Following the easing of restrictions, which meant many after-school & weekend clubs could finally reconvene after over seven months of closures, students from across the UK reunited for their singing, dancing and acting sessions
“Without doubt, the pandemic has caused havoc on extra-curricular clubs over the last year, with many parents now seeing our performing arts classes as an antidote when their children have been socially isolated and glued to a computer screen for much of the day,” said Andy Knights, Stagecoach COO. “It’s vital that we reconnect and re-engage with our students and make the experience really enjoyable by showing them that Stagecoach is a place where they can have fun with their peers again.
“Our franchisees have done brilliantly to reopen their schools for in-person classes again; 99% are back in their venues and seeing a return to normality with students eager to get back to their classes. Across the network we have seen a 43% increase in demand for summer enrolments, compared to summer 2019, and a 25% rise in enquiries, with some franchisees having to introduce waiting lists due to the demand in their local areas.”
Stagecoach students are pleased to be back.
Josh with some of his Stagecoach North Tyneside students.
Stagecoach Performing Arts returns to a socially-distanced centre stage after close to six months of school closures
This autumn, Stagecoach Performing Arts franchisees from across the UK have welcomed students back to their weekly singing, dancing and acting sessions.
In fact, back in the first two weeks of September alone, 80% of the UK’s 600-strong franchise network reopened their schools.
The international children’s performing arts franchise has been preparing for this day since the UK went into lockdown on 24th March, implementing a whole host of digital resources for franchisees to utilise during the so-called ‘downtime’.
One of the brands most successful initiatives, a digital performing arts subscription service called #stagecoachathome, gained website views of 32,130 visits in its first six weeks. This maintained the presence of the brand throughout lockdown and has had a positive impact on new term enrolments.
Enquiries have increased by over 32% and, to date, sign-ups have increased 5% year-on-year, with the majority of Stagecoach students returning for their weekly sessions.
Former drama teacher, Josh Bradley, launched his franchise in North Tyneside on 19th September. Despite a five-month delay, he’s been inundated with enquiries and has seen no significant impact to student numbers.
“I would actually go as far as to say that enrolments are higher than what I had initially projected for my first term before the pandemic. I’ve been so busy in the initial few weeks of the business that I’m already planning on expanding to open another school in the new year,” said Josh. “I think parents feel safe in the knowledge that I’m putting the safety and wellbeing of my students at the heart of my business – this is messaging that I’ve been proactive in communicating in the weeks leading up to our first session.
“Thanks to the support of Stagecoach, I’ve been able to establish strict social distancing policies and devise a new risk assessment procedure that takes all eventualities into consideration. At one point, the launch of my school was hanging in the balance as the venue I’d found became concerned that too many children may be in the location at one time. Once I’d shared with them all of the safety precautions I’d put in place, with the guidance of Stagecoach, they saw for themselves just how invested I was in my students’ safety.”
Stagecoach Performing Arts’ Chief Operating Officer, Andy Knights – and his team, have worked closely with franchisees to maintain brand presence and business success. He feels reassured by the addition of passionate talent, like Josh, to the diverse network.
“Stagecoach came together for the benefit of our students and their families around the world who have relied on our quality of performing arts education for the last thirty-two years. Extracurricular activities have always played an important part in children’s development and it has been a challenging time for those who thrive on creativity. Although I feel we did a remarkable job of providing the same stellar quality of singing, dancing and acting expertise we pride ourselves on during the lockdown period, it’s been incredible to see so many franchisees back in session again.
“Sure, 2020 has been a challenging year for both the performing arts and the franchising sectors but it’s incredible to see how brands have pivoted, providing solutions for franchisees and customers alike. I wish Josh the best of luck as he starts his new adventure as a business owner and principal.”
More at: www.stagecoachfranchise.com and @Stagecoach_GBR
Stagecoach Performing Arts likes to end the year on a high and 2019 was certainly no exception. At the famous Shaftesbury Theatre, students from around the world were congratulated for their dedication to the arts at the second annual Creative Courage for Life Awards.
250 students took to the stage, dazzling family and friends with musical performances from a variety of shows, as part of a festive gala performance.
The Creative Courage for Life Awards were launched in 2018 to honour those students who demonstrate compassion and dedication during their weekly performing arts sessions. Categories included Outstanding… Singer, Dancer and Actor, Teacher, Alumni and the coveted Overcoming Diversity Award.
Eight students from across seven schools were recognised, with one travelling with her family from Germany to receive her award. Winners were chosen by an esteemed panel of judges who watched hundreds of hours of recorded footage, from franchisees.
After the ceremony, hundreds of students staged a festive performance where nine schools were handpicked from regional and London showcases throughout the year to perform during the evening. Performances included a scene from 2019’s Summer Showcase The Sound of Music, an acrobatic-style spectacle, a medley of dance styles throughout the decades and even an alumni performance of Spice Girls’ hits.
Sarah Kelly, CEO of Stagecoach Performing Arts (350 franchisees) said: “I didn’t think anything could top 2018, after we celebrated our 30th anniversary, but 2019 has proven to be just as incredible as last year. Our gala and awards evening, in aid of Young Minds, has always been a real highlight of our year but this time it felt particularly special. It’s a great opportunity for us to come together and give everyone a pat on the back for another incredible year. Thank you to the franchisees, teachers, support team and all the friends and family who joined us on the evening. But, most importantly, thank you to our wonderful students for putting on a fantastic show.”