Umbrella Project exists to develop and advocate for diverse new theatrical work by demonstrating radical dramaturgical support.

Umbrella Project was founded by Norah Elges, Erin Bednarz, and Gavin Reub in 2014.

What is radical dramaturgical support?

Radical dramaturgical support is an ever-expanding and evolving collection of activities completed in support of the script development process.

American dramaturgy includes research, structure analysis, education, and support for actors and directors.

Radical dramaturgical support extends traditional dramaturgy to include dramaturgically-informed hospitality practices, radically inclusive thinking, anti-oppressive measures, support around best practices, and more. This dramaturgical method is differentiated from standard American dramaturgy by its holistic approach, creativity, and centrality to the process of developing new theatrical work.

Learn why we think it’s critical here.

Fiscal Sponsorship

Umbrella Project is powered by Shunkpike. Shunpike is the 501(c)(3) non-profit agency that provides independent arts groups in Washington State with the services, resources, and opportunities they need to forge their own paths to sustainable success.

Executive Staff


Gavin Reub
Director of Creative Development

Gavin Reub is a director, dramaturg, and producer. He is the Artistic Director and Company Dramaturg for The Seagull Project for which he has directed at ACT Theatre, Lewis and Clark College, and the Ilkhom Theatre in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He was the recipient of the Gregory Award for Outstanding Production for The Seagull Project’s 2015 The Three Sisters, and the 2017 The Cherry Orchard received People’s Choice Outstanding Production (play). Gavin has worked at the Seattle Repertory Theatre, Intiman Theatre, The Lark, Seattle Shakespeare Co, Annex Theatre, and Book-It Repertory Theatre, where he was the Casting Associate for three years. He graduated from the University of Washington and was a member of the 2014 Lincoln Center Directors Lab.


Erin Bednarz
Director of Engagment

Erin Bednarz is an interdisciplinary artist having worked with 40+ arts organizations over the last ten years. She serves as company member with LiveGirls!, Annex, and Washington Ensemble Theatres. Her produced work has gained literary nods from HowlRoundCityArts + Encore. Erin’s late band Hearts Are Thugs was featured on television network The CW and earned her a 2015 RAW Artist Award. She completed the Intiman Theater Sound Design Apprenticeship in 2016 and has since expanded her designs to national and institutional levels. As a teaching artist, Erin’s knowledge of design and performance has been shared at universities and in communities across Washington state.  More at


Sara Keats
Director of Dramaturgy

Sara Keats is a dramaturg and marketing and communications specialist. She has interned with Seattle Repertory Theatre, Signature Theatre Company, Williamstown Theatre Festival and Fishamble: The New Play Company in Dublin, Ireland. She has worked on projects with Macha Monkey Productions, Pony World Theatre Company, and the Satori Group. Keats runs the Seattle chapter of the Dramaturgy Open Office Hours Project, and volunteers with The Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Ideas. She is a graduate of the BHA program at Carnegie Mellon University. More at


Skye Stephenson
Director of Development

Skye Stephenson is an actor and activist that has spent the past eleven years discovering the depths of culture and creation across the northwest through a multitude of mediums. She studied theatrical arts on scholarship at Central Washington University and Mount Vernon College, the latter of which she received the theater artist of the year award. She has worked with over 25 theaters and companies across 3 states and spent a year creating works focused on questioning institutionalized gender norms with an Adler Viewpoints method touring group in 2009. Beyond the stage she was selected for Seattle Universities summer journalism workshop for students of color, held a position as junior journalist for three years at the Yakima Herald Republic, and was honored to work as a field organizer for the first Obama Presidential Campaign for three eastern Washington congressional districts. She seeks to bring joy and truth to all projects she is a part of and has been blessed to receive the same back in abounds from the stunning community of fearless Seattle artists and their passionate allies.


Jesse Swingle
Director of Marketing Communications

An agile marketing communications leader, Jesse 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 in Seattle and ZT Systems in New York. His work with Umbrella Project continues that tradition. Coming to Seattle relatively late in his 20s, he nonetheless has a lifelong passion for good coffee, live music, interesting cuisines, shiny things, beautiful hikes, and well-composed prose.



Claire Koleske
Associate Dramaturg

Claire Koleske is a dramaturg originally from Albuquerque New Mexico. She got her start as a dancer, combat choreographer, and actor with 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 feminism in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Claire graduated with honors from the English and Theatre Arts Departments in May of 2014 and after graduation relocated to Seattle. She has worked with Fantastic Theatre Company, Frozen Sea Theatre Collective, and Seattle Repertory Theatre.


KWalkerKayla Walker
Associate Producer

Kayla Walker is a many-faceted theater artist. She has worked as an actor, director, dialect coach, producer and educator in the Seattle-area for almost 10 years. She is currently on staff at Annex Theatre, championing new work in many capacities. She previously ran Institute, the advanced musical theatre training program at Village Theatre KIDSTAGE. In several capacities has worked with companies such as Book-It Repertory, Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, Annex Theatre, Wooden O, Taproot Theatre, Strawberry Theatre Workshop, and Village Theatre. When not in a theater, you can find her teaching yoga, in the gym, or heading up HR and Recruiting as the People Operations Executive at Distilled marketing. She is a proud graduate of Cornish College of the Arts and holds a BFA in Theater & Original Works.

José Samuel Clair
Literary Associate

José is an interdisciplinary theatre artist who focuses mostly on playwriting and dramaturgy. Originally from Southern California, José comes to the Pacific Northwest by way of Chicago, Providence, LA, and Las Vegas. Professionally, he has worked with Trinity Rep., Playwrights Rep., Stage 773, and Porchlight Music Theater, among others, and currently sings with the Seattle Men’s Chorus and sits on the board of Book-It Theater. He studied art semiotics, history of art and architecture, and theatre arts and performance studies, with a focus on writing for performance, at Brown University, and received his master’s in liberal arts with a focus on English language and literature.