Four of a Kind: Keith Shubert on the local puppetry scene

Keith Shubert. Photo by Jen Ben Media

Editor’s note: This is part of “Four of a Kind,” a new Arts & Culture feature. Each month, four new artists will share their takes on the local art scene. In addition to individual online posts, you can find all four features as a single spread in this week’s print edition.

Keith Shubert is a Canton-based puppeteer and toy maker who performs under the name Toybox.

Xpress: Is there an upcoming puppetry event happening in Asheville that you’re looking forward to seeing?

Shubert: I’m very excited about the prospect of new venues in the area, especially those that cater to more nontraditional performances and acts that are a little different or outside the box. Story Parlor has been hosting a variety of very cool events, including puppetry, comedy, storytelling and even clowning. Toybox Theatre is working on producing a semimonthly, all-ages, Saturday morning puppetry program at The Magnetic Theatre to feature our own productions and bring to town amazing guest artists who are the best in the region — and even the world.

Outside of puppetry, what other upcoming local arts happening intrigues you?

I recently attended a “crankie” performance [in which a series of boxes that hold a scroll of drawings or paintings move across the “screen” to help tell a story] at Lamplight AVL and was very impressed with the community support and level of excellence in the performance. Lamplight is hosting residencies for all sorts of visual and performing artists who meld genres and perspectives. And, of course, I’m very excited to see my beloved Sly Grog Lounge on the mend after the tragic fire a few months ago. They’re hoping to be ready to open back up in October.

What current project are you working on that you’re especially excited about?

Toybox Theatre will be producing a massively fun Family Circus Celebration on Easter Sunday [April 9]. The event will include games, comedy, an egg hunt and guest artists, including a traveling aerial acrobatic troupe. (Visit for more details.) We also hope to bring back Monthly Monster Maker, which was an all-ages, community art game that ran for a year and a half before the COVID-19 pandemic.


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About Edwin Arnaudin
Edwin Arnaudin is a staff writer for Mountain Xpress. He also reviews films for and is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) and North Carolina Film Critics Association (NCFCA). Follow me @EdwinArnaudin

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