Thinking of trying Stagecoach Theatre School

(69 Posts)
mumsnutty Fri 25-Mar-11 21:47:27

I'm not a pushy mother but have a rather energetic 4 yo DD who loves dancing and singing. Googled Stagecoach theatre school and saw some mixed feedback from MN a few years ago.

Does anyone have any recent feedback before I part with my cash?

Can you stay and watch initially?

Thanks for your helpsmile

JETS Fri 25-Mar-11 21:50:05

my girls did a stage coach week in the hols loved it great etc perhaps a good way to see if she likes it

McDreamy Fri 25-Mar-11 21:53:42

my 8 year old DD is trying it for the first time in the Easter holidays.

MollieO Fri 25-Mar-11 21:58:07

It's a franchise so it depends on your local area. Ds started in yr 1, suggested by his class teacher. He loves it and moved up to the 3 hr class as soon as he turned 6. I'd never heard of it before Ds started. However it was amazing how many people I knew whose children had done it at some stage (we'd just never spoken about it). They give them end of term reports on their progress.

mumsnutty Fri 25-Mar-11 22:07:50

Thanks for the replies, we're based in Manchester so looking at the branches there. Agree will try the holiday one if they have it available in this region.

elphabadefiesgravity Sat 26-Mar-11 15:47:08

I know the lady who runs the Manchester branches, they are very well run, she has been running them for years and is very well thought of withing the network.

To start with you pay a deposit of £25 so your child gets to do a 2 week trial before you have to pay for the rest of the term.

and yes they do workshops all through the summer holidays.

manicinsomniac Sun 27-Mar-11 17:51:01

I think the quality is very poor to be honest.

Children have fun there but it is no substitute for real drama, dance and singing lessons.

Only an opinion but I say this as a drama teacher with dance teaching qualifications.

MollieO Sun 27-Mar-11 18:06:33

What aspects are poor? It is easy to generalise but I'm curious to hear why a professional is critical.

mel38 Sun 27-Mar-11 20:30:45

Whether its poor or not all i can say is my daughters confidence has grown loads since she has been going in september last year , she has a fantastic time ........

Mamaz0n Sun 27-Mar-11 20:37:44

I was contemplating Stagecoach for DD 6.
She is quite shy but loves to sing and dance and longs to "be on a stage" though what for im not sure she thinks.

Is it as hideaously expensive as i have been lead to believe? just what do you get for your money? i can't seem to find that out from the website.

elphabadefiesgravity Sun 27-Mar-11 20:38:11

What isn't "real" about the lessons at Stagecoach? (From someone married to a teacher with qualifcations who teaches at several leading vocational dance/drama school in the UK whose daughter attends Stagecoach.

elphabadefiesgravity Sun 27-Mar-11 20:40:00

Incidentally for the OP the principal of the Manchester branch is highly qualified and is was an ABRSM examiner, and all her teachers have teaching and professional qualification such as PGCE, ISTD associate etc.

MollieO Sun 27-Mar-11 21:15:17

All ds's teachers are qualified. He is 6 and does the 3 hr class. They do SN hour of drama, an hour of dance and an hour of singing. They get written end of term reports on how they have done. Not sure if that is every term. He is at the end of his second term next week.

His singing teacher was able to identify his exceptional talent for singing so I assume she's qualified. Without me saying anything his school music teacher recently told me he is gifted in singing. Or maybe she isn't qualified either. hmm

Whatever the case Ds enjoys going. It is £21 per week which works out at £7 per hour. I think that is reasonable. Once your dc has had a trial you then pay for the term which you can pay in one go or over the course of the term in three cheques.

MollieO Sun 27-Mar-11 21:16:16

An hour not SN - predictive text ....

elphabadefiesgravity Sun 27-Mar-11 22:36:05

Reports in December & July Mollie

PaperView Sun 27-Mar-11 22:44:59

Elpha - your friends schools are not representative of all stagecoach schools. DH worked for one and does not have a qualification (although has taught performing arts at BTEC level).
There is no requirement for the principals to have any experience either - each one is a franchise and you just apply for one.

manicinsomniac Mon 28-Mar-11 02:56:45

MollieO:
well, from what I have seen (which admittedly does not cver the whole country, only a few areas):
The teachers are not necessarily qualified.
The dance is very general and non specific (doesn't train a child like formal ballet, modern, tap etc)
The classes are large and very mixed ability
It is very expensive

mel38 - oh absolutely, it can help a child's confidence, I wouldn't dispute that. It seems to be great fun.

MollieO Mon 28-Mar-11 10:17:15

Understood manic. I suppose it's what you want. If Ds showed an interest in dance I'd send him to separate dance classes. I like the fact that it's mixed ability and they do a range of different things. It is nice that they spend three hours together rather than Ds flitting from class to class with a load of different children in each one. His class has 8 in it which I don't think is particularly large.

His school music teacher said it is a bit 'Disney' and I should consider separate singing lessons for Ds. He's joining our local church boy's choir and the lady that runs that will sort out singing lessons. It will be interesting to see the difference. What Stagecoach has taught him is to take direction. At his choir audition they were very impressed at how well he listened and followed what he'd been asked to do. That definitely comes from Stagecoach.

I don't think £7 an hour is expensive. It is the cheapest activity Ds does!

elphabadefiesgravity Mon 28-Mar-11 11:56:01

To be fair the majority of the children that go to Stagecoach are not looking for syllabus dance lessons and those that are attend ballet and tap at a dance school but go for more of the drama side of things. Many dance schools don't provide this or if they do are quite stagey rather than dealing in thigs like improvisation, devising, creating characters and getting the kids to decide things for themselves. At our school there are a lot of children that tried syllabus ballet but it didn't work out.

The class sizes are capped at 15, this is actually much smaller than the class sizes at dd's ballet school.

Mollie (dh is a vocal coach who was classically trained but now works in musical theatre) you may find that the main difference in individual voice lessons/church choir is the type of voice production taught in conventional classsical singing is based on a certain sound. In musical theatre singers are encouraged to be able to sing in different voice qualities according to the needs of the show/character.

Dd is quite serious and does Stagecoach, plus tap, ballet and modern (though she covers a lot of modern at Stagecoach too). I would say that Stagecoach has been the most benefit to her so far. it was interesting to see that when she took part in a local drama festival the adjudicator there was looking for different things (she preferred the dance school stagey style of drama) but the following day at a workshop with one of the leading children's casting directors they were looking for a much more truthful interpreation - the style she learns at Stagecoach.

Dh says that a lot of what happens at Stagecoach is similar (obviously at a more age appropraite level) than what the students do at drama school.

MollieO Mon 28-Mar-11 13:08:27

I love the fact that it's inclusive. It doesn't matter if you don't have the best singing voice or aren't the best dancer you still get an opportunity to participate. I think that's the most important thing. There seems to be a complete lack of competitive parenting, which is good too.

mumsnutty Wed 30-Mar-11 21:12:50

Thanks for all your feedback, I'm going to give it a whirl as we need a fun activity to keep her occupied and as she loves to sing and dance, feel this is perfect. When she is a bit older and if she enjoys and has the ability I'll look at ballet, tap, etc but for now this will do.

Elpha - thanks for feedback about the Manchester branch too!

jamesjoyce Sat 02-Apr-11 17:36:44

My daughter has been in Stagecoach for years. It has helped her confidence grow immensely. However, I do note that there are kids who have been there for up to eight years and cannot sing, dance or act. There are a sizeable number of these. What I want to know is what are they being taught for the fortune that parents pay out? I don't think we get value for money from the teachers (I'm not going to say which branch this is). I want my daughter to go to a school where they will draw out her skills in acting, singing and dancing; she is particularly good at the latter two. Problem is, she is happy where she is. I think the owner of the franchise just gets rich by running a rather nice club for kids but not much more.

Grockle Sun 10-Jul-11 18:15:13

Eeek, it's a lot, isn't it? DS visited our local school this weekend and loved it. But my purse is groaning at the thought of the cost. I really find it hard to believe it is worth it but the principal was so enthusiastic and DS was so excited about the prospect...

woolleybear Tue 12-Jul-11 09:41:42

Anyone have any experience of the Redhill Reigate Stagecoach, or the Caterham Coulsdon one? We are thinking of giving it a go but it is so much money!

mugglelady Sun 17-Jul-11 21:41:22

Have you considered Razzamataz, if you Google razzamataz theatre schools it will come up. There are quite a few of them now across the country (I think its a franchise set up), my daughter (7) has attended the Nottingham school for around a year now and loves it. It's 2.5 hours on a Saturday for her (I think this increases to 3 hours when she turns 8) and is about 13 pounds a week (you have to pay termly). It's also split into around an hour of singing, acting, and dancing.

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