New World Performance Laboratory

About New World Performance Laboratory

New World Performance Laboratory is the artistic arm of Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture (CATAC).

The mission of CATAC is:

To establish a forum for community engagement and educational outreach through collaboration with emerging and established artists and the creation, production and presentation of a diverse array of theatre, music, dance, and exhibitions that affirms the intrinsic value of all cultures and explores the transformative power of the arts for the greater Akron community. CATAC seeks to provide a home base for the research and performances of New World Performance Laboratory and nurture emerging local artists and those of international reputation creating new work and experimenting with new forms of expression.

CATAC’s aims are:

1) To establish a multi-use, multi-programmatic community cultural center that will serve the greater Akron community;

2) To create performances, exchange and training opportunities for students, artists, theatre practitioners, scholars, and others;

3) To offer educational outreach to the surrounding community through ongoing classes designed for diverse populations;

4) To expand the knowledge and practice of performance and to investigate the theatre’s possibilities to affect cultural change;

5) To maintain and enhance the international reputation of Akron as a center of performance innovation and research;

6) To improve understanding of human diversity and the creative act and to promote public comprehension of a wide spectrum of performance forms and techniques.

It is the mission of New World Performance Laboratory (NWPL) to create theatre events and pedagogical programs, to research performance techniques from around the world, and to develop a contemporary performance methodology for culturally diverse theatre artists.

New World Performance Laboratory (NWPL), under the artistic direction of James Slowiak and Jairo Cuesta, is an evolving community of theatre artists, operating under the umbrella of the Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture (CATAC). The company’s work has been featured in The Drama Review, Grotowski’s Objective Drama Research by Lisa Wolford, and The Grotowski Sourcebook, edited by Richard Scechner and Lisa Wolford. Since 1992, the NWPL has toured its performances to and conducted its workshops in Italy, Poland, France, Belgium, Bulgaria, Lebanon, Romania, Wales, Brazil, Colombia, and various U.S. cities, including Chicago and New York.

Tradition—our theatre tradition and our personal tradition—is essential to the work of the company.  We both embrace our traditions and we challenge them.

Our work is actor-centered.  The actor takes precedence in the process over all other production considerations.

Theatre serves as a vehicle for work on one’s self as much as a vehicle for work on the craft of performance and confrontation with an audience.

Our company is multi-cultural and inclusive.  We strive for a non-abusive and welcoming environment in which each artist’s heritage and contributions are respected.

We are in search of an eco-theatre, a theatre of no-ego—a theatre whose purpose is not to demonstrate one’s virtuosity or identity, but to penetrate one’s own humanity—to enter authentic space.  In this kind of work, theatre becomes a place where real meeting and contact occurs and the boundaries between individual and surroundings soften.  Inauthentic behavior dissolves.  Self is accepted because self is forgotten.

We accept the responsibility to be mindful of the challenges in working respectfully and effectively within a culturally diverse community.

We are a theatre of research, a theatre which operates in the craft tradition, where art is not separated from daily life, and we work towards excellence in the creation and presentation of all of our work.

More Information

Akron, OH 44313

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