After close to six months of school closures, Stagecoach Performing Arts franchisees from across the UK have welcomed students back to their weekly singing, dancing and acting sessions; just in time for the start of the Autumn term. In the first two weeks of September alone, 80% of the UK franchise network reopened their schools – and that figure is increasing on a weekly basis.
The international children’s performing arts franchise has been preparing for this day since the UK went into lockdown on 24th March, implementing a whole host of digital resources for franchisees to utilise during the so-called ‘downtime’.
One of the brands most successful initiatives, a digital performing arts subscription service called #stagecoachathome, gained website views of 32,130 visits in its first six weeks. This maintained the presence of the brand throughout lockdown and has had a positive impact on new term enrolments. Enquiries have increased by over 32% and to date, sign ups have increased 5% year-on-year, with the majority of Stagecoach students returning for their weekly sessions.
Former Drama teacher, Josh Bradley, launched his franchise in North Tyneside on Saturday 19th September. Despite a five-month delay since the date of his initial launch, he’s been inundated with enquiries and has seen no significant impact to student numbers.
“I would actually go as far as to say that enrolments are higher than what I had initially projected for my first term before the pandemic. I’ve been so busy in the initial few weeks of the business that I’m already planning on expanding to open another school in the new year,” said Josh. “I think parents feel safe in the knowledge that I’m putting the safety and wellbeing of my students at the heart of my business – this is messaging that I’ve been proactive in communicating in the weeks leading up to our first session.
“Thanks to the support of Stagecoach, I’ve been able to establish strict social distancing policies and devise a new risk assessment procedure that takes all eventualities into consideration. At one point, the launch of my school was hanging in the balance as the venue I’d found became concerned that too many children may be in the location at one time. Once I’d shared with them all of the safety precautions I’d put in place, with the guidance of Stagecoach, they saw for themselves just how invested I was in my students’ safety.”
Andy Knights, Chief Operating Officer at Stagecoach Performing Arts, and his team have worked closely with franchisees to maintain brand presence and business success. He feels reassured by the addition of passionate talent, like Josh, to the diverse network.
“Stagecoach came together for the benefit of our students and their families around the world who have relied on our quality of performing arts education for the last 32 years. Extracurricular activities have always played an important part in children’s development and it has been a challenging time for those who thrive on creativity. Although I feel we did a remarkable job of providing the same stellar quality of singing, dancing and acting expertise we pride ourselves on during the lockdown period, it’s been incredible to see so many franchisees back in session again. Sure, 2020 has been a challenging year for both the performing arts and the franchising sectors but it’s incredible to see how brands have pivoted, providing solutions for franchisees and customers alike. I wish Josh the best of luck as he starts his new adventure as a business owner and principal.”