Franchise Theatre School Network’s Extensive Plans For Reopening
June 30, 2020 // Franchising.com // UK - 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.
“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.
“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, the 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: “Razzamataz are the most supportive franchisor, constantly seeking to learn, grow our brand and provide us with the very best and most up to date advice. We have been so lucky to have them during COVID-19, they have been there constantly to offer guidance and help us to look after our customers.”
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.”
SOURCE Razzamataz Theatre Schools
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