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Stagecoach drama - is it worth the money?

(19 Posts)
reindeermum Tue 31-Mar-09 16:31:51

My daughter age 6 is keen to start drama classes - I'm looking at several possible classes. Stagecoach sounds fantastic but is more than double the price of any other classes. I also am wary of the small print ie you have to give them a whole term's notice if you don't want to come any more etc or pay a whole terms fees.

Is it worth the extra money compared to smaller (much cheaper) drama companies?

scrooged Tue 31-Mar-09 16:33:50

Are there no free/cheap clubs where you live? The local theatres often have free childrens clubs, it's worthwhile phoning them and asking.

skramble Tue 31-Mar-09 16:43:10

Stagecoach does appear to be one of the more expensive ones, they also like you to buy their shoes and t-shirts, they are run as franchises so a lot will depend on the person running them, they do have a set sylabus but at age 6 its still a lot of games and running about.

Other local Drama clubs again run by individuals so can vary a great deal, some will be more full on doing plays every term, some will be more erm 'fun'. Some are very focused on acting while others involve a lot more singing and/ or dancing.

You have to figure out what will suit your daughter at her age, you need to perhaps observe a class or for her to try it out.

My DS tried one where he was at the younger end of the age group, it was all a bit to grown up for him, the one he as at now has smaller age ranges in each class but they all get togehter for their big productions, he also does film production with them which he loves.

I like that they are pretty informal they have t-shirts but you don't have to have one, for productions you might be asked to put them in dark trousers and white t-shirts but nothing outlandish or expensive, they provide the actual costumes. They also do easter and summer workshops, which are great if you need holiday childcare, I don't but they usually go to a couple anyway. DD is doing a full week of HSM or ABBA I can't rememeber which grin. DS is not so keen this easter as the older workshop is based on the musicals, so he is waiting for the comedy one in the summer.

reindeermum Tue 31-Mar-09 19:56:43

Thanks skramble. I have heard some very good feedback about stagecoach re kids enjoyment, but still don't really understand why it is soooo expensive. And never heard of any free classes or clubs - will check though!

(I wouldn't mind the extra cost as long as I understood why and if it was worth it!)

southeast Tue 31-Mar-09 20:06:35

you can tell the stagecoach kids at our school plays, they're all eyes and teeth, like grin

islandofsodor Tue 31-Mar-09 22:21:33

The staff child ratio at Stagecoach is very high but the main extra expense is that there is always a non teaching principal in attendance. At most other organisations the principal teaches so that is one staff member less. Having a principal there means there is always someone to deal with emergencies and to check that everything is going OK in class.

Also as you have mentioned costumes are usually included and there are generally no tickets to buy (just got dd's dance school show bill, costume £40 tickets £12 each!!)

You don't have to give a term's notice by the way. You have to let them know by half term if your child is not continuing after the end of term or pay half term fees in lieu. This is to avoid turning someone away for a place when someone doesn't turn up.

T-shirts etc are not compulsory, you just have to wear the school colours of black and/or yellow. Black jazz shoes are but you can get them from anywhere. Online they are about £10 but you have to trust the fit, Stagecoach costs £16, at the local dance shop here they are about £20.

No eyes and teeth at our school by the way, that is the dance school kids!!

It works out about £8.75 per hour. My dd's ballet class is about £7 per hour so there is not much difference plus you have to buy costumes etc.

skramble Tue 31-Mar-09 23:12:20

I think each stagecoach school is as good as the person in charge, so some may be shit not so good. But as I said same goes for any independent drama group or theatre group.

giraffescantdancethetango Tue 31-Mar-09 23:22:20

Ive raved aout SC before so will just link to my ramble - here

giraffescantdancethetango Tue 31-Mar-09 23:28:04

I was looking after a friends wee girl the other day and her nursery is in the hall my Stagecoach classes were in 10 years ago <sob> I was all excited - the child was unimpressed. Just popped up some old SC pics grin I really have to stop raving as people will think I work for them I swear I dont!

islandofsodor Tue 31-Mar-09 23:34:52

Lol giraffes, bless you!

giraffescantdancethetango Tue 31-Mar-09 23:42:02

Do you still have the yearly award thing?

islandofsodor Wed 01-Apr-09 09:22:56

The Principal's Award - yes. Awarded to the student who has made the most progress/put hte most effort in, not necessarily the one who is the best at everything.

reindeermum Wed 01-Apr-09 16:20:55

Thanks for all this info its really helpful - I have only heard very positive things about stagecoach so far from everyone I've asked.

reindeermum Wed 01-Apr-09 16:30:42

Giraffe I've just read your other thread and both you and island both make it sound AMAZING! I am getting the SC leaflet out right now to show DD and she is beaming all over her face!

I like the sound of the principal overseeing things and understand now why it costs that bit more for a more professional set up - at the end of the day you get what you pay for don't you grin

giraffescantdancethetango Wed 01-Apr-09 20:30:19

i got the award when i was 14 - i was so happy! grin

CatherineE Mon 17-Aug-09 12:27:25

I can offer a much cheaper option if you're in London. I work for the Murphy Kidman Edwards Performing Arts Academy so can sort 'mates rates' for various people (and of course fellow MumsNet-ers are all mates! )
£40 per term (equivalent £4 per class) is what I can offer if you're after a great class with focus on both confidence and performance. We also have a talent agency attached so often get castings for our students too.
If interested, let me know!
C x

Hulababy Thu 27-Aug-09 09:54:32

I looked at Stagecoach but felt it was very expensive for what it was and it took up most of the day.

So I kept looking and found a lovely independent drama class for DD instead, one night a week for an hour. It does all aspects of drama including speech, dance, acting, singing, etc. They do allt he planning of their own reviews (no big shows done) including deciding what to do, what to include, who will perform, lighting, stage props, make up and costumes. They do some voice training activities and loads of confidence building stuff.

DD has finished her first year there and did a showcase review in July which she loved. She sang solo, did some short acting clips in a group and also did a poetry recital. It went really well and she recieved a special certificate from her class.

Her confidence has increased massively and she is showing some really nice talent. Her own school have also noticed this this year and she has been given some special parts in school stuff, such as singing solo as Mary in the Nativity (ony child to do so). The drama class has made a huge difference to her and has been definitely worth going. Plus she has masses of fun.

And it is just £3.50 a week!

Hulababy Thu 27-Aug-09 09:56:21

And DD was chosen over the 3 girls in her class who do Stagecoach too.

Lilou4 Mon 26-Oct-09 23:38:57

Def look around, you will find that a lot of teachers who work for Stage Coach are freelance and often work for other local groups that are half the price!!!

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