Jamila Anderson grew up in the neighborhoods around Pillsbury House, and joined the afterschool program in first grade. She remembers painting, making pottery, and playing with puppets. “There were a lot of things that, as a child, were scary about living in this neighborhood,” she recalls, “but this was a place where you could escape all of that.”
Jamila pursued her passion for the performing arts in college, and upon graduating, she returned to work with Pillsbury House Theatre’s Chicago Avenue Project and Breaking Ice ensemble (both of which she still performs in regularly). Around that time, she was also cast in her first PHT Mainstage production, Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches, as the Angel: “I am still so honored that I was trusted with that role.”
Over the years, Jamila has seen Pillsbury House grow and evolve. “I’ve seen the lobby paint change many times,” she says with a laugh, “but I feel at its heart, Pillsbury House Theatre has always been about the community and putting up work that’s relevant and challenging—and that’s important.”
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photo of Jamila Anderson by Kelsye A. Gould, 2014