At its network of schools across the UK, Razzamataz offers school-age children opportunities to perform on big stages and participate in workshops with industry professionals. Paul Vale finds out more
This year, Razzamataz Theatre Schools is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Once again, the company is collaborating with The Stage to offer an amazing 43 scholarships for classes all over the UK. Each scholarship offers more than 100 hours of free tuition throughout the year, the total value of which is in excess of £33,000.
Razzamataz, founded by former dancer Denise Hutton-Gosney, was the first part-time theatre school to collaborate with The Stage back in 2008, offering a national scholarship opportunity to young people keen to be part of a performing-arts group. The previous year, Hutton-Gosney secured backing from Dragons’ Den panellist Duncan Bannatyne, who remains a committed partner to this day.
Speaking as part of the theatre school’s marketing team, Karen Keeman explains what makes Razzamataz an exceptional first stop for so many young people interested in a stage career. “It’s probably the amount of unique opportunities that we offer – regardless of whether children want to take performing arts seriously as a career. There are so many opportunities: from performing on big stages, such as Her Majesty’s Theatre or the O2, to our many guest workshops, we’re giving them a really good all-round training in the arts.”
Each franchise has a strong focus on performance opportunities, helping young people develop their confidence and potential and allowing every student the chance to take centre stage. The ethos in all the classes is about having fun, making new friends and enjoying being active leading to happy and healthy children. There is a real sense of family at each school.
Keeman says: “That sense of family atmosphere is massively important. Obviously, the schools are spread out and when we get together, we talk about it collectively as a family. But within each school, it’s really important that the students feel like this and a lot of them say Razz is their second family.
“Every student will support every other student and that’s drilled in from the moment they arrive. We’re a family and we support each other and if there’s a problem we talk about it. Each school has something called a ‘senior’s in’, when the older students will have a night with their principal and teachers and talk about the things that are important to them – the kinds of things that they want to be doing. So they have a voice in the group.”
No academic qualifications are required to attend Razzamataz Theatre Schools but what exactly are the teachers looking for in hopeful applicants?
“We are really looking for a spark of something and also a real willingness to learn and to be part of the community that we’ve got. It doesn’t matter if they’ve not had any formal training, but it’s for the person who really wants to get stuck into as many of the events as possible, take it all on board, be enthusiastic and just show love and a passion for the arts.”
Course: One-year, part-time performing arts
Educational level: School-age
Number of scholarships offered: Up to 43 around the UK
Value of scholarship: About £33,000
What costs are covered? Fees
Where is the school? Various sites across UK
Likely audition date: April 13
How do I apply? Fill in the online form on the Razzamataz website and upload a two-minute video highlighting what you can do, whether it’s street dance, musical theatre, drama or singing.