Name: Kristin Stultz Pressley
City: Canton, NC
Main Hustle: I am primarily a stay at home mom of two boys, Jones, who just turned 6, and Freddie, who’s almost 5.
Side Hustle: I am a Musical Theatre Historian and Teaching Artist!
How did you get started?: When I was pregnant with my first son, I was teaching theatre classes at my collegiate alma mater. The local performing arts center had a new partnership with the university where I was teaching, and through it, they asked me to come and do a lecture before a performance of the musical “Les Miserables.” The week following that first event the PAC’s Vice President of Education asked if I’d be interested in doing similar lectures for each show in the Center’s Broadway Series. I couldn’t say YES quickly enough. That was seven seasons ago and has led to doing similar work with other venues across the Southeast.
When/where do you work on your Side Hustle?: I work from home – in an office that’s connected to my boys’ playroom, which can sometimes be *slightly* problematic. As much as I can, I work while my boys are in school, but often I have to prepare things when they’re home, which definitely gets tricky.
What are the challenges of your Side Hustle?: Did you read the part about my office being adjacent to the playroom? 🙂 The biggest challenge for me, probably, is geography. I love to travel, and it’s a good thing, as I often joke about being a “circuit-riding Theatre Historian.” The companies I work with are each between 80 minutes and three hours–one way!–from my home in western North Carolina. Geography definitely limits how much my business can grow, but I am elated to be working with each venue that I do and am so grateful to have the opportunity to do something I’m passionate about. Further there are worse ways to spend an afternoon than in my car–ALONE!–for six straight hours 🙂
What are the rewards of your Side Hustle?: I knew when I had my boys that I’d want to stay home full time. Until the opportunity described above presented itself when I was pregnant, however, I’d never considered that there may be a way to have my cake and eat it, too. That I can be available to Jones and Freddie, while still pursuing my passion for Musical Theatre History, seems too good to be true. As I said I am beyond grateful for the opportunities God has given me.
Who is your greatest supporter?: This is a two-part answer: logistically, it’s got to be my very patient, very accommodating husband. When I’m on the road to a presentation, he’s the one who picks the boys up from school and feeds them and gets them in the bed. Without his consistent, willing partnership, I could never do this.
I have to credit my parents, as well. They’re the ones who paid for all of the tickets to see all of those shows as I was growing up. They suffered through my COUNTLESS hours of “performing,” along with an unending number of cast recordings. They cheered me on, as I pursued each theatre degree (BA, MA, PHD), and even still, when something exciting happens–I partner with a new theatre or am invited to speak at BroadwayCon, for instance– they’re the first ones I call, for I know they’ll be even more excited for me than I am for myself.
I am grateful for the love and care of this incredible support system.
Who/what is your greatest source of inspiration?:
To be honest I’d have to say my nieces. They are 12 and 15, and I want them to see as many examples of women pursuing their passions as possible in the hopes that they, too, will be inspired to pursue their own passions, whatever those may be.
As a Christian, I am also inspired by the knowledge that God gave us each gifts, and we are to use those gifts in a way that most glorifies Him. With each lecture, I seek to glorify the One Who made me with the ability to do what I do.
Have you received recognition for your work?: In 2012 I was so incredibly honored to receive the Bruce Kirle Emerging Musical Theatre Scholar Award presented by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE).
In 2017 and 2018, I was equally as honored to be invited to speak at BroadwayCon, a weekend-long gathering of Broadway’s biggest fans.
What is your dream for your Side Hustle?: My mission as “Dr. Broadway,” a name I adopted early on in my “side hustling,” is “Educating Theatregoers. Enhancing Theatregoing.” Truly I believe that the more a patron knows about a show, the more rich her experience of that show will be. My dream is that I will continue to have more and more opportunities to speak through Dr. Broadway but also to write. My first job after college was as a theatre reviewer for an Atlanta-area newspaper, and I currently write program notes for a handful of theatre companies. I’d love to see that line of work grow, as geography can be a deterrent to growing the speaking side of things.
Do you have any advice for others working on a Side Hustle?: Be open to whatever opportunities come your way. What I am doing now is not anything I ever envisioned for myself, yet I can’t imagine doing anything else. It takes a willingness to say, “Yes! I’d LOVE to do that.”
You never know what other doors may open when you’re willing to walk through that first one.