From a box office assistant to interim CEO of Birmingham Royal Ballet, via leading Dance UK and Florida’s Orlando Ballet, it’s been quite a journey for Caroline Miller – picking up top awards and an OBE along the way
BEEN THERE DONE THAT
I joined Birmingham Royal Ballet as interim chief executive officer (CEO) for 12 months in February 2018 having previously been executive director of Orlando Ballet in Florida. I started my career as a box office assistant and worked my way up as a marketing officer and then as a publicist in the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and with the international art book publisher, Phaidon Press. In 2006, I took on my first leadership role as director of Dance UK, the national body representing the professional dance sector. Highlights included helping open three free NHS specialist injury clinics so dancers can get similar health support to professional athletes. The biggest milestone at Dance UK was my work initiating a merger of Dance UK with three other dance charities to make a bigger, stronger support body for dance, called One Dance UK and in 2017, I was awarded an OBE for services to the arts.
IT’S WHAT I DO
I help the artistic team to realise its vision by ensuring that the business side of the company runs well and we secure enough resources to ensure that BRB continues to be one of the major ballet companies in the world. BRB employs 180 permanent staff and up to 300 freelance and casual staff during our tours each year, so for an arts organisation it’s a big company.
WHAT I’D LIKE TO SEE?
To continue helping the BRB raise the profile of if its work in the local community. Projects like Dance Track which sees the company work with nearly a quarter of Birmingham’s primary schools for last 21 years and its own company of dancers with learning disabilities, called Freefall, should be known about and celebrated. On a personal note I’d love to help women with cancer.
Receiving the De Valois Award for Outstanding Achievement at the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards 2015. That year it was awarded to the amazing ballerina Sylvie Guillem and me! It was a complete shock.
BIGGEST LESSON LEARNED
My mum told me when I was doing my finals: “You can’t eat an elephant all at once, just take one bite at a time.” I use this mantra every day. More recently my wonderful chairwoman at Orlando Ballet, Sibille Pritchard, told me: “I pick my heart attacks.” Very good words to follow!
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT BRUM
Being in the foyer of Birmingham Hippodrome when the audience is flooding in to see BRB perform and the excited children, a lot of little girls dressed up in their favourite outfits with sequins! I’ve also loved meeting the local Birmingham people who have been dedicated supporters of BRB.
I love to swim or going on holiday, (involving more swimming and diving off boats into the sea). My favourite places are Menorca and also Florida now, especially a very beautiful town called Winter Park, which is set on a chain of lakes. You can paddle board, kayak, water-ski or take out your boat – I wouldn’t swim there though even though they say there aren’t alligators, I wouldn’t trust that advice!