Membership History

Associate Member
Joined 2016

Membership History

Associate Member
Joined 2016

Company Overview

Footlights provides affordable part time performing arts training and has been established for 15 years. We work tirelessly to innovate within our industry and inspire our children and young people; as well as making new friends and being with likeminded individuals, they being prepared to be the next generation of performers and/or teachers, film makers and practitioners. We constantly research and update our processes, learning and implementing methods that we feel incentivise children and teachers. We have evidence of the benefits of sending a child to Footlights, such as improving mental health and well-being, making new friends, learning new skills, increasing their knowledge, participating in fun educational arts-based learning, and we pass on this knowledge to you with our in depth training programme.

Franchise Overview

Footlights was created in 2005 by trained actress and teacher Jo Fisher whose initial mantra was ‘Inspired by Children…Created by Professionals’ – 15 years on we still strongly believe in this. After excelling in her own training at drama school, Jo’s love of the theatre led to a desire to create affordable, accessible performing arts training for children and young people aged 4 – 18 years… and she did exactly that.  Footlights has a record number of franchises in Greater Manchester and currently extends to outlets in West Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, and the Midlands, with an eye on the rest of the UK and beyond.  In 2020, in spite of the pandemic, ALL Footlights’ franchisees are still trading as individual businesses; we thrive on a challenge and we want you to be part of it.


You will be trained not only on our proven business model with refined systems but, as we are specialists in Children’s education, we offer unique and comprehensive training in Safeguarding, Equality and Diversity, First Aid and Child Sexual Exploitation, so you are fully equipped on operating a business for children.

We provide thorough online certified training in the above as well as a five day intensive programme for UK territories face to face, plus a further five days with current franchisees. This means you are learning directly from successful franchisees, what better training is there?

You will have the opportunity to train alongside our franchisees on the ‘shop floor’ and, for UK territories, we can offer flexible training to work around your schedule, including weekend and evening training. You will need to commit to five full working days to complete your whole training experience. For international Franchisees we offer online learning and we will work with you separately, tailoring and implementing your training on an individual basis.

Our head office is in MediaCityUK, Manchester with our own 140-seat theatre that rivals any other stage school

Daily Life of a franchisee

This is a part time business, however your weekly tasks will include administration, marketing and building strong partnerships with your target market. Your favourite day of the week will be a Saturday morning where you come face to face with the children; we can guarantee that, whatever your mood, you will be uplifted when you are busy organising the acting, singing and dance classes with your qualified teachers and getting your children ‘show ready’ or exam prepped.

Here our latest franchisee gives you an insight into a Saturday morning!

I get up and get ready, pack up the car, pick up milk for the staff beverages on the way in and arrive at school for 8.50am. I like to be there really early to set up and have everything looking ship shape before the staff and students descend. The rest of the morning goes in a flash, I never sit down! I’m always chatting to parents, then I like to register the whole school before they start and I award team points for punctuality, uniform, etc, give any notices, say a few motivational words then they’re all off to lessons.

 At break, I make a point of chatting with some of the quieter students and all staff to see how the morning has gone and to get a vibe for the general mood. Most days the staff and kids are full of energy but some days they’re not and it’s good to know when these days are and reflect. Some mornings I’ll have loads of admin to do and uniform items to try on, but then a student scrapes a knee or accidentally spills a bottle of water over themselves and you have a drama! It’s never a dull day. One week we had a mouse in school that accidentally got crushed by a table and the kids wanted to give it a funeral and send off in the gardens!! My students are clearly crazy which I love! We have to have fun, happier students facilitate better learning. It never stops but mostly it’s business as usual – excellent quality tuition is being delivered and great learning and development is taking place.

Footlights Sale, Cheshire: A huge success!

Launching in April 2019, Anna Morgan (Director of Footlights Sale) not only smashed her initial targets but had to expand in her territory due to a massive waiting list. At just 24 years old Anna explains her journey.

“I had a background in performing arts, attending stage schools when I was younger and training further at a vocational level. Before investing in Footlights I had no previous ‘business’ experience but the training provided was a great foundation for going forward in growing my business. I enjoyed learning all aspects of the business in our training, that gave me a good foundation for running the school day and also day to day admin. We covered a wide range of aspects including Safeguarding and GDPR. The robust training manual we received covered all the processes within the business and was a great help and insight for me as I didn’t have any previous business background. I was able to visit other Footlights schools to observe front of house procedures and gain confidence in answering parents’ questions in regard to the specifics of children attending. Another franchisee and I were mentored personally by Jo Fisher herself who was always available to pass on her wealth of knowledge. Another fantastic opportunity I had was to be able to train and mentor two brand new franchisees as they went through the process of opening their own schools. I very much enjoyed being able to train and pass on my tips and advice - especially in social media – so that they could have a successful opening and begin the journey of their own Footlights school

Our Open Day was extremely exciting! We had in the weeks leading up delivered leaflets to schools across my territory; with record attendance for a Footlights open day it was so encouraging to see the instant buzz we had created for the school. Head office were a great help with organising Community leaders to be in attendance and give a fantastic speech to mark the opening of our school. They were also vital in the process of choosing the premises that we were to use for the Open Day and going forward. The day itself was scheduled down to the minute and with the help of our fantastic staff it ran like clockwork. I think this was a huge contributing factor to the success of our open day and getting those instant sign ups.   

Covid-19 has been a huge challenge that I never expected to run into in my first year of business! Communication has been important both with students/families and also staff. I have made sure to be present on Facebook/Instagram and also send regular email updates. Head Office initially provided us with a great system via Google Classroom, whereby we could upload pre-recorded lessons for students to take part in. This was really helpful to make sure we could retain students straight away. However, it has been very important to be adaptable and change how we have provided online content as lockdown has continued. In recent weeks we have transferred our classes to be all live via Zoom. This has been very successful and the feedback from parents has been fantastic, many saying they have been so important for the students’ mental health and well-being at this difficult time. The financial impact has been significant but by offering quality online services we have retained a good percentage of students. As the franchisee and director of the school it has also been important for me to remain as positive as I can for moral for staff and also for students so that they have some sort of normality when they attend our online classes. 

Footlights has survived two recessions and manages to thrive in the current pandemic. Our brand is known throughout children’s TV’s top casting directors and our credits include ‘Matilda The Musical’ (West End Tour) and also ‘Game of Thrones’. 

Footlights is owned and managed by Jo Fisher, a trained actress, teacher and writer which qualifies the brand in terms of credibility and trust.   People buy into people and with your own personality and flair, Jo and her team will inspire and train you into becoming the very best franchisee for Footlights.

What other stage school gets a mention in the House of Commons? We also have an immaculate reputation with head teachers, children’s services and many authorities who will be your target market.

What if you don’t have a performing arts background? Don’t worry, all you need is a passion for inspiring children, a determination to grow your business and a keen eye for the bottom line.


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Footlights Franchise United Through Coronavirus
7 April 2020

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