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Check Out Jill Kyle-Keith’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jill Kyle-Keith.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I graduated from U of Md in 1979 with a BS in Performance Theater. Went to NYC, starved as an actress all the while making my rent doing puppet shows. A lightbulb went off- I’m being paid to be on stage! So I came back to Md, worked for several other companies, and started my own in 1988.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Being self employed is like having two jobs with one paycheck- you’re the performer AND the staff. And there have been plenty of obstacles- most notably, AIDS hit the puppetry community pretty hard in the eighties, and that was a difficult time for all of us professionals. Other than that, the usual answers: Motherhood and Money!

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I do musical marionette shows, costuming and props, for a variety of clients from local daycares to international arts and performing festivals. I’m most proud of making a living out of the thin blue air- no boss, no office, no politics, but enormous trials and tribulations just staying afloat sometimes. Live theater is a tricky business- you’re either sitting around waiting for the phone to ring or you’re so rushed off your feet you have no time for breakfast!

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
Weird. Smart. Funny. Interested in everything at once- art, history, comedy, performing, etc. For years, I originally wanted to be an archaeologist and went to a summer university session in the UK at 16. Puppetry encompasses so many disciplines- art, sculpture, live performing, you name it. So I’ve been pretty lucky to find a career that has such a variety within it!

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