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, Columbia, and various U.S. cities, including Chicago and New York.
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 is described on its website as follows:
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.
New World Performance Laboratory is currently housed at The Balch Street Community Center in West Akron