The Devil’s Milk Trilogy

Devils Milk I Rehearsal copy

NWPL actor Jairo Cuesta rehearses “The Devil’s Milk Part 1: Death of a Man.”


Akron, OH –Akron’s Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture (CATAC) and New World Performance Laboratory (NWPL) will receive a $15,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to support the development of a new performance event, “The Devil’s Milk Trilogy,” based on the history of Akron and the city’s relationship with rubber.

CATAC and NWPL will devise “The Devil’s Milk Trilogy” in six intensive two-week work sessions between March and November 2015. Each work session will culminate in an open rehearsal and talkback session with the public. The entire trilogy will begin performances in January 2016 at the company’s home base, The Balch Street Theatre, 220 South Balch Street in Akron. Each part of the trilogy will stand on its own as a performance event and take 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. The Knight Foundation’s support will help to pay for artists’ stipends during the development process and allow CATAC/NWPL to offer ensemble members and local theatre artists the opportunity to refine their craft.

University of Akron Theatre Arts Professor James Slowiak, who is CATAC President and NWPL Co-Artistic Director, said, “Many other communities across the country have developed performances that tell their story. “The Devil’s Milk Trilogy” will attempt to do that for Akron. Theatre provides an educational and entertaining way for a community to confront its past and dream its future.” The performance event will be based loosely on John Tully’s book, “The Devil’s Milk: A Social History of Rubber,” along with other historical and fictional sources.

About CATAC and NWPL

CATAC serves as the administrative umbrella for NWPL, 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, CATAC has produced a number of exceptional NWPL productions including “Virginia Woolf’s ORLANDO” and “Gilgamesh: He Who Saw Everything” as well as hosting various theatre companies such as Studium Teatralne from Poland, TAPIT Theatre Ensemble from Madison, WI, and Ma’Sue Productions. CATAC/NWPL spearheads numerous community projects, training sessions, educational programs, and performances throughout the region, nationally, and internationally.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes journalism excellence worldwide and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers once owned newspapers. Knight Foundation supports ideas and projects that can lead to transformational change.


CATAC/NWPL: James Slowiak,, 330-867-3299



Knight Foundation: Nicole Chipi,