Razzamataz Theatre Schools plans for reopening
The year 2020 was supposed to be a year of celebrations for a theatre school franchise, which kicked off with a conference in London and luxury boat cruise. The Dragons’ Den backed network was celebrating its 20-year birthday and had many exciting opportunities planned for its thousands of students across the UK.
When COVID-19 hit, some of those plans had to be put on hold but with the disruptions, came a new and exciting way of working to continue to engage, motivate and provide a lifeline for students and their families. Razzamataz Theatre Schools launched Razzamataz Online, small interactive classes with students much loved teachers plus a whole series of guest workshops with stars from the West End, commercial choreographers from Strictly Come Dancing and careers advice from Broadway stars, casting agent from Cameron Mackintosh and former student Tamara Smart, an accomplished young actress currently to be seen in a leading role on Disney’s Artemis Fowl.
Hear from our parents
“Shortly after enrolling at Razzamataz Queens Park, COVID-19 arrived to challenge us all further but Razzamataz rose to the occasion proving themselves and all their teachers to be thoroughly resourceful and utterly determined that the children continue to feel part of something special and that there was still fun and learning to be had,” explains parent Willow Nash. “I couldn’t have been happier with their resilience and uncrushable positivity to not only survive these crazy times but to thrive and to also keep our children feeling good about themselves.”
Razzamataz have, and are, following all Government guidelines as well as working closely and becoming a contributor to the CAA (Children’s Activities Association) to ensure that when they do have permission to reopen, they will be doing so safely for the students, staff, families, Principals and wider communities. As well as continuing to reach out to the students with Razzamataz Online, the schools are getting ready to launch online summer schools too.
A word from Denise
“This has been a very busy time because of the support and learning that comes with taking the business online,” explains Denise Hutton-Gosney, MD and Founder of Razzamataz. “As well as this, we have also been working really hard to ensure a safe opening, as and when we are allowed to do so.”
A big part of this has been to launch a brand new Operations Manual and Audit, which each franchisee will have to pass before they are allowed to reopen face to face. “It is crucially important that our customers know that we are doing all we can to protect their children, families, our staff, Principals and the wider community,” explains Denise. “The audit will ensure that each school Principal has shown us evidence that all safety measure have been met and we are doing all we can to reduce the risk of spreading the infection.”
Included in the audit will be new risk assessment forms, 60%-80% alcohol sanitizer in each room, plans to stagger classes, reduction of class sizes, avoiding any gatherings, facial sign in only, no props or Razz Teds, electronic communication only and attendance on Head Office’s reopening webinars. Razzamataz will continue to add to the audit as and when new official information comes in.
The support Head Office has provided the franchisees throughout has been invaluable as Helen Bell, Principal of Razzamataz Sheffield explains:
More Razzamataz schools open
As well as the individual schools adapting, the Head Office has taken all its recruitment online with virtual Discovery Dens and training sessions. Even during this pandemic, Razzamataz has recruited five new franchisees. “If you’re considering starting a franchise then I would highly recommend Razzamataz,” explains Heather Hurd-Sinclair, Principal Razzamataz Wimbledon. “I took over as a Principal in April in the midst of the COVID lockdown and I have not regretted my decision. The support and encouragement I have received has been second to none. Head Office has provided us with training, updated resources and also one to one support to ensure that our businesses adapt and thrive. Nothing is too much trouble and I feel fortunate that during these challenging times I am part of a network that has such a passion for what it does.”
Although Razzamataz cannot wait to open its schools and allow children back to class, it will only be done when the Government allows and in compliance with best practice. “We have spent a lot of time networking with other franchises and working on ways in which we can reopen as safely as possible,” says Denise. “Although this is not the way I thought we would be celebrating 20 years of Razzamataz, I’m so proud of our network and what we have achieved together. We know that the pandemic has affected families in all sorts of ways and the feedback we have from customers is that they are concerned about their child’s loss of confidence. We have lots planned for the future to build back resilience and self-belief as well as bringing back the fun.”
The performing arts offers so much more than just teaching children how to sing, dance and act. Lisa Graham sent her daughter to Razzamataz Carlisle when she was just a little girl and has seen first-hand the results. “The best thing you could ever do is to send your child to Razzamataz, which has saved kids from low self-esteem and built them to be free and confident in the world. When I sent Hannah Mae she was so quiet and hardly spoke and now she lives and works in London.”
Get in touch
To speak to our Head Office about how to join our network including information on our online Discovery Dens and franchise training sessions email: [email protected] or visit https://www.razzamataz.co.uk/franchise-opps/introduction/
“Razzamataz has been an exceptional support network for us and our son these past few years. Razzamataz were the first organisation out of the many that we engage with for both our teenagers that had set up safe virtual session for our son to remain connected with. Razzamataz has been fundamental and instrumental to our son’s emotional and mental health,” Shelly Khaled, Razzamataz Hackney.
“I needed to find something for my son Alfie who had just turned seven years old. We had tried several things but nothing he was passionate about. Alfie found everything he wanted at Razzamataz and has grown so much more confident. He misses his classes so much as we can’t attend each week due to COVID-19 but Jude and Phil and all the team have done a fantastic job of organising virtual lessons each week so our children don’t miss out,” Gabby Wynn, Razzamataz Leeds.
“My daughter has attended Razzamataz West Cumbria since she was four years old. She was nervous when she started as she didn’t know anyone, but immediately made new friends of all ages. Razzamataz teaches children about confidence, relationships, respect and positivity. All the children are very supportive of each other, the teachers are very friendly, understanding and encouraging. My daughter is 10 now, and still going strong with Razzamataz. Even during lockdown, the school has engaged in online classes with its pupils, ensuring that the show does go on! I think they’ll have to throw my daughter out when she is 18, as I doubt she will want to leave! We have never looked back, it has been a truly valuable life skill,” Margaret Whitfield Bott, Razzamataz West Cumbria.
“My daughter loves Razzamataz and was upset at the thought of not being able to go to classes as normal. However, she has really enjoyed the online Zoom classes. They have provided fun, exercise and a bit of normality during these strange times,” Jasmine Gill, Razzamataz Tonbridge.
“Brilliant classes both online by Zoom and in person. Our little one’s confidence continues to blossom,” Lucy Macdonald, Razzamataz Wimbledon.
“Loving this little community more and more. From excellent online classes, additional activities and cherry on the cake – a little postcard to know we are missed. Has been one of the most positive experiences of our lockdown existence,” Kirsty Morrison, Razzamataz Durham.
Phil Cole and Jude Hill, Principals Razzamataz Leeds: “We have been the Leeds Razzamataz Theatre School Principals since we opened in April 2016. The 2020 pandemic was obviously a shock to the way that we operated our schools but in true British ‘fight-back’ style, it was quickly put into place how we would do just that. Very helpful planning assistance, marketing and general guidance and advice in a situation new to all of us was the key to the smooth and successful transition to online classes. We feel that Razzamataz have very much led the way in our industry in keeping students energized and connected – a strategy which has been greatly appreciated by students and their parents.”
Andrea White, Principal Razzamataz Bognor: “Being part of a franchise doesn’t necessary mean you get good support but with Razzamataz we always have that support plus brilliant resources and training. During this pandemic, we have had amazing support, not only with resources and excellent advice, but on a one to one basis too. The Zoom webinars have been great as we have been able to support one another and share good business practice – and make each other laugh! In this worrying and uncertain time, it has been very reassuring to know that they have our backs and are there for us, whenever we need them. If anyone was looking for a franchise, I would wholeheartedly recommend Razzamataz Theatre Schools.”
Heather Hurd-Sinclair, Principal Razzamataz Wimbledon: “If you’re considering starting a franchise then I would highly recommend Razzamataz. I took over as a Principal of Razzamataz Theatre Schools Wimbledon in April in the midst of the COVID lockdown and I have not regretted my decision. The support and encouragement I have received has been second to none. Head Office has provided us with training, updated resources and also one to one support to ensure that our businesses adapt and thrive. Nothing is too much trouble and I feel fortunate that during these challenging times I am part of a network that has such a passion for what it does.”
Hayley Limpkin and Emily Miller, Principals Razzamataz Medway: “Thank you for creating a network full of positivity, innovation and support and one we are so proud to be a part of for the last ten years.”