Stagecoach or Razzamataz(12 Posts)
I've looked at a few posts on here and have been thinking about one of these for DD (6) for a little while. May start with a holiday course to test but would be interested in experiences people have had of these (good and bad) and some information on the differences. We are in the Bristol area.
The main difference that springs to mind is that Stagecoach has a class limit of 15 and Razzamatazz has a class limit of 25, hence are cheaper.
Razzamatazz are a much newer company. I guess that actual staffing would be similar though I am told by people who have worked for both companies that they pay their staff less.
When they first started out razzamatazz advertised that they covered a different style each week whereas Stagecoach tend to work termly. This may have changed becasue I can't see how that works long term.
Stagecoach are inspected every year by an independent agency.
The best thing to do as well is to have a look at the website at the qualifications and experience of the teachers. Some schools use amateurs or students a lot, others will have teachers who are well qualified. Ask if you can go and visit a session to judge for yourself.
Also ask about extra costs such as costumes, show tickets etc.
Have you though about looking for a school that isn't a franchise, which bumps the prices up as much as threefold.
Yes There are a few around which I'm slowly discovering. It's so hard to decide with out trying them though. I'll try and get some local recommendations. Thanks for the input
I will admit that I may be bias as I run a Stagecoach School in Reading .
I have worked at other local theatre-based schools and they are cheaper because they don't have to hire out a space. Most local theatres are also charities so they get quite a lot of funding from that. If you are looking for just Drama classes then I recommend you go with classes at a local theatre to be more cost affective.
Stagecoach was set up by a mother who spent a lot of her time driving her son from Dance Class to Drama Class to Singing Class and had the idea to save other parents the hassle by combining them all to one place on a Saturday morning. When I was looking into going into business for myself I looked into becoming a franchisee with Razzamatazz and it was a very close call! I have spoken to Debbie who started it and she is a lovely woman who is incredibly enthusiastic about what they do. They are an excellent company with a similar ethos to Stagecoach. There were two things that made up my mind about which franchise to invest in. One was the fact that Stagecoach pay their teachers more. Having been a drama teacher myself I knew that higher pay meant a higher expectations and standard of teaching. The other big reason was the class numbers. In my experience 25 students in a class is manageable but much harder to get a good quality standard out of each child.
Every school is different depending on who runs it but most of them will offer a 2 week trail for the cost of the deposit so you can try it before committing to a whole term. Since taking over my school a year ago we have helped one boy get into the Brit School in London while also helping a girl with Downs Syndrome gain more confidence and social skills.
If you have any questions about Stagecoach then please get in touch. I would also love to hear any feedback.
My ds and dd have both done 7 years Stagecoach and I would have said that it was ideal for them at the same sort of age as your dd. My ds was very shy and would have been lost in a larger class. It was perfect for building up his confidence. I think there is a variation in Stagecoach in different areas and I am sure it is the same with Razzamatazz. I suggest you ask around for the reputations of your local ones and try them out if you can.
My dd and ds have just moved to another theatre school as they needed stretching a bit more after 7 years - the Stagecoach end of term performances are designed to give everyone parts and it is all very fair, but after 7 years some children probably need the chance of bigger parts in full length musicals/productions etc!
Hi all, it's so great to see you are so pro-active in researching your performing arts schools, it is vital you pick one that is right for you and your child! Razzamataz has very high standards, we have our own dedicated H&S Officer who trains every franchisee in Health & Safety and carrying out risk assesments for our insurers, we also have very strict Child Protection Policies and Child In Performance Guidleines and every Principal works very closley with their local Child In Performance Welfare Officer, all staff are CRB cleared and some also hold an offical chaperone licence and at least one member of the team is 1st aid trained, ensuring your child/ren are in very safe hands first and foremost! We pay our teachers up to £30 per hour, dependant on their relevant experience and qualifications, as in any industry, min requirements being a degree in performing arts and/or extensive performance and/or teaching experience, lesson planning is a huge part of our Principals jobs and they must collect 12 week overview plans for the term ahead, as well as monitoring weekly lesson plans, and each class very carefully every week, to ensure every child is included and every child is engaged, every child matters.
We are very proud that our ratiuos for children aged 4-5 years are just 1:7, yes a VERY small 1:7 ratio, most of our Principals don't teach, therefore there is a teacher PLUS a Classroom Assistant, PLUS a Principal to hand every session to ensure every child has adequate time at every single session to grow in confidence, learn and develop, for children aged 6-8 years we are again very proud to have a small 1:10 ratio, again a classroom assistant is with this group every single week at all times, along with their qualified teacher and Principal. Children aged 9-11 years and 12+ do not have the classroom assistant, however if the teacher requires hands on support from the Principal for exercises he/she can request this at any point, most of our Principals do not teach.
We cover tradtional musical theatre in all disciplines one week, and more contemporary pop the following, however it is reveiwed every week and the theme continues throught the term, in fact more than one term when planning ahead, so for reassurance we do not change the theme every week, there is continuity every week, I can see how this could be misunderstood though, and thank you for bringing this to our attention. I hope this clarifies for you and eases any concerns you may have had re this.
Our Principals are visited once per year by their Support Manager and we carry out audits to ensure quality control throughout.
We try to keep costs to a minimum for parents, hence why our fees are very competitve, without compromising on quality, and we offer fabulous sibling discounts as well as easy monthly payments for parents, you can of course, at most schools, have a no obligation free trial session to see for yourself how great and professional Razzamataz is! There is no expensive uniform, and we keep costuming for Show Cases to a minimum, we offer excellent performance opportunities, for those that seek this, such as West End Performances (we are appearing live at Her Majesty's Theatre on Sunday 18th November 2012, and this is inclusive for any/all children), as well as many local performances, we also offer Arts Awarts for those wishing to pursue a career in performing arts and go onto University, at Gold level this equates to 35 UCAS Points, again this is very inexpensive as we believe ALL children should have the opportunity of exploring the magical and wonderful world of performing arts! We also encourage Principals to organise specialist workshops with industry experts such as Zoo Nation, we bring the knowledge and experience to our young people, instead of our students having to travel to places far away which again, motivates and inspires them hugely, without having to be a costly exercise for parents.
That franchises bump up fees threefold is in fact a myth, certainly for us, some of our classes are as little as £3 per discipline, the most expensive being around £6 per hour, I live in Carlisle and even some small independent schools charge this or even more than this for some classes, and I would question if they are indeed as professional as a franchise ran one like Razzamataz Theatre Schools, with very stirct rules and regulations to protect young people.
I do hope this has helped some of you with your choices, and good luck, performing arts is such an amazing art form for young people, I for one, am very passionate about highlighting the benefits of performing arts for young people, it enriches their lives, makes them more confident young people and helps them be more able to tackle anything the world may throw at them! I was a very shy child until I attended dance classes, and I now have the confidence to run my own business - no better testimonial than that I think! Hope you all find the right school for you and your precious children, my little boy is 5 years old and loves Razzamataz Penrith!! Denise x
I don't think that the franchises are more expensive than the independent concerns. In my experience they tend to all charge about the same, market forces, you know. My kids go to an independent 'school', which has an associated dance school as well (which does the typical ballet, jazz, modern, tap, etc). There is dance in the theatre classes, delivered by the same teachers, but the dance specialists or the kids who want to take exams generally also take extra classes at the dance school. The thing I really like about the school my kids go to (and the oldest has been going since 2006) is that there is a wide range of stuff they can do when older - pure acting classes, lamda exams, various drama and performing arts GCSE, A/S and A level, etc (the dance school offers the dance qualifications too in addition to the normal exams). I'm not sure if razzmatazz or stagecoach do that BUT I do know kids who attend both of those groups who absolutely love what they are doing. As a general thing I would definitely encourage anyone to let their kids try this sort of group out if they are interested. Different kids want different things, of course - some want to have a laugh, some want to be performers - but all of them get such a lot out of it. Of course, school drama groups are great too, but two of my kids currently attend schools where the drama isn't great (the other one attends a school with amazingly good drama) so it's nice to be able to do that sort of thing at the weekends or in the evenings. Good luck finding a school or group that suits you. We sometimes bemoan how much time we spend being a taxi service to and from rehearsals and shows but honestly, when we see how much the kids enjoy it and especially the confidence boost it has given them all - it's worth it.
I would be very careful about using Stagecoach. I worked for a lovely school as a singing teacher for over 12 years. It came under new management. Unfortunately I was not paid at all for an entire terms work as the owner went bankrupt. Each franchise owner pays to use the Stagecoach name. Stagecoach are happy to take the money with very little quality control or help for owners and staff
My children go to a local in dependant one, it's brilliant. It has done wonders for my eldest's confidence. It's owned by a well known actor who is there teaching every week and the staff are all fantastic. I looked at stagecoach but wasn't keen on our local franchise.
I would be wary of using Razamatazz. They pay their teachers very poorly, so I'm not sure how high the standard of teaching is- more qualified and experienced teachers would look elsewhere.
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