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Creative Careers: Emily Deller

Emily Deller, Company Manager

Emily Deller tells us more about her role as Company Manager. 

Can you describe your day-to-day job? 

My day-to-day job is to look after the welfare of the dancers. I'm basically the link between the dancers and all the other departments at Northern Ballet. This might be making sure the dancers know where they’re going for rehearsals or booking them in for a costume fitting with Wardrobe. I deal with any issues or problems that come up and I also do quite a lot of admin work to make sure that everyone has all the information they need for rehearsals and performances. 

What jobs did you have before this role? 

I started out as a Stage Manager and then went on to work for Birmingham Royal Ballet as their Technical Administrator. I made the change because my Stage Management role was freelance, whereas the role at Birmingham Royal Ballet was a permanent position which gave me more security. From there I worked my way up in that company and became their Assistant Company Manager. I left to join the Matilda The Musical UK & Ireland tour in the same role. I then joined Northern Ballet in 2019.  

What qualifications did you take? 

For my A-Levels I studied Music and Performance Studies plus a BTEC in Production Arts. This was the course that made me decide what I wanted to do for a living. It gave me the option to do all the different backstage roles from Stage Management, costume, lighting and sound and set design. From there I did a three year BA Honours degree in Stage Management at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. We spent all of our time working on shows for the acting and opera departments and I absolutely loved it. 

What advice would you give to young people interested in a job like yours? 

I would suggest studying subjects such as Music, Drama and Art. If your school has a BTEC Production Arts then that’s definitely the closest you’ll get to learning about my job. While I went to university it's not necessary to do my job. I know a lot of people that did work experience in a theatre or shadowed someone who works there already and that’s really great experience to get. Often you can work your way up like that rather than going to university if that’s not the path you want to take. 

What skills are required to do a job like yours? 

There are quite a few skills that you need to do my job but the most important is being able to talk to people and being a good listener. People really need to feel like they can come and talk to you about anything, whether that be about work or just about life. You also need to be organised as there could be lots of different things happening at exactly the same time that you’re working on. 

Is there anything else you want to tell us about your job? 

The thing that people always think about my job, that maybe isn’t quite true, is that it’s really glamorous. Sometimes it can be - it can be really fun and you get to meet lots of people - but it’s worth bearing in mind that the hours are quite long and it can be quite stressful sometimes. It’s all worth it when you see the performances and how much the audience loves it.