2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Would you let a 10-year-old child cut your hair?

By Rachel Woodward, January 19 2016 —

The 30th annual High Performance Rodeo draws to a close at the end of the month with a performance piece entitled Haircuts by Children at Eau Claire Market.

These fifth graders will give out free haircuts. // JohnLauener

These fifth graders will give out free haircuts. // John Lauener

The free event aims to take audience members completely out of their comfort zones — and directly into the hands of fifth grade students from Abbeydale School — for exactly what the piece’s title suggests.

The students involved in the event were trained by hair-cutting professionals, and will demonstrate their skills for free on willing participants from 12:00–4:00 p.m. on Jan. 30 and 31.

Toronto-based theatre company Mammalian Diving Reflex created the art project, which they’ve showcased worldwide since its 2006 debut.

Alicia Ward, the project’s local coordinator, says the piece places an importance on trust in relationships, no matter the age.

“Oftentimes, in a situation where there is a child and an adult, the adult is given the responsibilities and the power,” Ward says. “This is really interesting because now you have an intimate moment between an adult and a child and you are subverting the power dynamic by letting the child make all the decisions. We don’t give a lot of trust to children because we don’t think they are capable of doing this and having responsibility.”

Ward thinks her piece is a good fit for High Performance Rodeo because of its unique view.

“One of the rules [of the event] is that the kids are not allowed to cut their family member’s hair, and the stylists aren’t allowed to speak with the clients or touch their hair. The kids have all the power. This is reinforcing that kids are smart, and they have the ability.”

Haircuts by Children is taking reservations for haircuts online at haircutsbychildren.bpt.me.

Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet