UMO Ensemble Programs
Since 1989, UMO Ensemble’s creative process has been rooted in physical theatre. Improvisations in movement, character, vocalizing, and writing are the basis for the creation and development of new works. For each piece there is a member of the Ensemble who serves as artistic lead, holding the larger picture in mind. In the past five years, UMO has created and performed the stunning, aerial fairy-tale Rapunzel; Final Broadcast, which tackled the question of the existence of time; Rubble Women, stories of endurance, directed by Sheila Daniels; and the revival of the acclaimed El Dorado, produced at ACT Theatre in 2010. Most recently, Red Tiger Tales, ancient teaching tales told through the eyes of red nose monk clowns, completed a two week run at ACT.
UMO’s Youth Arts Initiative brings extraordinary arts education to youth in our island community of Vashon and to under-served youth in the greater Seattle area through three distinct programs: 1. our School for Physical Arts, with aerial, acrobatic, and circus skills training, located in our home community of Vashon island; 2. Read With Me, an annual, intensive youth residency and performance program that explores reading with students below grade level; 3. PlayWrite, a Theatre Arts Immersion school residency program that has brought playwriting, performance and production skills to over 50 schools and assemblies across the Northwest.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In 2012, UMO embarks on the final stage of development of a brand new work: Maldoror – Birth of a SuperVillain.
Inspired by 19th century Surrealist writer le Comte de Lautréamont (pen name for Isidore Ducasse), UMO delves into Lautréamont's animal imagery and create new characters - zoomorphs.
A series of giddy, harrowing, collage-like scenes – full of UMO’s athleticism and visual beauty – are being created in collaboration with Seattle musician Andre Sanabria, a multi-instrumentalist with roots in noise, industrial, ambient drone and experimental electronics. Thanks to a grant from the NW Film Forum, the production will also incorporate film into its scope.
Surrealism, noise, costumes that produce sound through movement – all blended together in a concoction both thrilling and terrifying, an exploration of a true super villain – in an interchangeable series of scenes performed on the streets and in theatres across Seattle. Performances are confirmed for Fall 2012 at the NW Film Forum and West of Lenin, a stunning new theatre venue in Fremont.
Thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts, we have a strong investment to begin this project – our challenge is raising funds for the remainder of the budget, so that we can bring a new work to fruition with the incomparable artistry and quality UMO is known for.