About Akropolis Performance Lab

Founded in 2000 by Co-Artistic Directors Joseph and Zhenya Lavy, Akropolis Performance Lab (APL) is Seattle's premiere ensemble-based theatre company. The ensemble practices rigorous, ongoing vocal and physical training and devises original work through long-form rehearsal process. APL's signature aesthetic, Theatre of Polyphony, is our original approach to crafting ensemble performance events that symbiotically interweave music, movement, and poetry to tell compelling and vital stories while reinventing the given spatial location and audience relationship to our art. Company members include Annie Paladino (Associate Artistic Director), Catherine Lavy, Emily Jo Testa, Jennifer Crooks, Joseph Lavy, Margaretta Campagna, Matt Sherrill, Sara Kaus, Tyler J. Polumsky, and Zhenya Lavy. The co-artistic directors' artistic lineage comes through the Central and Eastern European heritage of Meyerhold, Vakhtangov, and Grotowski. Recent work includes Ecce Faustus (2016), The Glas Nocturne (2015), and Pomegranate & Ash (2015). The ensemble hosts quarterly Salons and offers regular workshops in physical and vocal praxis. Akropolis Performance Lab is a Washington State Non-Profit Corporation.

Watch footage from C+P’s premiere

Excited about Crime + Punishment’s Seattle opening January 5? Us, too!

Want a sneak peek? Check out this great footage from last month’s world premiere!

Tickets are selling strong. Buy your tickets today!

Please also consider donating to our end-of-year giving campaign. Because we’re the lucky beneficiaries of a giving match challenge, every dollar you give will be stretched: donations received between now and December 31 will be matched 1.5:1, and donations received January 1-15 will be matched 1:1. Donate today!

Special thanks to Margaretta Campagna for her stellar camera and editing work!

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Support APL this Giving Tuesday!


We at Akropolis Performance Lab have a lot to be thankful for, and YOU are a big part of that! You attend our productions and Salons, share and comment on our blog and social media posts, submit plays for our annual New Play Salon, and so much more. You truly inspire us to keep pushing toward new heights in our work.

On November 28, APL will be one of more than 30,000 organizations participating in #GivingTuesday, a global movement dedicated to celebrating and encouraging philanthropic giving during the holiday season.

This year’s Giving Tuesday also marks the launch of our crowdfunding campaign for Crime + Punishmentthe third and final phase of fundraising efforts for this project. Our goal is to raise $6,000 between now and January 15.

Crime + Punishment, APL’s original adaptation of Dostoevsky’s finest novel, has been nearly two years in development. We are so excited to finally share it with you and look forward to seeing you at one of our shows in Akron or Seattle!

Please help us achieve this final goal by making a donation to our Crime + Punishment campaign now.

And while you’re thinking about us, please also help spread the word about our #GivingTuesday campaign by liking us on Facebook and following us on Instagram.

More information about Crime + Punishment and purchasing tickets is here.


Crime + Punishment Ticket Sales are Open!

Venture into the lower depths of 19th-century St. Petersburg, where the mysteries of the Russian soul and intellect, crime and love are deeply, irrevocably entwined as we reveal the mind of a killer in his search for meaning and redemption. Did we mention there’s a hurdy gurdy?!

Find complete information about Crime + Punishment: a psychological account of a particular crime on our SHOW PAGE.

Tickets are now on sale for performances in Ohio and Washington. Reserve your seats today!

Nov 30 – Dec 2 | Akron OH – Balch Street Theatre
Jan 5 – 13 | Seattle WA – West of Lenin


Crime + Punishment will play at West of Lenin

If you’ve been watching for announcements about our upcoming production of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, please note our new venue:  West of Lenin!

We will perform Crime + Punishment: a psychological account of a certain crime at that outstanding Fremont venue January 5-13.

This production marks the first time since 2004 that APL has elected to produce a full-scale work in a traditional theatre space.

Our work has always been developed with sensitivity to the relationship between the performance art and the specific architecture it inhabits. We call our work “site responsive” – designed to interact organically and flexibly within each unique space used.

Over the years, we have produced in a Beacon Hill historical estate house, the Volunteer Park Water Tower, a church sanctuary in Ballard, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community lodge, and the basement of our own home. Although it’s been awhile, we also have produced in conventional theatre venues such as On the Boards Studio, Capitol Hill Arts Center (CHAC), Freehold and Seattle Chamber Theatre (when the Oddfellows Building was an arts space), Theatre4, and The Balch Street Theatre.

Wherever we perform, rest assured the artistic principles, vision, and commitment to austerity and intimacy that define our work as uniquely APL will continue to guide us without compromise.

Crime + Punishment: a psychological account of a certain crime, formerly referred to under the working title 730 Steps, is developing into a highly theatrical piece. A small, invitation-only rendering in July yielded great feedback for our fine tuning.

We can’t wait for you to experience the finished piece at West of Lenin’s beautiful theatre!

Ink us in for a date: January 5-13 at West of Lenin, 203 N 36th St, Seattle!

Ticket info coming soon.

Call for Submissions: New Plays

(L-R) Playwright Stacy Flood takes notes on the discussion about his new play, The Pleasure & Sorrow of Your Company, as fellow playwrights Olivia Pi-Sunyer and Ina Chang listen. | Photo: Zhenya Lavy

(L-R) Stacy Flood and fellow playwrights Olivia Pi-Sunyer and Ina Chang absorbing the group discussion of Flood’s “The Pleasure & Sorrow of Your Company.” | January 2015 Sunday Salon | Photo: Zhenya Lavy

APL invites submissions of new plays for a developmental reading at our New Year New Play Sunday Salon in February.

This call is for new plays that have not yet had a developmental reading. While we are most interested in a full-length piece, we are open to other synergies and ask current or former PNW playwrights (emerging or established) to submit their long- or short-form plays for consideration.

The play(s) will be read by local actors at our February 11 Sunday Salon, and the reading will be followed by lively, lightly moderated discussion among the artists and intellectuals attending. There will not be a rehearsal, but APL’s artistic directors will provide guidance to the actors for their preparation, as needed. We also will confer with the playwright both before and after the reading, provide limited dramaturgical assistance, and offer the playwright the opportunity to frame questions for the discussion.

This Salon will be an invited event focused on bringing an optimal mix of people into the space to focus on your play. Although we cannot offer a stipend or travel funds, we promise a rich and productive experience for the playwright. And, as with all APL Salons, the gathering includes great community, food, and drinks.

DEADLINE TO SUBMIT: Sunday, December 10, 2017.

NOTIFICATIONS: January 14, 2018. Please note that our selection committee  provides feedback to all playwrights about their submissions. We view this as a service to fellow artists in the future evolution of their work, regardless of whether it has been selected for our Salon. If you prefer not to receive any feedback from our selection committee, please indicate this on your cover sheet.


  • Send PDF or DOC files to ensemble@akropolisperformancelab.com, and write “Submission: [Title]” in the subject line.
  • Along with the complete script, submit a cover sheet with your full contact information, short bio, brief synopsis of script, development history (as applicable), character breakdown, a brief statement of your hopes for how this reading might help further the play’s development, and indication of your feedback preference.
  • NO FEE.


FANGS by Jim Moran | January 2014 Sunday Salon | Photo: Zhenya Lavy

FANGS by Jim Moran | Inaugural New Year New Play Salon | January 2014 | Photo: Zhenya Lavy



What a Great Audience!

Take Me: Pulkheria Floating | Emily Jo Testa

Take Me: Pulkheria Floating | Emily Jo Testa

Wow — we had a full house at Friday’s rendering of 730 Steps! Two lucky people even got to experience our work from the middle of the action, with seats in the playing space! We’re so grateful to everyone who came out to support this important part of our development process.

We were especially touched by the number of people who hung out with us well past 1:00 AM chatting not only about what they’d just seen but about their lives and things going on in the world in general.

Special thanks to Milena Hranac for her help getting us ready for the event and for running lights!

It was a wonderful evening. You have given us much to think about as we shape 730 Steps’ final form for performance.

If you attended and upon further reflection have new thoughts to share, feel free to send us an email. We welcome all of your feedback.

Watch this site for announcements about performance dates!

This project is sponsored, in part, by a grant from 4Culture.

Get a Sneak Peek at 730 Steps!

Devising Duklida: Joseph Lavy (R) provides feedback to ensemble members (clockwise from L) Emily Jo Testa, Tyler Polumsky, Matt Sherrill, and Annie Paladino during the devising process.

Devising Duklida: Joseph Lavy (R) provides feedback to ensemble members (clockwise from L) Emily Jo Testa, Tyler Polumsky, Matt Sherrill, and Annie Paladino during the devising process.

Please join us Friday, July 28, for a full rendering of our work-in-progress on 730 Steps.


This was the culmination of a year’s work, which began July 23, 2016, with a reading of the initial rehearsal script. As with any new-work, and especially with source material of the scope and complexity of Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, the generative phase of our development process has been richly rewarding. We now have a wealth of material to put in front of an audience for feedback.

What is a rendering?

Akropolis uses “rendering” as a particular term of art. On the one had, there is the common sense definition related to performance and the word rendition: representing or depicting something artistically; causing something to be; submitting something for inspection. However, in our work “rendering” always incorporates an older meaning that is less commonly used today: melting something down; extracting parts; or clarifying (as with butter). For APL, a rendering is always an opportunity through performance — whether for an audience of 100 or 1 — to present work for inspection for the express purpose of clarifying it, identifying parts to cut, rearrange, or reshape.


The July 28 rendering is an important part of 730 Steps’ development process. The feedback we receive will help us shape the final form of this massive production!

You can expect to see scene work developed to date, in continuous performance. Where there is material still to be devised for major plot points, we will represent that material in a more temporary performance manner. While the finished piece will incorporate music, we will not perform music as part of the rendering. Actors will be in costume. Major props and set pieces will be used, and there will be basic theatrical lighting. Audience will be seated on 3 sides of the action on padded chairs, and there will be risers for optimal viewing.

Plan for a 4 hour viewing. The rendering begins at 7:30 pm. You are welcome to arrive as early as 7:00 pm. Light refreshments will be provided.

This one-night event is free and open to the public. However, to comply with the wishes of our donated venue, we ask that you send us an email requesting an invitation. Seating is limited, and invitations will be sent out by email on a first-come, first-served basis.

We hope you will join the ensemble around the table afterwards to talk about your observations!

4Culture Logo
This project is sponsored, in part, by a grant from 4Culture.

Hitting the Road Next Fall

Rehearsing a murder | Tyler Polumsky & Annie Paladino

Rehearsing a murder | Tyler Polumsky & Annie Paladino

APL has accepted an invitation from the Center for Contemporary Theatre & Active Culture (CATAC) to present  730 Steps as part of Ohio-based New World Performance Lab’s (NWPL) 25th-anniversary celebration season!

Co-Artistic Directors Joseph and Zhenya Lavy were founding members of NWPL, with Zhenya serving as the company’s music director. It is through their work with NWPL and its co-artistic directors, James Slowiak and Jairo Cuesta, who were longtime collaborators of Jerzy Grotowski and authored Routledge Performance Practitioner’s Grotowski, that the Lavys began their journey among the Grotowski diaspora. They not only participated as work leaders in the final year of Grotowski’s Objective Drama program at the University of California-Irvine, but also developed the foundations of the artistic aesthetic, praxis, and ethos which define APL’s work and distinguish our ensemble among Pacific Northwest theatre companies.

730 Steps is APL’s new adaptation of Dostoevsky’s dark, psychological masterpiece Crime and Punishment. This is APL’s fourth performance encounter with Dostoevsky. And while Joseph Lavy has been working on the textual adaptation for more than a year, the seeds of this work were born in the early 1990s.

Watch for more announcements about this exciting tour, as well as our local performances in Seattle.

Welcome Jennifer Crooks as Porfiry Petrovich

Jennifer CrooksJennifer Crooks is our newest APL Affiliate Artist, joining the 730 Steps cast to take over the role of Porfiry Petrovich!

Jenny has been seen locally with GreenStageReAct Theatre, and Ghost Light Theatricals. She’s also appeared with Chesapeake Shakespeare Company and  Constellation Theatre Company.

We can’t wait to get started on our collaboration!