting our plan into action with the world premiere of Emily Conbere’s play Knocking Bird. Conbere’s play, and it’s long and circuitous journey to production, was one of the reasons we wanted to start Umbrella Project in the first place, so it made sense that it was our first co-production. We are not a traditional theatre company but we are both a development pipeline filling in the gaps between readings and workshops, first productions and second productions, as well as a new play matchmaker. In this case, it was Splinter Group and West of Lenin that came to the table with us to bring this play to life—over two years after its latest staged reading. 

Samuel Hagen, Angela DiMarco, and Alex Matthews in Knocking Bird. Photo by Joe Iano.

​​Originally written as a ten-minute play for Live Girls Theater, Knocking Bird was expanded to a one-act in January 2013 for SOAP Fest (dir. Andy McGinn). Conbere continued to develop the play during her time as part of the Seattle Rep Writers Group and the full-length version received a staged reading presented by Northwest Playwrights Alliance in June of 2013 (dir. Paul Budraitis).
Paul Budraitis, who had continued to champion the play followed it’s reading with NPA, and Norah Elges, Umbrella Project’s co-founder and Executive Director, had been committed to see the play through to production. 

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Comments from 2015/16 Gregory Award Nominators.
While New Play is not one of the People’s Choice categories for the Gregory Awards, which honors excellence in the Puget Sound area, Knocking Bird is eligible for Outstanding Actor, Actress, Director, and Production.  
We were fortunate to have an incredible team bringing this work to its next life stage. Under Paul’s direction, actors Angela DiMarco, Samuel Hagen, and Alex Matthews, gave life to these characters. Our unstoppable design and production team—Ahren Buhmann, Robert Henson, Leo Mayberry, Ashley Rolph, Hannah Schnabel, Tom Wiseley, and Norah Elges—worked tirelessly to build the world of the play inside of West of Lenin.

View the digital program for Knocking Bird here.
Knocking Bird ran September 11 through October 3, 2015 at West of Lenin.


Poster and graphics by Ryan Dunn.

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