Franchisees across the UK have joined forces with The Stage to offer scholarships to attend their local Razzamataz free of charge for one year, worth up to £855
Despite the closure of schools across the UK, Dragons’ Den backed theatre school franchise, Razzamataz, wanted to continue offering opportunities to young people with a passion for the performing arts. Razzamataz Theatre Schools has been working with children for the last 20 years and has offered in excess of £1m in scholarships and grants to help children participate in the theatre arts.
Even during this lockdown period, Razzamataz is digging deep to give children with the drive and determination to make it in the world of performing arts, a chance to achieve their dreams by attending professional performing arts training.
Razzamataz franchisees across the UK have joined forces with The Stage newspaper to offer scholarships to children and young people to attend their local Razzamataz free of charge for one year, worth up to £855. The scholarship audition process has been taken completely online to adhere to social distancing measures. The deadline for entries is 19 June 2020, so there is still time to get involved.
“We were the first part-time theatre school to work with The Stage newspaper to offer these scholarships and we have seen the amazing results across the UK,” says Denise Hutton-Gosney, MD and founder of Razzamataz. “Now, more than ever, we want to continue to be there for our families and young people in our communities and give them something to look forward to. The pandemic has taken away such a lot for children and teenagers so we were determined to keep this exciting partnership for them.”
When schools closed, Razzamataz laid out a very thorough plan to keep offering performing arts training online. Not only have the schools been able to continue to support families with regular classes, but there have also been a host of special guest workshops and interviews. Over the last few weeks, Razzamataz students have been able to participate in interviews with West End stars Kerry Ellis (Wicked) and Jennifer Tierney (Come From Away) as well as join in commercial classes with Lizzie Gough (Strictly Come Dancing). There have also been special interviews on social media so students can learn more about the industry with Felicity French (casting agent with Cameron Mackintosh) and actress Danielle Fiamanya (&Juliet).
To ensure as many youngsters as possible can enter The Stage scholarships, Razzamataz has created a system that is easily accessible to all. The competition is open to current and non Razzamataz students aged six to 18. Videos do not need to be professionally filmed and can be emailed, sent via Dropbox or uploaded via WeTransfer.com to the child’s local principal. They will simply need to create a short demo of no more than two minutes long showing them performing either a musical theatre song and dance, commercial dance (hip hop or street), pop song, drama improvisation or scripted drama piece. Applicants will also complete a short application form detailing why they would like to take this opportunity.
Many former Razzamataz students have gone on to work professionally in West End shows including Hamilton, &Juliet, Matilda, School of Rock and many TV shows as well as a major film franchise. Past winners include Jess from the Seniors group at Razzamataz Medway who secured her scholarship on her seventh attempt. “I started when I was eight because I loved to dance and I also wanted to make friends,” says Jess. “But I was so anxious and nervous that I almost quit. Throughout my time at Razzamataz, I’ve been extremely lucky to play some amazing roles. I think my biggest achievement was performing at Her Majesty’s Theatre and I remember the buzz I felt the whole day. I was amazed that I actually won the scholarship, it didn’t feel real because I had tried so hard each year but I’ve now learned that you shouldn’t give up because every year I came back stronger.”
Jess’s story echoes what many past scholarship winners say as Denise explains: “Many of our past scholarship winners have told us that winning gave them a boost of confidence and the belief that they could achieve if they set their mind to it. Offering children these life opportunities are part of the Razzamataz ethos and makes us all proud to be part of the network. Even during these very challenging times, we wanted to send out a very clear message to our students and their families that we are there for them, supporting and encouraging them to never give up on their dreams.”
Image: Alex Brenner, The Stage Scholarships