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We are used to the Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture/New World Performance Lab bringing cutting edge plays to the Balch Street Theatre.

This time things are different.  Instead of providing the actors and director, CATAC is taking the role of host by presenting “Warriors Don’t Cry,” a one-woman intense drama making the rounds on a national tour.

“Warriors Don’t Cry” is based on the memoir by Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals, one of the Little Rock Nine who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957-58. The play, co-written by Zita Christian and Scott Galbraith, was produced by The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, and has been performed in New York City and throughout New England. Now it has been on a nationwide tour that will conclude in 2013.

The narrative line of the drama is 15 year old Melba’s take on the endurance she had to have to put up with shunning, the name calling, violence and potential violence, and discrimination as she and eight other African-American students maintained their dignity by continuing to go to school. Almeria Campbell will play the role of Melba as directed by Richard C. Aven.

Almeria Campbell as Melba Patillo in "Warriors Don't Cry." Photo courtesy of New World Performance Lab

Almeria Campbell as Melba Pattillo in “Warriors Don’t Cry.” Photo courtesy of New World Performance Lab

 

Yet the play, according to representatives of The Bushnell, deals with larger issues relevant to today – bullying chief among them.

Word from CATAC is that the play is family-friendly – that is, good for children in grade four through adults.

The Bushnell will also conduct two public workshops, free of charge, as part of their residency in Akron. The workshops, entitled “Share Your Story,” will be held on Wednesday, January 16 at 7 p.m. and Friday, January 18, at 3 p.m. in The Balch Street Theatre.

“Warriors Don’t Cry” will be presented on Thursday-Friday, January 17-18 at 7:30 p.m. at the Balch Street Theatre, 220 S. Balch St., Akron; 330-867-3299; www.nwpl.com. Tickets are $10 ($5 for students).

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