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News > Alumni Interview > Clemmie Milnes

Clemmie Milnes

Our Michaelmas 2022 OP Interview was with Clemmie Milnes.

Bit of background, where you live, what you do for a living:

I lived in Moreton Pinkney in Northamptonshire from the day I was born until moving to Winchester University in 2001 to study a BA Hons in Choreography Dance And Drama. Afterwards I moved to London to study a Masters in Drama and Movement Therapy at The Royal School for Speech and Drama. After two years I moved back to Northamptonshire in 2016 where I live with my boyfriend in a small village called Boughton with our Husky called Lily. I am the Co-director and owner of the Born to Perform Dance School and Day Care Provision for children and adults with Autism and Learning Disabilities in Northampton. I predominately teach musical theatre along with the day-to-day running of the company. I am also a qualified Mat based Pilates instructor, I teach at a local gym and privately in people’s homes.

When were you at Princethorpe - years from and to? 

I joined Princethorpe in 2005 straight into Year 9 and left in 2008

What was the school like in your day?

I absolutely loved school, much to the dismay of any of my old teachers reading this! The school itself had just built the amazing new sports block as well as the sixth form centre, so I was able to enjoy both facilities during my time there. I always felt very proud to go to Princethorpe and if I drive past, from time to time, I find memories of the good times flood back.

How did Princethorpe affect the person you are today? 

That’s a tricky question. I moved schools in Year 9 because I wasn’t happy where I was and felt even at that young age, my gut instinct was telling me I needed a change; and I’m so glad I did. I’m a great believer of everything happens for a reason. I didn’t know what I wanted to be during school and even when I left, and it took me until I was 30 to really find my passion. The passion being performing arts and working with children and adults with learning disabilities, helping them to express themselves through dance, drama and music.

Princethorpe helped me to explore different subjects, mainly Art, Sport and Fitness and Drama all three come into my day to day life and work. I didn’t find out I was severely dyslexic until I was 21 which caused a lot of self-doubt in my school years. However, now I draw strength from my dyslexia knowing it’s a part of what makes me, me. It helps me to connect with my clients on a deeper level. I choose to draw from my past experiences to help others to not have to go through the same thing I did in terms of never feeling good enough.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

Do your homework and don’t choose boys over books! Get up for the bus on time and look after my skin a little better! But most importantly, always ask for help.

Who or what has been the greatest influence on your life?

Firstly, my father is the greatest influence of my life, and he probably has no idea. Battling with chronic illness for over 20 years and having numerous strokes, he still gets up every day and lives his life and manages to maintain the best sense of humour ever. He is the greatest example of mind over matter and core resilience. Secondly, my mother for my being my father’s rock but also showing tremendous strength through some of the most turbulent of times. Finally, my students, for making me laugh every day and constantly reminding myself and others that having a learning disability should never hold you back.

What keeps you awake at night?  

I often dream I am teaching or directing in my sleep which can often provide light entertainment for my boyfriend! However, if I thought I had upset someone in any way that would usually keep me awake until I could resolve it. But mainly now being 16 weeks pregnant, sleeping is just not the same as it used to be!

What has been your proudest moment/greatest achievement so far?

My proudest moment and greatest achievement so far was watching my Born to Perform students dancing on Britain’s got Talent and receiving the Golden Buzzer from David Walliams at The London Palladium. The group went on to reach the semi-finals of the competition. It was a dream come true, for the world to see what I see every day; they are incredible and deserve to be recognised for their excellence. I am so proud and always will be, I will never forget that moment. The company was created by myself and two friends just before lockdown in 2020, if we hadn’t of believed in ourselves then we wouldn’t be where we are today.

What is your biggest indulgence?

Clothes shopping! Always has been and always will be. Even though because of my work I spend my life in leggings and trainers, I still love anything to do with fashion and having my own sense of style and identity. I think it’s important to do what makes you feel good and dressing well for me is one of them. Oh and my oat milk coffee in the morning is not only an indulgence but it’s also compulsory!

If you had to have one last meal, what would it be?

I’m hoping that this means three courses haha! I’d start with a fish starter of whitebait or scallops with a glass of champagne, followed by a medium rare steak with chunky chips, side salad and another side of mac & cheese, maybe a few onions rings too. A glass of red too please. Pudding would have to be a bit of a trio of desserts including chocolate profiteroles, crème brule and a lemon posset! All this talk of food has reminded me of the flapjacks we used to get at school with melted chocolate on top, can I add one of those in too please?

If you could be anywhere right now, where would it be and who would be with you?

If I could be anywhere right now, I would be at The Ty Coch Pub on Morfa Nefyn beach in North Wales with my family drinking a cold beer. My brother and I would be planning a swim in the sea and some possible cliff jumping.

Lasting memories of Princethorpe:

Mr Kerrigan’s English lessons, the sixth form pantomime of Jack & The Bean Stalk, hockey with Mrs McCullough and Miss Coccane, unforgettable drama with Mrs Carpenter, Mr Hubble embracing my weird art ideas, an incredible experience on South Africa tour and all the ski trips, where I never stopped laughing. Making lifelong friends.

Are you in touch with any other Old Princethorpians, if so whom?

I’m still in touch with some fellow Old Princethorpians: my best friend Dani Black, I am her maid of honour next year, Nichola Tame, Malachy O’Keeffe, Tom Warner, Harvey Broadbent, Josie Logue, Roxanne Nanton, Sanj Jaspal, Henry Muntz and Jack Van Spall.

Is there anyone you would like to track down? 

I would always be delighted to reconnect with anyone who reads this and would like to catch up!

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