Stagecoach theatre school

(43 Posts)
BellaLasagne Fri 15-Dec-06 14:30:59

My 7 yr old DD is getting rather good at ballet (got a distinction in her primary exam), is learning the piano and just loves musicals and Strictly Come Dancing etc.

I'm thinking of trying her in something like Stagecoach - does anyone have any experience of them? Good points, niggles (cost being one)??

Thank-you

SchneeBallFight Fri 15-Dec-06 14:40:13

dont know much but my cousin went to stagecoach and loved and rated it- a negative will be the some of the horrid pushy mothers you WILL encounter. Best of luck though!

CliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Fri 15-Dec-06 14:44:05

<note to self: step away from the thread!>

FioFio Fri 15-Dec-06 14:46:02

hmm I was going to look into stagecoach for my ds, i didnt realise it was for exceptional children

why dont you ring them up? they advertise in our local paper weekly

CliffRichardSucksEggsinHell Fri 15-Dec-06 14:46:28

<sits on hands>

mummydoc Fri 15-Dec-06 15:04:21

my dd1 about the same age as op 's dd goes andloves it, no pushy mothers , we just drop her off and pick her up, no parental involvement at all, they do run a national casting agency aswell but your child has to be picked by her stagecoach principal to be represented , you cannot ask/insist for your child to be on the books. hope your daughter loves it as much as mine . ( my dd1 is quite a talented singer but pretty useless at dance - there is no audition so i don't think it is for exceptional children at all) . we do live in a very rural backwater htough and parents maybe more pushy in london...

MerryMegandSnowySoph Fri 15-Dec-06 15:09:41

Cost depends on the age £120 odd a term for under fives & £140 odd for overs. Also you have to buy kit too.

Is there no local drama schools you could sign her up for?

MrsMaloryTowers Fri 15-Dec-06 15:13:18

stagecoach is open to anyone

our kocal one is 300 quid for ten weeks(three hrs on a saturadya)

plus t shirt and jazz shoes

MerryMegandSnowySoph Fri 15-Dec-06 15:22:03

Ours is £120 odd for each dd, for four weekends if I could afford to send them I would send them, it does sound great.

So have been investigating the local drama schools. Am considering one in Blackpool that works alongside the Grand Theatre and is £3.50 each a session. Or possibly the circus school hehehehe

I does sound great though Bella

BellaLasagne Sun 17-Dec-06 14:38:18

Thanks for all the replies so far...anyone else got an opinion?

I've looked at their website, and yes, it is £300 a term so need to know if it's worth it.

There's not much else around here. We're in the West Country away from any cities.

P.S. Sorry for posting on this board, I didn't know where else would be appropriate.

PartridgeinaRustyBearTree Sun 17-Dec-06 14:45:50

I though about it, but at our local one you have to do an hour each of drama, dancing & singing & while DD loved drama & would have quite liked the dance, she hates singing, so I thought it an awful waste. It was £300 a term here too & that was when DD was 11 (now 16)so it could be more.

ParanoidAndroid Sun 17-Dec-06 14:48:35

Why not ask your local theatre(s) if they have a youth drama group? Generally IME they are less awful than some of the stagecoach type groups.

iwouldloveadollypleaseSanta Sun 17-Dec-06 14:55:37

i would definately try her in a weekend drama club first before taking the drastic (and costly) step of sending her off to stage school. I went to one between ages of 10 and 18 and it was great to have the opportunity to be involved in drama etc, gain professional tuition, but also be able to go to my school where drama was not rammed down my throat 24/7. 'Stage' people can be very intense and competitive in a not particularly helpful way. if she then wants to become a professional she could go to drama college/ballet school when she is a little older and has had more experience of performing. i didn't chose that route but several of my drama group are now to be seen regularly on TV

julienetmum Sun 17-Dec-06 21:12:01

If you would like to email me on julief1_bw @ hotmail.com I will gladly answer any questions you have about Stagecoach.

perfumelady Sun 17-Dec-06 21:35:05

both my girls go to stagecoach, they both love it, money well spent in my eyes, my eldest dd lacked confidence and has come on in leaps and bounds, my yougest dd is just singing ,acting and dancing mad she looks forward every week to her 3 hours at stagecoach, our stagecoach is lucky as we are based near to a theatre that gets all the touring westend shows and many of the children have had the opportunity to get into these shows.i would also see if you have a youth theatre, most boroughs have one. youth theatre is as good as stagecoach and costs less.ebay is a great place to get those expensive uniforms at half the price.

josiepoise Wed 14-Jan-09 16:34:12

Have any of you thought about Perform?


I am a former teacher of Stagecoach and of Perform. I just left Perform 2 years ago to have a baby. I think I should mention some things I personally experienced as a teacher that Stagecoach don’t tell you.


Stagecoach is a massive franchise and anyone without experience can buy a school. When I worked for Stagecoach I had no experience with kids at all. There were no auditions or training. At Perform I had to go through a rigorous three round call back audition and stringent reference checks. When I worked for Stagecoach they didn’t even do CRB checks (Criminal Record Bureau) on me or ask for any references - a bit dodgy really as we were working with kids.


Also at Perform we went through loads of long training sessions and had a strict set syllabus to follow every week where we encouraged the kids to think and use their imaginations. Where as when I worked for Stagecoach I was told just to ‘teach them some games’.


I don’t want to sound like I’m a salesperson for Perform but from what I personally witnessed and now as a mother myself with a young daughter, I just feel its something that everyone should know and I know which school I’d rather send my children too.


I’ve just posted practically the same message on Netmums, because I went for a search to see if they are still operating and found all these people talking about Stagecoach. It scares me..


Jp

gibba8 Wed 14-Jan-09 20:08:12

Josiepoise-I tried googling Perform and there were no results-where can I find out if there are any classes near where I live?

2winmum Wed 14-Jan-09 21:10:17

Hello everyone! I hope you don’t mind me adding my thoughts on the discussion. I am a specialist drama & theatre arts teacher, Principal of 5 Stagecoach schools, and the mum of 5 year old twin girls. So I experience Stagecoach as a parent, teacher & school Principal. I wouldn’t ordinarily reply to such a discussion, but upon reading josiepoise's comments felt it crucial to respond.

JP's comments are incredibly personal and I feel should be taken with a pinch of salt. It would appear to me that she has some sort of axe to grind and there are many things that she writes about Stagecoach that are incorrect. If her experience is the truth it certainly shouldn’t be considered as the norm, so I'd like to provide another view if I may.
Firstly, Stagecoach do not just let 'anyone' run a school. There is a rigorous interview process and experience in education and the performing arts are essential before you're even considered for interview. Secondly, I am appalled that she was employed to teach without any experience working with children (this is an almost unheard of exception rather than the rule). All potential teachers have to submit a written application for a job, out-lining subject specialty, training, skills and experience - and also attend at least one interview. Once appointed the Principal works closely with them to ensure they are planning and developing their teaching as they should be. Stagecoach prides itself on the fact that every member of the team has a CRB check that is clean before they begin teaching. The students are the first priority, and they also have a very comprehensive Child Protection Policy in place. Alongside this, Stagecoach schools are inspected regularly by an external school Inspection Agency to ensure high standards, and provide parents with peace of mind that their child is experiencing the very best performing arts education.
It is true that Stagecoach do not have a strict set syllabus, as this approach can restrict the teachers from developing their own material and teaching strengths. There is though a strong framework in place for the teachers to work within. Each term also has its own aims and objectives to ensure the children continue to gain confidence and develop their skills in each discipline. The Principal is in-charge of overseeing the work and guiding the development of the curriculum each term. Again it is the extreme exception rather than the rule that a teacher should be told to just ‘teach them some games’. JP is providing one opinion, and I would have to question her motivation in conducting a web search & posting this comment.

Stagecoach has over 700 schools providing professional teaching to now over 37,000 students in the UK & Ireland. JP’s one-off experience can not stand up against the number of children who return to their Stagecoach School term after term because of the valuable skills they learn, fun they have, friendships they forge & experience they gain each week. There is a reason why Stagecoach celebrated its 20th Birthday recently.

Finally, I’d just like to comment on the fact that Stagecoach Theatre Schools are not specifically for ‘gifted and talented’ children – but for all children. We aim to build confidence, self-esteem and develop skills in all our students – Training for life.

To find out more about the schools in your area please visit www.stagecoach.co.uk Many thanks for taking the time to read what I know is an extremely long post! It had to be written though. Best wishes for 2009 xx

Hulababy Wed 14-Jan-09 21:17:19

I find these big organisations just so expensive. And for us they are a no go as they take place on a weekend and last for a good couple of hours or more - we don;t have weekend time available.

I looked around and found 6y DD a smaller drama class instead. It costs us £3.50 a week for an hour's class. It is lovey and she really enjoys it. She has learnt lots about planning a show -- the children have to think up all the ideas, develop their own scenes, select characters, practise scenes, etc. as well as doing structured activities to develop drama tpe skills, voice training, confidence building, etc. as well.

classic62 Thu 15-Jan-09 11:29:08

Think it depends on who runs the franchise. My ds did 3 terms and although appeared to enjoy it...I didn't feel it was not value for money! The teacher changed each term....information was given at last minute about performances. I was never introduced to the person in charge.....on first day was ignored and had to go and find the teacher. Although i didn't expect a perfect performance.....what we did get was by any standard not good! Children basically stood there looking at each other which is fine but was lead to believe they had made up a little show.
On every occasion it was always left to the parent to say hello....sometimes myself and others felt like they shouldn't be there!
Having said the above I know of others that people think are excellent...I guess like everything rely on your first impressions...they are usually right!.

I looked at a local Stage Coach for dd2. Hideously expensive imo. She goes to a (very good) drama class once a week run elsewhere, after school, and where a few of her friends go too. They all love it.

(I do not class dd2 as G&T, am simply responding re Stagecoach)

Rubyrubyrubyknittedknickers Thu 15-Jan-09 11:43:07

My DD does the 'Helen O'Grady' drama.

It is only 1 hour a week and she loves it.

info here

islandofsodor Thu 15-Jan-09 11:49:58

I can only echo everything that 2winmum has said. I hope that I am known enough on mumsnet for people to realise that I have no axe to grind and whilst I have replied to questions about Stagecoach I do not use Mumsnet as a vehicle to promote it at all.

Jo has searched out this post and posted a carbon copy post on other forums in the last 2 days.

Jo, you say you searched to see if we are still operating. Last year we celebrated our 20th anniversary, we must be doing something right.

It is true that we do not force our teachers to teach a strict curriculum with set lesson plans. I am glad of this as it allows flexibiliity. Even teachers in school teaching to the National Curriculum are free to use their own skills to create their own lesson plans. Each subject does have a set of guidelines with points that a group is expected to cover over the course of a year.

I would not be involved with an organisation or send my own daughter to one that I did not believe to offer value.

islandofsodor Thu 15-Jan-09 12:08:29

Is it a co-incidence that there are at least two other threads onhere from different users who have dragged up old threads in order to reccomend Perform.

One was on a thread asking about Dalcroze based kindergarten music at a major music school. I posted on that to give advice as I am a fan of Dalcroze, nothing at all to do with Perform or Stagecoach for that matter.

Koumak Fri 16-Jan-09 10:24:13

I am just looking at these various websites mentioned here and unfortunately it seems that Helen o Grady classes are from 5 onwards so that one is out. Does anybody have a webpage for the Dalcroze?

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