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Dale Miller to the rescue

From assistant director to centipede, in Young People’s Theatre’s James and the Giant Peach

Dale Miller is both assistant director and the Centipede in Young People’s Theatre’s production of James and the Giant Peach. Credit: -

Dale Miller’s plan to quit acting isn’t going well. A self-described bossy type (“Just ask my ex-husband”), the 19-year stage veteran was starting to find performance limiting. After careful meditation, he decided to take the same plunge that took Sarah Polley to new highs and Kevin Spacey to new lows. What I really want to do, he said to himself, is direct.

He scored a coup when Young People’s Theatre head Allen MacInnis offered him the role of assistant director on James and the Giant Peach. Everything was going swimmingly until an actor twisted an ankle a week before opening. Scrambling for a replacement, the producers turned to Miller. Stepping into his role as the tough-guy Centipede is daunting. But his years of experience and the fact he’s been in the room since Day 1 made him the obvious choice.

There’s also his natural adaptability. An “RCMP brat,” he’d lived in eight different cities by the age of 10. He joined the drama club at 12 as a way to make friends. By graduation, he’d done more than 10 shows. He went on to Acadia University to study performance, though his mother’s pleas for a sensible career path meant he added a minor in music education. He spent a couple of years in the school system but quit to pursue acting full time. 

As for his return to the boards, Miller is doing his best to hold it together.

“It’s insane,” he says, on a break from rehearsal. “But I’ve only cried twice in the past two days. You think you know something watching from the outside. But it’s a totally different ball game when stepping in with no time to rehearse. Everyone’s been wonderfully supportive, though. And wine helps.”