UND Today

University of North Dakota’s Official News Source

UND Theatre presents ‘The Conference of the Birds,’ April 18-22

Final play of UND Theatre’s 2022-23 season reimagines a 12th-century epic

From left to right, Patrick Cote, Stevee Wittlieb and Tacy Crawford play Peacock, Hoopoe and Dove in “The Conference of the Birds.” Photo courtesy of UND Theatre.

Who: UND Department of Theatre Arts

What: “The Conference of the Birds,” by Peter Brook and Jean-Claude Carriere (Based on the poem by Farid ud-Din Attar)

Where: Burtness Theatre

When: 7:30 p.m., April 18-22

Tickets: $20 for adults, $10 for students, free for seniors and military (with ID)

Box Office: UND Department of Theatre Arts, 701.777.2587

UND Theatre closes the 2022-23 season with “The Conference of the Birds,” by Peter Brook and Jean-Claude Carriere. This play is based on the 12th century poem of the same name by Farid ud-Din Attar.

It begins as all of the birds gather to choose who should be their sovereign. When the Hoopoe suggests that they should find the fabled Simorgh, the journey is set. Each bird in the group represents a characteristic that prevents mankind from attaining enlightenment. They travel through seven valleys before reaching their “destination.”

UND’s take on the play is directed by guest artist Egla Hassan, who last directed UND’s production of Sweeney Todd in 2019. The show features students portraying the birds and other characters as they complete their journey. Elegant settings, costumes, sound and lighting designs will help lead the way.

The UND Department of Theatre Arts looks forward to seeing everyone for the last show in a distinguished season.

About the director

Egla Birmingham Hassan is an accomplished director and professor of theatre whose 32-year career at Western Illinois University includes heading the MFA program in directing and helping young theatre artists find their own voice.

Hassan is now retired from teaching and is a freelance director, looking for opportunities to tell stories that give audiences a look at the world, and sometimes a mandate to make it better.

Production Information

Production Team:

  • Directed by Egla Hassan
  • Assistant Director, Choreography: Emily Wirkus
  • Costume Design: Kylie McDonald
  • Assistant Costume Design: Tacy Crawford
  • Scenic & Lighting Design: Brad Reissig
  • Sound Design: Otto Lieder
  • Technical Direction: Patrick Reading


  • Hoopoe: Stevee Wittlieb
  • Nightingale/Bat: Ella Henry
  • Herron: Piper Sommer
  • Peacock/Sparrow: Patrick Cole
  • Dove: Tacy Crawford
  • Owl: Otto Lider
  • Walking Bird: Brigitte Froslee
  • Exotic Bird: Jace Toutenhoofd
  • Falcon: Eric Isaacson
  • Parrot: Camden Gifford
  • Characters: Tyler Hebert, Brigitte Froslee, Isaac Anderson, Anissa Overson, Kylee Gifford

Production Staff

  • Production Stage Manager: Jenna Lester
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Janet Freenauer, Skylar Mack
  • Properties Lead: Gloria Knudson
  • Scene Shop Assistants: Ariel Long, Grace Rhoads, Andrew Maxwell, Jenna Lester
  • Costume Shop Manager: Kylie McDonald
  • Costume Shop Assistant Manager: Julie Ries
  • Drapers: Julie Ries, Anne Mitchell
  • Stitchers/Headpiece Crafters: Tacy Crawford, Averie Eixenberger, Anne Mitchell, Anissa Overson, Julie Ries, Otto Lieder
  • Light Board Operator: Paige Hansen
  • Sound Board Operator: Gloria Knudson
  • Master Electrician: Jenna Lester
  • Lighting Crew: Adrianna Fiorni, Eden Abrham, Yumin Kim, Zack Retka, Faith Jones, Gyu Ri Kim, Jace Toutenhoofd
  • Backstage Crew: Tanner Lykken, Minyeong Kim, Brandon Denny, Nick Lillemoen
  • Box Office Manager: Ashlie Schelm
  • Online Publicity: Piper Sommer
  • Publicity Design: Brad Reissig
  • Special Thanks: Students of THEA 110, THEA 260, THEA 326