Former teacher to Dragons' Den theatre school franchise top award winner

Former teacher to Dragons’ Den theatre school franchise top award winner

Former teacher to Dragons' Den theatre school franchise top award winner

The Principal, teachers, staff and students from Razzamataz Newbury achieved the top spot to win the coveted Franchisee of the Year Award at the recent Conference for the Dragons’ Den backed theatre school network.


Razzamataz Newbury has been a thriving theatre school since its launch in 2015 and its Principal Debbi Ledwith has been a hugely important part of the network, selflessly giving her time and knowledge to share with other Principals while growing her school and raising her three children.



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“Debbi has been so patient waiting on this award, working away tirelessly, focusing on her teams, her students, producing phenomenal shows, supporting three young children and living the dream of being able to leave her job to focus on her business,” says Denise Hutton-Gosney, MD and Founder of Razzamataz Theatre Schools. “I am so proud of her, and it couldn’t have gone to a more deserving Principal.”


There are more than 60 schools in the Razzamataz network, so this is a significant achievement and one to be very proud of. The Franchise of the Year category was judged by Suzie McCafferty, QFP and CEO of award-winning Platinum Wave. Suzie has more than 25 years of first-hand international franchising experience and is a well-known personality in the franchising world. She is a regular Judge of the bfa HSBC British Franchise Awards and is the longstanding Chairperson of the bfa’s Regional Franchise Forum & EWIF Scotland.



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There were many entries, but Suzie was looking for a franchise partner that could demonstrate achievements on many different levels from hitting targets, to being a great leader, to building the Razzamataz brand locally, engaging social media, incredible customer reviews and giving back to the network.


Suzie was impressed with many aspects of Debbi’s entry stating that: “This award recognises true brand ambassadors who have worked hard to build a sustainable business, strong teams and growing student base over the years as well as always making a positive contribution to the overall Razzamataz brand. This franchise owner is a fabulous personality within our network and a worthy winner of this year’s Franchisee of the Year award.“


Hear from our winner

On winning the sought-after award, Debbi says: “Razzamataz has taught me everything I know about running a business. There is huge support from the Head Office and the network but what really works for me is the constant encouragement and rewards that continue to inspire me to push that little bit harder. I love watching everyone go up and collect their awards.  When it came to the final award, the big one – Franchisee of the Year – I had no clue at all that I might even be considered.  When my name was read out at the end I was in total shock but absolutely delighted!  I couldn’t believe that, in a room full of such amazing people, I had been chosen.  Winning this award means so very much to me as it proves that I am doing things right and that I am a success, and it is such a boost to know that my colleagues – people that I really admire and look up to – recognise and value what I am doing.  It really is a team win though and not just about me. I was so excited to share the news with everyone back home.”


Both team members and students have had an incredible year at Razzamataz Newbury. Students were back on stage at the West End in December performing at the Shaftesbury Theatre to a sold-out audience. Debbi and her team also attended the Team Celebration Day at Pineapple Studios in Convent Garden, London. Hosted by Kerry Ellis, a leading lady of the West End and Broadway, staff enjoyed finding out how to further inspire their students and support them to achieve their dreams.


From teacher to entrepreneur

Debbi’s achievements demonstrates the route that many teachers can take, looking to take back control over their careers and lifestyle. Like many parents, Debbi was so busy bringing up her three children and working as a teacher in a secondary school, that she never stopped to think about what it was that she really wanted to do. It was only in 2014 when she separated from her husband, that her friend encouraged her to properly consider her options. This conversation led her to learn more about Razzamataz Theatre Schools, and within days she had attended a Discovery Den to learn more about opening her own theatre school.  From day one, she fell in love with her business, and now she has been able to transition from being a teacher to being a full-time entrepreneur at Razzamataz.


Join our team

We are looking for dynamic partners to own a Razzamataz Theatre School as well as teachers and assistants. If you are looking to make a difference in your local community to the lives of young people and you have a passion for performing arts, we would love to hear from you.


Secure your place to find out more

Join us NOW for a 2023 launch and make the most of the last few weeks before our fee increases to £12,995 plus VAT from April 2023.
Training starting Monday 27th February to Saturday 4th March 2023 for a September 2023 launch!

Contact us to secure your place on our next short informal virtual Discovery Dens

To book contact 07821 122242 or click here to book your place: