Heather joined the Perkinson Team in November 2020, yet she had been dreaming about the space much longer than the time during her interview process. She is a ray of sunshine, an eternal optimist, and she runs circles around us to get ALL-THE-THINGS done.
Tell us about yourself.
Hi there! I'm Heather Miles, Office Manager at the Perkinson Center. I'm the Mom of two incredible adult children and the “Marmee” to three adorable granddaughters. I am the Artistic Director of a non-profit community theatre, Broken Leg Theater, that I helped build with my friends. I love musical theatre, glitter, baking cupcakes, and spreading kindness.
What’s your background in the arts?
As a teenager I knew I was most at home on the stage. I was very involved in both theatre and chorus at Thomas Dale High School and took great inspiration from my teachers Beth Harvey (Chester Middle), Harriet Schaeffer and Patch Clark. I dreamed of some day inspiring children through the arts the same way they inspired me. In 2010 after a 20 year hiatus I decided it was time for me to return to the theatre and quickly discovered I wanted more! With a shared vision some friends and I decided to build Broken Leg Theater which allows people of all ages and experience levels to participate in and learn about all aspects of theatre. I have served as the Artistic Director with BLT since its inception.
What excites you about working for the Perkinson Center?
Every day I wake up before my alarm sounds and I am ready to leave my house an hour before I have to be at work. I genuinely love what I do. I love the Arts, of course. I love serving my community. I love working in a building that’s so beautiful. I also truly love the team here at The Perkinson Center. Mars, Jon, and all the folks on the CCAF Board have made me feel so welcome and their support makes every day at the Perkinson Center a delight.
What hopes and dreams do you have for the Perkinson Center?
I feel like the sky is the limit with the things the Perkinson Center can do for Chester and the surrounding areas! We plan to offer classes and workshops so that people of all ages can learn about various forms of art. We plan to bring so much quality entertainment to the Jimmy Dean Stage - dance, music, theatre, and more! We plan to host events and weddings here. I would love to see this Center reach as many people as possible!
How will the Perkinson Center positively impact Chesterfield and the surrounding areas?
The Perkinson Center will bring the Arts to so many people in our community. I am a firm believer that art- in any form- has the ability to lift our spirits, heal our souls, and inspire us on so many levels. Residents of Chesterfield and the surrounding areas will now have the opportunity to experience the Arts without having to drive to Richmond. I am thrilled to be a part of bringing the Arts to this community that I love so much. I can't wait until the Center is full of people who are learning new things, having fun, and making memories with their families and friends.
Favorite show: How long have you got? I love so many! Godspell is my absolute favorite musical. I was introduced to the cast recording by my mother when I was a child. She'd play it and we'd sing along and I fell in love with the score. I have seen it on stage many times and in 2018 I was fortunate enough to take the stage in BLT’s production of it. I dedicated my performance to my Mom, naturally. Other favorite shows include: Waitress, Spring Awakening, The Music Man, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
My favorite artist is my boyfriend Les Harper! He is a professional illustrator and animator and is an Art Teacher at Thomas Dale High School, the Specialty Center for Fine Arts. I love seeing him work...even his doodles are fascinating! I often say that his artistic ability is his super power. That and his broccoli stir fry! Aside from Les I also have a deep affection for a painting by Gustav Klimt called The Kiss.
Something fun(ny) to know about you:
I have a tendency to burst into tears when I speak about Mr. Rogers! He was just so wonderful and had such an impact on me in my younger years. Making me cry about my love for Mr. Rogers has become something of a party trick for my family. Aside from Mr. Rogers love... I have a Miss Piggy collection. She's an icon that I relate to - she's a voluptuous blonde with big blue eyes and a princess mentality. She loves deeply, is a strong woman, she oozes confidence, she is all about body positivity, and she often saves the day! I'd like to think I'm a lot nicer than she is - but I sure hope to be that kind of hero! Miss Piggy doesn't make me cry, though.
Favorite space at the Perkinson Center?
The Jimmy Dean Theater, of course! I can't wait to see those seats filled with audience members who are experiencing music, theatre, and dance! I can't wait to hear that room filled with laughter, applause, and even the sounds of people crying because a piece was so beautiful. I'm also excited about performing on the stage myself some day!