As we move into 2020 we are happy to feature one playful lady who happily shares with us what she wants to be when she grows up which is her beautiful childlike self.
Interviewed by Lorrie Holmes
As a ventriloquist and family entertainer, Kellie Haines started talking to her stuffed animals at the tender age of eight. When they started talking back, she knew she had a show to do! Kellie has made great use of her background – after all, she holds a BA with Specialized Honours in Drama and is a multitalented entertainer with a background in theatre, clowning, singing and dance, but none of this has stopped her from dreaming big. And her dreams came true when she was cast as a puppeteer on a Jim Henson project for television. She’s also represented Canada in the International Show at Vent Haven Convention in Kentucky last July and this summer she is returning to the USA to perform her singing vent act for both children and adults alike. Through her work as a ventriloquist and a teacher of drama, Kellie also works as a behaviour interventionist for the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
Today we are thrilled to feature Kellie in an interview about what it’s like to live her dream each day by playing for a living. We will start off with asking her about her favourite time of the year, Christmastime, which is fitting with the holidays just coming to an end. Kellie shares with us how we can remain playful all year long by never losing our sense of wonderment.
KiDS NEWS & REViEWS: I hear you are a big fan of the Christmas holiday season. Tell me what it means to you.
KELLIE: Sure! Children still experience that wonderment at Christmastime that is magical. I get a big kick out of looking in and through their eyes – they inspire me to tap into my own inner kid. When Christmas comes along, no matter what is going on in the world, I feel this sense of hope. Christmas wakes me up to what is really important. As an adult, I love this time of year because I work with kids for a living and you get to feel this energy and excitement that is very real. Their energy seems to really ground me which is interesting. I think I picked the right vocation!
KiDS NEWS & REViEWS: I think you did as well! Tell me about your family Christmases when you were a kid.
KELLiE: I’d love to! Christmas was always a highlight of the year for the Haines family when we were growing up out in the country on a farm. Our parents made Christmas fun and special with lots of music. At Christmas, we would have our cousins and aunts and uncles come by for family sing-a-longs. I remember playing the spoons, while Mom was on piano, Dad was on harmonica, and my uncle, on guitar!
KiDS NEWS & REViEWS: That sounds really fun. I understand you have a Christmas show you do every year. Tell us about it and about why it’s so special to you.
KELLiE: For sure! My Christmas show Journey to the NorthPole is a musical adventure with singing, high kicks and lots of ventriloquism. We just finished two shows. One show was at the Michael J Fox Theatre which was a fundraiser for the Canadian Hard of Hearing. For this show, an interpreter stands on stage with me as I perform. I love how ventriloquism works for everyone and it’s all about this electric energy in that movement of the puppets and the audience’s reaction. Magrau The Bird starts getting all the Christmas songs mixed up and leading the kids to laughing fits. Their belly laughs are contagious and I think I may get more out of the whole deal then anyone! Kamilla, my frog puppet, tells the story about the dance of the 100 Frogs. 100 Frogs is a song I wrote with actions. The kids and adult volunteers come up on stage and help me tell the 100 Frog story through song and movement. Later, Santa actually calls on my 1970’s Fisher Price phone – a prop that my friend Jeni gave me from her childhood. When Santa calls and tells us he needs our help getting his sleigh off the ground, we travel to the North Pole – via outer space – to help him out. Like most of my shows, this holiday show is all about kids coming on stage to help tell the story. Often, it’s the first time a child gets to feel what it’s like to be on stage and it’s so much fun to see a child off to the side dancing to the beat of their own drum, just in their own world, taking things very seriously and rocking out to the beat of the song. I actually get a lot out of the shows because the adults get the jokes underneath the surface and it just makes the entire show.
KiDS NEWS & REViEWS: So how can we hold onto that magic all year round as adults?
KELLIE: Adults can hold onto the magic of childhood or tap into this ‘sense of wonderment’ of childhood in simple ways. For example, simple little things like watching how children stand; the way they hold their heads and bodies and move – it’s magically really. I listen to their voices and observe the little things that they see. It’s soothing when you are at the level of a child physically and see the world from the floor – or just being at their eye level. Anyone can tap into that place where anything is possible when they stop and take a minute and watch or hear or observe children in play. I find that little moments of observing do the trick for me and bring me back to my own inner child.
Thank you Kellie, for sharing this story with us. You can learn more about what Kellie does by visiting her website here. We look forward to seeing you in action at one of your shows soon and also, for all you teachers, Kellie is also available to be booked into your classroom for some seriously fun puppet play projects!
For more on Kellie Haines & Company, please visit her at