UA Director receives Outstanding Artist in Theatre Award

By Heather Beyer

Director James Slowiak, theater professor at The University of Akron, will be recognized for the Outstanding Artist in Theatre Award from the Akron Area Arts Alliance on Nov. 20. The award is given out every two years in the Akron area.

Slowiak was nominated by a variety of people, primarily from The University of Akron, for the work he has done with New World Performance Lab and also the Colorline Project that culminated last year in a performance by his students at EJ Thomas.

The Colorline Project “concerned the broad history and current state of race relations in Akron based on stories we had collected from people in the community,” explained Slowiak. “The Outstanding Artist in Theatre Award is more of a recognition. I was very moved and proud of over 20 years of work here in the Akron area, at the University, with New World Performance Lab and all the various collaborations of people I have worked with,” Slowiak said.

“I think it is an award for me that extends beyond just me but it is recognition of the kind of experimentation, innovation and collaborative work that I think needs to be supported and recognized,” Slowiak said. According to Slowiak, Northeast Ohio is a great areas for the arts, featuring excellent theater and performance.

The New World Performance Lab will be celebrating its 20th anniversary here in Akron this year. The company is currently working on the production “Gilgamesh.” They will be premiering the production at their new space, the Balch Street Theater, formally the Jewish Community Center, in Akron in early 2012.

“I always really enjoy working with Jim [Slowiak] because I feel he is always working on different concepts and there is a very high level of professionalism and precision’” said Kim Woodworth, actress in Slowiak’s production of “The Great God Brown.”

“I really feel like I grow as a person as well. It is not just doing a show to do a show, but it is exploring a very valid issue that is rooted in the present time,” Woodworth said.

UA actress Jovana Bukvic also thinks highly of the director.

“Jim has a way of getting the most out of his cast and crew. He will let you fly free while at the same time steering you into the right direction and leading you to a place where you are giving 110 percent, ‘ Bukvic said

Bulvic is also currently acting in “The Great God Brown” at Sandefur Theater. Performances are Nov. 10-12 at 8 p.m. Pre-show discussions are at 7:15 p.m. on Nov. 11 in room 299 of Guzzetta Hall.

“My favorite thing about Jim is that he sees things in you as an actor that you never even knew were there, and then helps you surface those things and better yourself. He is the type of director that you don’t mind working long tiring hours for, because he is there with you every step of the way,” Bulvic said.