Judy Cooper Lyle, designer and theatrical producer, founded Phyllis Productions in 1998 to produce works by beginning performers, and to manage The Urban Spectrum Theatre, a multi-cultural inner city theatre company which she founded. She has been instrumental in bringing an extraordinary amount of new and emerging talent to the stage, and has produced and directed over 50 live stage plays for the inner city community of Minneapolis.
In 2008, she began designing clothes under the label Phyllis Designs that have a distinct theatrical flair to them, and are Asian and African inspired. She has been in several shows around the twin cities, including the Vogue Trash Ball, Taj Mode Annual Fashion Show, and private trunk shows at the Color Wheel Gallery. In 2013 she was invited to be a guest designer at the Hollywood Mansion runway show as part of LA Fashion Week.
The designs are created utilizing silk scarves, end-of-bolt fabric, “found” material, and vintage pieces. The designer’s goal is to create lovely, wearable, one-of-a-kind designs that remain affordable for women.
Judy Cooper Lyle
Judy Cooper Lyle, a North Dakota native and graduate in Theatre Arts from Moorhead State University, has been active in the Minneapolis theatre community, since 1974, when she founded The Urban Spectrum Theatre Company, where she is the artistic director. The company, a multicultural theatre for the inner city, works in particular with inner city young adults, offering mentorships and the opportunity for them to work with more experienced performers. She is a past member of the Minneapolis Arts Commission, and attended the Arts Leadership program at the Humphrey Institute. She has long been involved in community action.
Cooper has 20 years’ experience as a nonprofit administrator in Minneapolis, having been director of Pillsbury House for several years, and the instigator of Pillsbury House Cultural Arts Department, the forerunner to Pillsbury House Theatre. She has taught theatre arts at inner city charter schools, and has produced over 150 live stage productions. Her company manages the Urban Spectrum’s work, and produces their shows.
Over the past ten years she has written or adapted six new plays which were staged in Minneapolis, including:
“The Black Orchid: Josephine Baker”
(Josephine Baker was someone with whom she related, because of Baker’s “outrageous” lifestyle, her mixed racial heritage; Cooper Lyle claims English, Irish, French, and Muskogee/Creek Indian blood, the way she thumbed her nose at “the norm”, fought for racial equality, and loved and lived her life the way she wanted);
By and with special permission of the Oscar-nominated writer, John Sayles
a retrospective of blues from the 1920’s – ‘50’s
“Warm Dark Dusk”
A jazz music and dance production surrounding the poetry of Langston Hughes. She has been recognized with a special award from Arte Cultura de Minnesota, and has written a cookbook, Chicano Cooking for Gringos, which is on sale at the Color Wheel Gallery in south Minneapolis.
Phyllis Productions Stylist
Janay D. Henry
Born and raised in Minneapolis, MN, Janay D. Henry produces and styles visuals for publication and print. Clients including HypeHair.com have presented her work nationwide! With creative concepts and professionalism Henry continues to perfect her craft, building a lasting career in production and wardrobe styling. Cast by Judy Cooper Lyle for a production with Urban Spectrum Theatre Company, this has initiated a wonderful working relationship with Phyllis Designs.
Follow Janay on Twitter @lovinpr