Franchise theatre school offers online platform to support students

The closure of schools across the UK is having a huge impact on families. The disruption to daily life is simply unprecedented and the cost in terms of both physical and mental health and wellbeing is unknown.

Razzamataz Theatre Schools has been working with children for the last twenty years and understands that performing arts can be crucial in helping young people to make sense of the world, especially important in today’s challenging climate.

With the onslaught of COVID-19, Razzamataz made the difficult decision to close all schools but not close classes or opportunities for their thousands of students. “This is a very confusing time for children and exceptionally challenging for families trying to maintain some sort of structure,” explains Denise Hutton-Gosney, MD and Founder of Razzamataz. “We get hundreds of testimonials from students and their families to say that Razzamataz is the highlight of their week so we have thought long and hard about how we can keep our families and their communities safe and still deliver the service to children that they love.”

From after the Easter holiday, Razzamataz will be going online, until the Government gives the go-ahead to allow schools back. As well as the regular classes, there will be some special additional opportunities including fitness classes that parents can join in with too.

Razzamataz has been working tirelessly to produce an online platform so students can access their performing arts lessons in small virtual groups. Classes start from as little as £12 per month and will be taught by inspiring and highly experienced teachers who will be able to tailor their feedback, ensuring that each student reaches their potential in their virtual lesson. It will replicate a real class as much as possible, with dedicated time throughout so children can ask questions to teachers, connect with their classmates and become confident performers on screen. For parents, there is a pay as you go option, with no monthly commitment or direct debit so families can dip in and out depending on their circumstances. The classes are open to existing and new students.

“As well as all of our existing classes, we will be supporting our friends in the performing arts industry by hosting several masterclasses with professional performers,” adds Denise. “We often have masterclasses in our schools and now it is even more important to reach out to provide opportunities for all the professional performers who are finding themselves in very difficult positions with so many shows being put on hold. We know our students find these workshops really inspiring and it’s a wonderful way to bring the best of the West End musical theatre and commercial genres to our students.” These will be announced in due course.

With many years of experience, Razzamataz is going to be utilising all of their contacts in the industry to maintain the standards for students across schools. “We need to reach out to our families and young people to protect their emotional and physical wellbeing,” adds Denise. “We believe that taking our classes online will give children some stability and allow them to continue to enjoy their performing arts. By participating in our online classes, they can maintain their close connections with their Razzamataz family, be physically active and be challenged mentally too.”

The first guest workshop was with Brian Costello from Headstrong who is a coach and motivational speaker. Brian has already worked with our students, Principals and staff across the network and he went LIVE on Facebook @RTSLtd to talk to our community about how to cope with isolation.

The classes will take place via Zoom and be kept very small so they can be as interactive as possible. There will be a small charge of just a few pounds a class to cover expenses. There will also be lots of free content, such as the coping with isolation session, offered to the wider community. 

“We want to do our bit to help families get their children moving and inject a bit of happiness into everyone’s lives,” adds Denise. “It’s a horrible and scary time for everyone but we hope that we can bring a little joy, structure and fitness challenges in these difficult times. We want to get everyone moving, singing and just bring a little light relief and reach out to as many people as possible. We’ve already been contacted by parents who don’t have children currently in our schools but who are desperately looking at ways they can be engaged in small class sizes and actively learn.”

As a network, we have been fully supporting our Principals throughout this difficult period. We thank them for their feedback and will continue to do all we can to maintain our wonderful network. We are currently creating a webinar for all of our Principals to attend to learn more about our online lessons and strategy for Term 3 and we will continue to support all of our schools to educate our students and provide parents with a much-needed service.

“Thank you Head Office. We are so grateful for everything you are doing,” Helen Bell, Principal of Razzamataz Sheffield. “Thank you Head Office for the support and to all of the other franchisees for their support. Looking forward to the webinar,” Amanda Campbell, Principal Razzamataz Glasgow North and Paisley. “Thanks to all at Head Office for working so hard and fast for solutions, you guys are amazing,” Amy Latchman, Principal Razzamataz Rickmansworth.