UNION, NJ — Premiere Stages, the professional theater in residence at Kean University, has named Tylie Shider as the recipient of the 2021/2022 Liberty Live Commission, a biennial commissioning program for New Jersey playwrights in partnership with Kean’s Liberty Hall Museum.
Shider’s commissioned play, “Certain Aspects of Conflict in the Negro Family,” will explore a family’s internal divisions in response to the 1967 Plainfield riots. With tensions already at an all-time high between Newark residents and police, the arrest and assault of a black cab driver by police sparked protests and riots in surrounding communities, including Plainfield. The riots resulted in three days of looting, arson and protest and the death of a police officer, the consequences of which had an impact on the community for decades to come. The script will have three developmental staged readings in October 2021, and a full production of the play is tentatively scheduled for October 2022.
Shider is a two-time recipient of the Jerome Fellowship at the Playwrights’ Center and was a 2019 I Am Soul playwright in residence at the National Black Theatre. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Delaware State University and a Master of Fine Arts in dramatic writing from New York University. Shider was born and raised in Plainfield.
Now in its sixth incarnation, Liberty Live culminates with a professional Equity production of a new play that celebrates New Jersey history. Past recipients are “Talking to Westfield,” by E.M. Lewis, 2012; “At Liberty Hall,” by James Christy, 2013/2014; “My Lord, What a Night,” by Deborah Brevoort, 2015/2016; “Black Tom Island,” by Martin Casella, 2017/2018; and “Robey,” by Joe Sutton, 2019/2020.
New Jersey–based playwrights interested in applying for the commission are invited to submit proposals for new plays that specifically explore New Jersey history. In addition to expanded development opportunities, commissioned writers also receive $2,000 and access to a professional director and dramaturg. Premiere Stages also forges collaborations and partnerships with organizations, historical societies and community groups statewide that help to provide additional sources and build audiences for the culminating production. The next commission recipient will be selected in November 2022. Premiere Stages is dedicated to supporting a diverse group of writers; playwrights of all backgrounds, ages and experience levels are encouraged to apply.
Premiere Stages offers affordable prices, air-conditioned facilities and free parking close to the theater. Premiere Stages also provides free or discounted tickets to patrons with disabilities. All Premiere Stages facilities are fully accessible spaces and companion seating is available for patrons with disabilities. Assistive listening devices and large print programs are available at all times; publications in alternate formats are available with advance notice. Sign-interpreted, audio-described and open-captioned performances are available upon request; call 908-737-4077 at least two weeks prior to your desired performance. For more information, visit Premiere Stages online at www.premierestagesatkean.com.