Behind the curtain: how to have a career in the arts beyond the stage

When we think of careers in the performing arts, what comes to mind is usually an actor, singer or dancer on the stage. However, there exists an entire ecosystem of professionals whose contributions to the performing arts industry are equally vital yet often overlooked. These are the individuals who work tirelessly behind the scenes, creating a space for performers to shine while carving out an exciting and rewarding career for themselves.


When Matty Rayson was just sixteen, he aspired to be a geography teacher. But after his sister joined her local theatre school, a new world of possibilities opened to him. “I actually didn’t do as well as I wanted to do in my geography GCSE so I quickly realised I would probably need to rethink,” laughs Matty. “I had always enjoyed drama, but I was lacking in confidence, and I really didn’t particularly enjoy being on stage. But when my sister joined Razzamataz Carlisle and I watched her in a show, it was sort of a lightbulb moment, and I knew I wanted to be part of it.”


Matty approached the then Principal Denise Gosney who is also the Founder of the Razzamataz franchise network, of which there is more then 60 schools, and asked for work experience. That was back in June 2010 and since then, Matty has gone on take on a range of roles including assistant, manager and currently an award-winning Principal of Razzamataz West Cumbria.


Today, Matty is delighted to be the new Operations Manager, which he will do running alongside being the Principal of the West Cumbria school. As Razzamataz approaches its 25th year in business, the role will take on a huge significance because Matty will be instrumental in implementing the company’s ten year plan.



“We are looking to expand the network to support more entrepreneurs to run successful theatre schools, inspiring even more young people in their communities,” says Matty.  “I’m a prime example of finding my niche in performing arts even though I didn’t actually enjoy being on stage. Being part of Razzamataz really transformed my life, gave me the confidence and self-belief to discover what it was that I truly wanted to do. It’s a privilege to support other Razzamataz franchisees in running their own schools; I know just how important they are to young people.”


Matty has been running his own school for the past five years, and during this time, has developed a real thirst for business. He plans to use this knowledge and experience to guide other franchisees so they can expand their own schools, offering even more opportunities for young people.


“There’s no hiding that I’m passionate about the Razzamataz brand and all that we stand for,” adds Matty. “This new role will allow me to support others to ensure that everything that I’ve learned can be shared with both new franchisees, those looking to expand as well as giving young people inspiration for careers in the performing arts that don’t need to be on stage.”


The Operations Manager role will encompass Matty’s experience of project management, leadership and being skilled in working with a range of people from different backgrounds and experience levels. He will continue to work on large scale projects such as Razzamataz performance opportunities in West End theatres, overseas trips to locations such as Disneyland Paris and the annual Conference.




“If I could give my sixteen year old self any words of advice, I would say believe in yourself more,” says Matty. “What Razzamataz taught me was to seize every opportunity and not to worry about setbacks because they are a way for you to learn. Razzamataz helps every young person celebrate their uniqueness, because that is the thing that will help them forge a career path fueled by a passion and purpose.”


Denise has watched Matty as every stage of his career and couldn’t be prouder of what he has accomplished as she explains. “I’m delighted to offer Matty the role of Operations Manager and know that he will excel in it like he has in every role that he has taken on. He is a huge asset to the Razzamataz network, and his wealth of experience will help guide us to our ten year vision while giving so many of our students inspiration for their own careers.”






Want to build your career?

Razzamataz Theatre Schools offer employment to some circa 600 people either as teachers, assistants, or part of the admin team. There are plenty of opportunities to grow with many people starting out as work experience placements and progressing to assistant Principals or Principal roles.


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