Meet our newest team members!

We are so excited to announce the addition of four fantastic people to the Umbrella Project family. They each bring unique experiences and expertise to our organization, and we’re so happy they’ve decided to help us further the lives of new plays in Seattle and beyond.

Marita Phelps
Director of Operations

Marita Phelps is a Seattle-based arts professional with a theater background. Marita graduated Magna cum Laude from Howard University with a BFA in Theatre Arts with a concentration in Playwriting. Marita is currently enrolled in the Arts Leadership graduate program at Seattle University and will receive her MFA in June 2017. In the Arts Leadership Program, Marita has learned fundamental business leadership skills such as marketing, financial management, strategic planning and fundraising for the arts. Throughout her time at Seattle University, Marita has held graduate practicums with notable art organizations in Seattle such as The 5th Avenue Theatre, Hedgebrook, and the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute in the development and education departments. Areas in arts leadership of high interest for Marita include operations, development and education. Giving back is a top priority for Marita and she feels especially privileged to serve on boards for both of her degree granting universities. Phelps currently serves as the Charter President of the Alumni in the Arts Club at Seattle University and the Treasurer of the Howard University Alumni Club of Greater Seattle. In the future, Martita would like to continue leading in arts organizations, continue playwriting and give back when wherever possible. Marita’s personal mission is to champion the cause of the world’s marginalized through the arts and she strives to do just that in all of the work that she does.

Jesse Swingle
Director of Marketing & Communications

An agile marketing communications leader, Swingle has more than a decade’s experience developing and executing transformative MarCom strategies and campaigns for a direct impact on revenue. Swingle seeks passion in his life and career, and is proud to have worked with some of the most driven personalities in the corporate, tech, and nonprofit sectors, including stints at Northwest Harvest and ZT Systems. His work with Umbrella Project continues that tradition. He is a proud Seattleite (and reformed New Yorker), and has a lifelong passion for good coffee, live music, interesting cuisines, new shoes, beautiful hikes, and well-written prose.

Skye Stephenson
Director of Development

​Skye Stephenson has devoted the past five years to integrating herself as an actor into Seattle’s fierce theater scene, as well as within the the city’s community as a whole through volunteer work and activism. She has spent her life exploring Washington in various capacities, including studying at Central Washington University; working as a field organizer of three legislative districts in the 2008 Presidential campaign; participating in a year-long organic playwriting and viewpoints intensive across western Washington; as a  journalist for the Yakima Herald Republic and in Seattle University’s summer journalism workshop; acting in the Hope Monologue Project; and countless other odds and ends that have left her vigorously passionate about the unique power and beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Claire Koleske
​Associate Dramaturg

Claire Koleske is a dramaturg originally from Albuquerque New Mexico. She got her start as a dancer and combat choreographer in the community theatre scene and eventually started acting with companies like Albuquerque Little Theatre, the Vortex Summer Shakespeare Festival, and Stage One. She attended New Mexico State University, studied theatre abroad in London at Queen Mary College, and completed an honors thesis focusing on Hamlet and feminism. Claire graduated with honors from the English and Theatre Arts Departments in May of 2014 and after graduation relocated to Seattle to pursue a career in theatre. Since graduating she has worked primarily as a dramaturg. Recent credits include: Bad Panda, Devil Boys from Beyond, and Psycho Beach Party with Fantastic.Z Theatre Company, and brownsville song (b-side for tray) and King Charles III at Seattle Repertory Theatre. Claire is a proud member of LMDA and a Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Frozen Sea Theatre Collective. When not participating in theatre related activities, Claire enjoys cooking, baking, drinking wine, reading, and long walks while having philosophical talks with her partner William. ​

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