Sisters Felicity & Jessica have dreamed of opening their own performing arts school since they were young girls performing Spice Girls for their family in the back garden. Jessica opened her franchise of Razzamataz Theatre Schools in Brentwood in 2017 and Hornchurch in 2019, but Felicity couldn’t take the financial risk of joining her in self-employment but supported her sister in her spare time. When lockdown changed the world in 2020, Felicity’s career in London was no longer secure and they decided it was time for her to join the Razzamataz family. They bravely planned for expansion into Romford, despite nerves when the existing schools had to divert to online classes and many children decided to take a break until back face to face.
Felicity says “lockdown has been hard on so many people financially and mentally. We are so passionate about building children’s confidence through singing, dancing & acting. We have seen the impact that we have in keeping their spirits up during lockdown. In turn, the kids have kept our spirits up. We know that this is the most important thing we could do for our community so we are taking a leap of faith in expanding our schools.”
Jessica is the dreamer of the duo, always planning something fun and exciting for the kids. Felicity is the big kid, always joining in the lessons. Jessica’s positivity was tested when the take-up wasn’t as high as she had hoped for online classes. She was worried that everything she had worked so hard for was slipping through her fingers. Felicity’s enthusiasm for online classes spurred Jessica on and they brainstormed lots of creative ways to keep classes engaging. They’ve played a variety of games including quick dress up as aliens or superheroes, which the adults all join in for. They’ve had a variety of guest teachers for workshops including West End performers Charlotte Anne Steen (Rent), Nina Bell (Billy Elliot), Amy Barker (Back to the Future), Christopher Tendai (Hamilton), casting director Felicity French & Strictly Come Dancing winner Joanne Clifton. Jessica elaborates, “We’ve had whole families join in for glow stick parties in our front rooms, as well as incorporated mindfulness into classes.”
While not all students have joined online, it’s had a big impact on those that have. Jessica explains, “Many parents have reached out to me to let me know that their children have developed anxiety in lockdown. I’ve suffered with anxiety since I was 4 years old, so I’m always happy to reach out to the kids on a one-to-one basis as I understand how it feels and offer some tips. Parents have fed back that classes have helped them to keep a routine and positively impacted their children’s mental health. It means the world to me to make a difference, especially during these difficult times.” Due to restrictions, they currently have very limited spaces available, book your child’s place NOW for a free taster session.