Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance announced today the appointment of Clarie Middleton, currently Chief Executive of the Hackney Empire, as its new Principal and Chief Executive Officer.

The appointment of the eighth Principal of the College was made by the Governing Body of the College. Clarie Middleton will take up her new post in February 2018. She is the first woman since Rose Bruford to be appointed to the role.

Clarie has over 25 years’ experience as an arts and cultural leader. She began her career working for Welsh National Opera before joining the Arts Council’s Touring Department.  This was followed by the formation of Clear Day Productions which commissioned and staged co-productions with Bristol Old Vic and Plymouth Theatre Royal. She went on to work with Thelma Holt Ltd for five years, touring large scale theatre productions and working with major international artists including Yukio Ninagawa, Vanessa Redgrave and Alan Rickman.

In recent years, Clarie has worked as a change management consultant for a range of institutions including the Hereford Courtyard Arts Centre and Watford Palace Theatre. She has also held interim Chief Executive roles at the Bristol Old Vic, Adzido Dance, and Exeter Northcott Theatre. In 2008, she served as the interim Chief Executive of the Students' Union at the University of Bristol, where she developed an operational model that could sustain the Students’ Union’s aspirations to support, represent and develop all of its members.

Since 2009 Clarie has been Chief Executive of Hackney Empire. Under her leadership the Empire has grown audiences, achieved a firmer financial footing and enhanced resilience (including the establishment of diverse income streams and Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation status through to 2022), and developed an inspirational artistic vision with diversity and inclusion at its heart.

She has also enabled key collaborations with, among others, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Northampton Theatres, Opera Philadelphia, the Apollo Theater in Harlem, the Armel Festival in Budapest, Cape Town’s Isango Ensemble, the Royal Opera House and English National Opera – as well as with Sony Europe/Hawkeye exploring new technology for digital capture.

Clarie has been a trainer for the British Council on their Creative Economy programme, an associate of CiDaCo in Leeds to deliver the Arts Council’s Developing Cultural Resilience programme, and a member of the International Jury for the annual Armel Opera Festival in Budapest since 2016. Clarie is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

When accepting the role of Principal of Rose Bruford College, Clarie Middleton said;

“Rose Bruford College is a truly distinctive specialist Higher Education institution and a creative community with a radical heritage and a history of innovation. I was hugely attracted by its values and aspirations around excellence and collaboration, transparency and empowerment, internationalism and partnerships – all of which are underpinned by real commitment to diversity and widening participation.”

The appointment of Ms Middleton comes at the end of a successful year for the Sidcup based college following the awarding of its own Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) and a Gold Award in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

Rose Bruford College Chair of Governors, Monisha Shah said;

“On behalf of the Governors, I am delighted to announce the appointment of Clarie Middleton as Principal and CEO of Rose Bruford College. The Governors and I know that Clarie has the vision, experience and stature to lead Rose Bruford College into the exciting next phase of its development and build on its recent successes, including TDAP and TEF Gold. We welcome her warmly to the team and look forward to working with her as she does so.”

Photo credit: Alex Harvey-Brown