The world is changing faster than any of us could have imagined. What we have learnt is that we must keep looking forwards, continue to adapt and seize opportunities as and when they arrive. Michaela Crumpton, franchisee of Razzamataz Bristol North and South has done just that
Michaela has had a range of jobs starting in retail and then for the police as a traffic warden before returning to education to do a Post Graduate Musical Theatre course. After working as a vocal coach for Razzamataz, she took over Bristol South in September 2018 and Bristol North in September 2020.
Expanding during a pandemic
Michaela: At first I thought I was quite mad! But after looking after the online classes for the new school before taking it on I could see the potential and I got attached to some of the children, and the idea that the school might fold due to the previous principal’s unfortunate circumstances made me feel determined that the existing students should have somewhere to go. I also wanted to reach out to other children and young people in the area who may be struggling with issues from lockdown and general online fatigue too. I was hitting and exceeding the goals I had set myself for Bristol South but of course, the pandemic hit us all hard. Taking on the business after lockdown was a huge decision but surrounding myself with a positive team of staff who I can rely on was a big part of my decision. I’ve also proved that I can run a successful school and I know what Razzamataz means to all of my customers.
Michaela: The students have been amazing and all the work is worth it just to see their faces and the comments from parents have been terrific. ‘Thank you for all your hard work to make this happen’, ‘Wow, I can see from all the measures in place that our children are in safe hands’, ‘We can’t wait for our face to face classes’ – these are just a tiny sample of what parents and guardians have been telling me.
The benefits of being part of a franchise
Michaela: If I was out there on my own, I would have failed. I am terrible with setting myself a timetable but with a franchise behind you, setting goals and giving you help, it has been easier to do. Thanks to our founder Denise and Charlotte at our head office, we have been able to overcome the challenges of reopening. Due to their diligence, providing us with excellent risk assessment templates and all of the guidance, we have actually been used as a trial by our venue for all other outside groups that want to return.
The benefits of performing arts
Michaela: I think we have so much to offer as a theatre school; it is a positive environment and our staff are smiling and passionate about the education of kids. It gives students the chance to offload their cares and anxieties using all three disciplines; singing, dance and drama, and they can create a whole new place for themselves in this strange new world. Creating confident children is so important right now and getting back to real interaction has been a tonic for their mental health.
The joys of flexible working
Michaela: I have always valued a good work-life balance and becoming a mum with a horse-mad daughter, this has made the life side more important. Razzamataz offers the chance to be flexible, I can do the school run and get to the stable (to do the mucky jobs) and get back home and start my working day. I can have a coffee and pop the washing on and while it’s spinning away I can answer some emails. I can even block out a day or two to have some me time and have joined a networking group to share with others and learn from them, which again has been so valuable over this crisis.
Looking to the future
Michaela: Once both of my schools are up to capacity and once we get back to some sort of normal, I would like to have a holiday! I would also like to look at how I can expand again and would love to include some of my staff in this in a couple of years; potentially looking at partnerships with them and help them to get the freedom of working in a network such as ours.
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