Razz, a place to be me!

By Pam Dixon

Positive life experiences, confidence, social skills and life lessons are the things that our team can provide young people. The opportunities and experiences that Razzamataz provides for students are incredible.

One of the things that I adore about being a Razzamataz Principal is that every single student has the same opportunities, no matter what their background or ability is. We currently have a Senior student who is on the autistic spectrum and has made wonderful progress. He used to be quite shy in social situations and now is confident to speak to other students and teachers.

A pivotal moment for him and his family was at this year’s Summer School he went out for lunch with some of the other students. Although he is 17, this was not something he had done before and his mum said she was overwhelmed and delighted as he has never been confident enough to do this or socialise in this kind of situation before. Working with him and seeing him come on leaps and bounds has been a very emotionally rewarding experience for myself and the team at Razzamataz Dumfries.

I also look back very fondly at former students and am amazed to see how they have progressed in their chosen careers. One of our students Rebecca was very quiet and shy at the beginning. But with encouragement from the team, she found her love of performing and is now at the Arden School of Theatre in Manchester, having previously attended the prestigious Knightswood Secondary School in Glasgow, the country’s only fully funded centre of excellence for vocational dance and musical theatre. She has grown so much in confidence and it was lovely to have her back at this year’s Summer Showcase where she wowed the audience with a solo song.
Razzamataz really can change young people’s lives. We have had another student Katie on the autistic spectrum that went on to win Student of the Year and was a Stage Scholarship winner. This gave her a huge confidence boost and shows that Razzamataz really values the individual and appreciates all different qualities.

Particularly rewarding for us this year is that our Dance teacher Robyn was a former Razzamataz Dumfries student! We have had such a lot of students for many years and they all become part of the ‘Razz Family’. It isn’t just a bit of singing, dance and drama, it is something that really enhances a life and I really wish it had been around when I was young!

Top tips

  • To help students settle into a new class and watch them grow in confidence, we always allocate a buddy and provide information before the session to help students know what to expect on arrival. The team are instrumental to supporting this and enabling students to feel comfortable in this new situation.
  • We know that communication is always key so I make sure that parents/families/students can always speak to me or any member of staff about any worries or concerns they have.
  • Some of our students go on to achieve amazing success in the performing arts industry but it is just as important to us to celebrate the small wins. Every achievement is a big deal and we make sure to let students know this.

About the author

Pam Dixon, grandmother of five, has been a franchise business owner since 2008 and has a real passion and drive to continue to grow her business. Pam is the Principal of Razzamataz Dumfries and has watched her students go on to have their own fulfilling careers, both in the performing arts and other industries. Pam is passionate about the benefits that Razzamataz can offer all young people.