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Meet Karen and life on Northern Ballet reception

Many people know our dancers but there are lots of people in our head quarters who are important to life at Northern Ballet and Karen Dixon, one of our Receptionists, is one of them. I had a quick chat with Karen to find out what life is like in our busy reception.

When did you join Northern Ballet?

I started at Northern Ballet in June of 2006.

How did you become a Receptionist?

I sort of drifted in to reception work when my family were young as it fitted around my commitments. I enjoyed it so much I kept on. I had previously worked at a school but my contract was finishing and I saw the post advertised for a part-time Receptionist at Northern Ballet. The great thing was it was at the old West Park building which was more or less opposite my house. What’s not to like? Out of bed, over the road and in to work!  

How many people work on reception?

We have a team of seven Receptionists. 

What is a typical day in the life of a Northern Ballet Receptionist?

I open up reception at around 8.15am. Hair brushed, lippy on, coffee made and then I am good to go. One of the caretakers unlocks the doors and then the day begins: Phones on, checking in physio patients, taking payments, greeting visitors, quick chat with some of the dancers and staff as they arrive, make bookings for the box office, any admin tasks and then late afternoon the children’s classes start. The atrium then becomes very busy with children and parents/carers. As I log off at around 5.20pm the evening Receptionist takes over and the adult classes begin. The building is also hired for meetings and conferences and these events can be very busy with enquiries from delegates and taxi bookings.

What is the most enjoyable part of working on reception?

Meeting and greeting I think. We also get people wandering in who need directions to other places. I am expert on giving directions to Leeds shops to people who are unfamiliar with the city.  Every year we get people coming in asking where the Disney auditions are being held. It is always at Yorkshire Dance which is over the road from us. I anticipate another influx very soon. 

If one person, famous or not, could come to reception who would you pick?

I have already met him! It’s Mr. Tumble from CBeebies. I watch him regularly with my granddaughter and I think he is wonderful with the children. When the BBC filmed Something Special here I rode up in lift with him to the fifth floor. I got his autograph, we had a chat and I am now a cool grandma! 

Communications Officer: PR and digital media

The views expressed in blogs are those of the author and not necessarily of Northern Ballet.