Last year, Stagecoach students performed 73 productions of Beauty and the Beast worldwide – at the same time. The unique achievement reflects the school’s ethos
We’ve seen Hollywood’s take on Beauty and the Beast, both in animated and live action versions, with stars such as Angela Lansbury and Emma Watson bringing that ‘tale as old as time’ to life. But we’ve never seen it quite like this before.
In July last year, 73 performances of the classic musical took place simultaneously across the world, all performed by students from Stagecoach schools. And in fact the event was so huge that it set a new Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous performance of one show.
Stagecoach was founded in 1988, and, as part of its 30th-anniversary celebrations, 73 schools in countries as far-flung as Germany and Canada staged Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. It’s a major achievement, blasting the previous record out of the water.
The original Beauty and the Beast animated film was released in cinemas in 1991, and quickly became one of the most beloved animated films of all time. A few years later it became an award-winning Broadway musical. Then in 2017, the film was re-imagined again in a sumptuous live-action version. The choice of Beauty and the Beast was particularly appropriate for this world record, since that film starred two Stagecoach alumni: Emma Watson and Nathan Mack.
And although so many people have seen and fallen in love with the story, it’s never been performed by so many people before.
Stagecoach chief executive Sarah Kelly explains: “We are so proud of all our principals, teachers and students who put an incredible amount of work and preparation into their performances of Beauty and the Beast Jr and achieved the Guinness World Record. Events like this truly encapsulate the Stagecoach Performing Arts essence of developing ‘Creative Courage for Life’, and being a part of the success of the global network is something our students can be proud of for years to come.”
Stagecoach isn’t an organisation known for doing things on a small scale. It’s the largest network of extra-curricular performing arts schools in the country, and in fact has schools right across the world, every week teaching more and more young people not only to sing, dance and act, but also inspiring them to have creative courage for their entire lives.
While a world-beating record of this type is no surprise coming from an organisation such as Stagecoach, whose ambitions have never been less than grand, it’s certainly an incredibly impressive feat. But Stagecoach regularly gives young people this kind of opportunity: unique, special and something to be incredibly proud of.
But more than being a great achievement for Stagecoach as a whole, it’s also a testament to every single school and every young performer in every single one of the 73 performances around the globe. Every Belle and Beast, every Gaston and Chip and Mrs Potts, all the singers and dancers and actors worked together to make something extraordinary. From a few hours of fun on a Saturday morning to a record-breaking achievement: that’s what Stagecoach is all about.
For more details on Stagecoach Performing Arts schools, visit stagecoach.co.uk