“Razzamataz has always felt like a massive family and the commitment of building from within has given so many young people opportunities to grow successful careers.”
Meet Jodie Hall, age 22 and the new franchise owner at Razzamataz Derby. Jodie has been part of Razzamataz since she was just 13, starting out as a student, then progressing to assistant, teacher and now Principal. This is her story.
I always loved theatre and did drama GCSE at school, but it was when I found Razzamataz Sutton Coldfield when I was around the age of 13, that I really got to experience the full spectrum of performing arts. At 16, I decided to further my performing arts training at college and my Principals encouraged me to audition for the Future Fund, Razzamataz’s own charity which financially supports students going on to study. During this time, I also became a teaching assistant, progressing through to teaching the Mini and Junior students. After college, I started to work for Razzamataz more full time, helping out with the admin and more of the behind-the-scenes work. In 2020, I officially became the assistant Principal at Razzamataz Derby, so when the opportunity came to take over the school, I jumped at it.
I didn’t have any previous experience, so I was nervous and appreciated it was a huge commitment to take on the school. But I knew the Razzamataz community would be so supportive and although I understood I had a lot to learn, I was confident that the collaborative nature would enable me to do that.
Razzamataz has always felt like a massive family and the commitment of building from within has given so many young people opportunities to grow successful careers. As a student, Razzamataz gave me so much confidence and opportunities that I don’t believe I would have experienced elsewhere. Some of my most memorable moments are performing with my friends on stage at the Indigo at the 02 Arena in London. In fact, some of my closest friends are colleagues I work with now at Razzamataz. It’s just a lovely environment to be part of.
When I worked as an assistant and teacher, I understood the Sutton and Derby schools were part of a franchise and therefore part of a much bigger picture. But I didn’t know exactly what that entailed. I now understand that being part of a franchise offers so many benefits because of the collaborative and supportive nature. If it wasn’t a franchise network, it would be so much more daunting, and I don’t think it would be something that I would have been prepared to take on at this age.
The Razzamataz Sutton Coldfield Principals Nick and Gemma have been so supportive and knew that my ambition was to always run my own school one day. After they had their baby, they decided that it was the right time to sell the Derby school so encouraged me to book on to an online Discovery Den so I understood more about the business and what I could expect. I found it very informative and came away with understanding a lot more of the process.
Start of the journey
I started my training by going through the Razzamataz Teacher Training platform, which is available to all team members and is a great way to improve the skills that you have and learn new ones. The franchise training was fantastic, I filled two whole notebooks and it massively opened my eyes to the bigger picture. There’s so much more to running a theatre school than it first seems but I’m really excited to put into practice all that I’ve learnt.
I’m committed to ensuring the students have as many performing opportunities as possible and I want to do this by growing our presence in the local community and building my network. In terms of the business, I want to continue to grow and expand but the most important thing is that children leave feeling confident and happy every single week. I want to make sure that they are continuously learning, and they get access to the same opportunities as I did, whether that’s performing, taking part in industry workshops or lots of additional fun activities that make their overall experience so special.
I love that this is not a 9-5 job and I can work flexibly to suit my lifestyle. For me, the more Razzamataz the better but I appreciate that I can do it to my own timetable. I’m already getting excited about seeing things more from a Principal viewpoint and of course being part of the students’ growth and development. Although I’m young to run my own business, this has never been an issue with the parents or other staff members.
Go for it. Be organised, keep on top of all your admin and make sure you don’t miss any opportunities. I’m happy to be a young person in this role and I’m excited to be playing a bigger part in the Derby community.