Stagecoach Performing Arts brought the year to a stylish close on Sunday 2nd December, at their annual black-tie Charity Gala and the first ever Creative Courage for Life Awards. Over 500 parents, loved ones and former alumni came together from across the globe, to celebrate the incredible achievements of the students and their teachers, at London’s Shaftesbury Theatre in the West End.
With eight schools performing musical numbers from popular shows, Footloose and We Will Rock You – amongst others – the event was an opportunity for franchisees, head office staff and friends to come together and recognise the wealth of talent from within the network. On top of the usual programme of events, this year saw the first ever Creative Courage for Life Awards joining proceedings.
Compered by Tarquin Shaw-Young, Head of Casting at the Stagecoach Agency, the awards were given to those who have excelled in singing, dancing and acting. Stagecoach Performing Arts launched in the UK in 1988. Today, a network of more than 300 franchisees operate over 700 schools offering 1,780 classes in nine countries. Across those 30 years, more than one million students have passed through the doors of the worldwide franchise and so, in an effort to commend the commitment of the network, the head office team devised the Creative Courage for Life Awards.
“We do a great job of recognising our franchise network and their achievements, at regular meetings and our annual franchise conference, but this is about recognising the outstanding achievements of our students and teachers,” explained Tarquin. “The Creative Courage for Life Awards applaud the diversity and confidence of our students. Our two headline awards, ‘Overcoming Diversity’ and ‘Creative Courage for Life’, are earmarked for those who have made a direct impact on their peers and have conquered obstacles to achieve their goals. At Stagecoach, we’re much more about instilling that sense of growth and confidence, as opposed to just nurturing the next generation of performance talent, which is why these two awards are so important.”
Across the nine categories, 11 students were honoured – as were three teachers and one collective school. Over 50 people were nominated, across three continents, with representatives from schools in Malta, Australia and Canada travelling thousands of miles to attend the ceremony. The winners were chosen by an esteemed panel of judges, who watched hundreds of hours of recorded footage, submitted by franchisees, on behalf of their teachers and students.
The coveted ‘Young Fanfare Composer Award’ was pioneered by renowned composer, arranger and producer, David Lowe. David, who composed the themes for the BBC News and the London 2012 Olympics, judged the student submissions and offered the winning composer the opportunity to meet him in his recording studio, where the fanfare will be professionally recorded.
Sarah Kelly, CEO of Stagecoach Performing Arts, was proud to attend and cheer on just a few of the thousands of students who pass through Stagecoach’s doors every week. “The gala, which was in aid of our charity of choice, Young Minds, has always been the highlight of our events calendar,” said Sarah. “It’s a great opportunity for the office team, our franchisees and students to come together and congratulate each other on their mutual achievements. We celebrated our 30th anniversary this year and, with the addition of the Creative Courage for Life awards, the evening felt extra special. Thank you to all who came along and to all the students for putting on an incredible show.”