Industrial Valley



Akron, OH New World Performance Laboratory (NWPL) premieres “Industrial Valley” the third part of The Devil’s Milk Trilogy, based on Akron’s relationship with rubber and the rubber industry. Industrial Valley: The Devil’s Milk, Part 3 performs Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, May  11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20 at 8pm and May 14, 21 at 2pm at The Balch Street Theatre, 220 South Balch Street, Akron Oh, 44302. For information and reservations call 330-867-3299 or  Each performance will be followed by an audience engagement session. Admission is $15 general admission and $10 students. The Devil’s Milk Trilogy is funded in part by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of the Knight Akron Arts Challenge.

Industrial Valley is an ensemble-devised theatre performance based on one-time Beacon Journal reporter Ruth McKenney’s acclaimed 1939 account of class and industrial conflict in Akron, Ohio. NWPL, under the direction of co-artistic director and University of Akron theatre professor James Slowiak, brings to life Depression-era Akron and the labor movement. Malcolm Cowley called McKenney’s historical novel “the best American example of proletarian literature.” Industrial Valley: The Devil’s Milk, Part 3 is a stunning example of NWPL’s 25 year working process resulting in a dynamic theatre performance with music, songs, dances, and stories from Akron’s rubber workers.  The NWPL ensemble consists of co-artistic director Jairo Cuesta and long-time company members and Akron residents Debora Totti, Justin Hale, and Chris Buck, with new members Rosilyn Jentner, Robert Keith, and Kyra Kelley. The performers are supported by resident costume designer Inda Blatch-Geib, resident set designer/technical director Kirsten Williams, resident lighting designer Chris Hariasz, and media designer/videographer David Cranston.

Each part of the trilogy stands on its own as a performance event and takes on a very distinct theatrical form and style, providing a stimulus and forum for a frank discussion about the city and the rubber that shaped it. NWPL’s Devil’s Milk Trilogy  has received funding from the Char and Chuck Fowler Family Foundation, Akron Community Foundation, and Ohio Arts Council.

About NWPL

NWPL is an internationally acclaimed ensemble of theatre artists that has been active in Northeastern Ohio since 1992. Since taking up residence at The Balch Street Theatre in 2011, NWPL has produced a number of exceptional productions including “Virginia Woolf’s ORLANDO” and “Gilgamesh: He Who Saw Everything” as well as hosting various theatre companies such as Studium Teatralne (Poland), TAPIT Theatre Ensemble (Madison, WI), Akropolis Performance Lab (Seattle) and  Akron’s Ma’Sue Productions. NWPL spearheads numerous community projects, training sessions, educational programs, and performances throughout the region, nationally, and internationally.