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Mildreds' Umbrella

     Mildred’s Umbrella began in 2001 when local actress Jennifer Decker and playwright John Harvey brought together a group of artists and actors to create a collaborative theatrical piece written by Harvey and directed by Decker. Since then, the company has grown into a fixture of Houston’s performing arts community. Known for bringing edgy, new work to Houston and pushing the envelope of theatre, Mildred’s Umbrella uses the art form to explore our world and present audiences with thought-provoking works. Now in its thirteenth full season, the company has produced a variety of pieces including mainstage, full-length plays, theatrical works in conjunction with lectures at the University of Houston, Fringe Festival pieces, and Museum of Dysfunction, a popular festival showcase of short originals currently in its ninth iteration. Mildred’s Umbrella’s recent seasons have been highly successful, with sold-out shows for three regional premieres, one world premiere, and three original pieces presented by the company, earning quotes from the press, such as “fitfully fascinating” (Houston Chronicle – The Flu Season), “kicky, clever and utterly unpredictable” (The Houston Chronicle – Margo Veil), “strangely compelling and funny…glorious, absurd contours” (Houston Arts Week – Night of the Giant).

     With a love for collaboration, Mildred’s Umbrella has worked with Bobbindoctrin Puppet Theatre, Wordsmyth Theatre, University of Houston Honors College, Houston Community College, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Houston Public Library, and others to further enrich the city’s artistic scene. Additionally, the company maintains strong ties within the Houston artist community, exchanging ideas and resources with fellow theatres and dance groups, and always employing independent local artists. In an effort to help grow and strengthen the Houston theatre community, Mildred’s has hosted four workshops to provide local actors the opportunity to attend prohibitively expensive workshops at a discount price and is now redesigning Museum of Dysfunction to provide an avenue for emerging student writers to have their work produced and learn about playwriting hands-on from established writers.

     Since 2011, Mildred’s Umbrella has made dramatic strides to increase its impact on the Houston cultural landscape. From 2012-2018, the company partnered with Stark Naked Theatre (now 4th Wall Theatre) to lease Studio 101 at Spring Street Studios, a 100-seat black box theatre in the growing Washington Avenue Arts District. The company completed the Houston Arts Alliance Resident Incubator program, a three-year intensive program geared toward helping small arts groups build organizational capacity, in 2016 and joined Theatre Communications Group, the national trade association for American theatre, in 2013. Highlighting a long-held focus on works by women, Mildred’s Umbrella pledged support for the “50/50 by 2020” campaign of the League of Professional Theatre Women in 2014 and has been tirelessly working to promote gender parity in the theatrical arts ever since. In 2018, the company embarked on several major changes: The company moved from Studio 101 to Chelsea Market Theater in the Museum District, engaged the artistic company in staff operations, and diversified its offerings to present fewer large productions and more small events, such as curated reading series, outreach events, and revivals of forgotten works by women.

     Although Mildred’s Umbrella is overjoyed with all it has been able to accomplish since its inception, its work in the Houston theatre community is far from over. Always and forever, Mildred’s Umbrella eagerly looks forward to what the future may bring, and will continue, with unbridled fervor, to seek out new ideas, new issues, and new topics to explore with the help of its wonderful patrons and perpetually dedicated artistic professionals.

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Mildred's Umbrella Theater Company seeks to challenge audiences and theatre artists by creating and performing bold, innovative, and fresh theatrical works grounded in the best traditions of the dramatic arts.

With a strong feminine presence in our artistic vision, we strive to feature the work of female playwrights, actors, and directors, which promotes the empowerment of women through the performing arts.

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National Endowment for the Arts grant for The Mother Project


Houston Press Best Original Play: Dollface

Selected for the Midi-America Arts Alliance's Engage Program


Houston Press: Nominated for Best Artistic Director 

(Jennifer Decker)


Best Costumes for Samuel Beckett's Ladies Night 

( Laura Moreno)


American Theatre Wing National Theatre Company grant

Broadway World Houston Best Play: The Drowning Girls


Houston Press: Best Theatre Company on a Shoestring Budget


Best Actress for The Hunchback of Seville 

(Patricia Duran)


Houston Press: Nominated for Best Artistic Director 

(Jennifer Decker)

International Center for Women Playwrights' 50/50 Applause Award


Houston Press: Best Original Play, Rot


International Center for Women Playwrights' 50/50 Applause Award


Houston Arts Alliance Resident Incubator Program: Class of 2016

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