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ArtYard presents staged reading of play exploring the catharsis of hair salons


ArtYard Playwright Fellow TyLie Shider’s newest play explores the transformative, often unsung, power of salons and the intimate relationship between hairdressers and their clientele.

ArtYard presents a free staged play reading of “Shoptalk,” a new play written by Shider, at 3 p.m. Saturday, at the McDonnell Theater. A discussion with Shider follows the reading.

Shider is a playwright, poet, and journalist who was born and raised in New Jersey and lives in Minneapolis. He was the inaugural playwright-in-residence at ArtYard in 2022, is a two-time recipient of the Jerome Fellowship at the Playwrights’ Center, and an I Am Soul playwright-in-residence at the National Black Theatre.

“Shoptalk” comically explores themes of grief and the cathartic relationship between a cosmetologist and their clientele. The staged readings will be directed by Daniel Boisrond, a New York-based actor, producer, and founder of 35 creatives, and produced by Deonté Griffin Quick, ArtYard’s theater curator and a nationally recognized, award-winning arts administrator.

Shider’s writing career began in earnest in the hair salon his mother owned until he was about 12.

“I’d use the dialogue I overheard in the salon to create comic strips, and then I’d Xerox the comics and sell them back to her clients on Saturdays,” Shider said. “I had like a little newsstand set up in the front of her salon.”

At the reading, the actors will showcase the development of the play with early staging, lighting, and multimedia in place. The goal is for the playwright to hear the written play spoken out loud in front of an audience to understand how his intentions are received so he can make edits if needed.

The ArtYard Playwright Fellowship launched this year with Shider as the inaugural fellow as a professional opportunity that recognizes and supports merit as well as the professional status of a mid-career playwright who demonstrates a sustained and consistent body of work. Shider has been in residence since earlier this summer developing new work.

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