Desi P. Shelton wields arts as a hammer, constructing community in New Jersey’s poorest city – TAPinto.net

4February 2021

CAMDEN, NJ (Feb. 3, 2021)– Desi P. Shelton is a lady on an objective, working to construct community “using the arts as the hammer” in Camden. Camden continues to make substantial gains considering that 2012, when it was named by the U.S. Census Bureau as the poorest and most harmful city in the country, however remains the poorest city in the state of New Jersey, with 35.5% of its population living listed below the poverty line.As starting creative director of Camden Repertory Theater and a metropolitan female of color, Shelton makes every effort to amplify the voices of the unheard. Now, her latest play, Child Support, remains in advancement as she considers a post-Covid, August opening as part of Child Support Awareness Month.With Child Support, audiences will discover themselves immersed in the world of single, Black “child mom “Ajani and her 17-year-old daughter, Muff, sitting ideal inside their living-room, since the theater itself is integrated in a transformed typical Camden row home. Sign Up for Camden Newsletter

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TAPinto Camden Newsletter.”It's what I call installation theater,”explains Shelton, who

founded Camden Rep in 2006.” We become part of the Black Theater Matters motion. This is' small ‘theater, in which we use and are grateful for whatever resources we have.”The story of Ajani and Muff, and how they face the emotional and financial consequences of coping with a deadbeat daddy, is a full-length, stand alone sequel to Shelton's earlier play, I Killed My Baby's Daddy. That solo piece, which comprehensive Ajani's efforts to “eliminate “her feelings for her infant's dad and move on, was a breakout success for the company. In an essay for global theater platform Howlround, Shelton

composed,”Camden city buzzed because now they saw their storieson stage. Cause if Camden Rep doesn't give the voice of the girls from the hood a lorry to change life into art, a phase to emote, a location to put damaged glass into an elaborate kaleidoscope, then who will?”Child Support was offered a current reading by Camden's Community Planning & Advocacy Council, an independent non-profit organization that works with over 300 social service and health & firms, as wellas many public and private organizations, to promote and collaborate Camden County's human services programs; to secure and enhance the lifestyle for susceptible individuals; and to promote social, racial and financial justice.The imaginative team consists of set designer Lily Guerin, costume designer Rebecca Kanach and composer Jamal P. Dickerson. Shelton got her B.A. from Northeastern University and her M.F.A. in theater from Sarah LawrenceCollege. Upon going back to Camden, she heard her pals and next-door neighbors complain that they werenot invite at local university venues, that they had no artistic outlet in Camden, and that their stories were being left untold– leading Desi to found Camden Rep, attracting very first time theatergoers in the African American community and increasing audience participation by 200%. In addition to producing plays, the business uses theater to enhance life and literature skills of at-risk children through its P.A.C.E.(Preparing Artists for College Entrance)program, which helps students get ready for college auditions; helps with the application and financial aid procedure; deals supplementary education in composed language, cultural, financial, psychological and social literacy; and develops jobs and apprentice training for returning college students.Shelton has actually received the Valentine Foundation Award for female executives and is a Dodge Emerging Leader. She finished the Woman and Power Program at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government and is a recipient of a Leeway Transformation Award for social modification artists.

“Camden Rep informs the reality through the arts, no matter how painful or embarrassing,” says Shelton. “We aim to be the voice of' herstory'.”Camden Repertory Theatre is supported, in part, by the William Penn Foundation and the Geraldine Dodge Foundation. To find out more, go to www.camdenrep.com. ###

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