Career change from midwife to theatre school Principal
“I was feeling trapped by my job and in a place where I no longer felt passionate about what I did. Finding Razzamataz was like having a weight lift off my shoulders.”
Profile: Meet Charlotte Bradshaw, aged 30 and the new Principal of Razzamataz Leicester. Charlotte is the new Principal of Razzamataz Leicester as well as being an experienced midwife, having qualified in 2018 after completing degrees in biomedical sciences and midwifery.
Background: Although I have always enjoyed the challenges of the role, the last few years have become very stressful, and I was looking for a way to mitigate some of this stress.
Business/performing arts experience: I’ve always been passionate about the theatre and performing arts although I’ve never performed professionally. As a child I went to a theatre school up until starting university and from there, I remained involved on a part time basis through various means such as writing my own theatre blog and being a panto judge for the panto association. Working with young people has also always been very important to me; I was a camp counsellor and leader at Brownies. In terms of business experience, I didn’t have any so the idea of running my own theatre school was a dream that I never thought would be achievable.
Why Razzamataz: I did lots of research and Razzamataz was just one of the theatre school franchises I checked out. It had a unique quality of being a place that combined excellent performing arts training and incredible opportunities with having a fun atmosphere that would build children’s confidence. As a prospective franchisee, it also felt very friendly and provided the personal touch whereas the others felt quite corporate which wasn’t something that I wanted to go with.
Why franchising: I always said that I would love to run a theatre school, but it was more of a dream than anything that I would put into action because I’m not a professional performer and I don’t have any business experience. It was a friend who talked to me about franchising and helping me to understand that if you were passionate, the franchisor would teach you everything that you need to know. With Razzamataz, they have gone through launching new schools more than 60 times before, so I just need to follow their system. Franchising has given me the option of being a theatre school Principal, without it, I would never have done this alone.
First steps into becoming a franchisee: Before attending an online Discovery Den, I read everything I could about Razzamataz from press articles through to social content and beyond. I watched lots of videos and had a good feel for the company. But the Discovery Den gave me the opportunity to ask lots of questions and meet some of the team. I’m very impatient and wanted to get on with opening the school straight away but there is a process that you go through that gives the franchisor and yourself time to get to know each other properly and make sure that you are ready to commit to running a business.
Any worries or concerns: Running a business is completely new to me so really, I was concerned about pretty much everything! It’s a big thing to have such a major career change but I felt more excited than scared because of the support that is in place.
Training: It was a very good and a very intense week. There is so much to learn with lots covered including all the basics as well as many things that I wouldn’t have even thought of. The hybrid training worked well and doing part online and meeting in person was ideal. The highlight was visiting some of the Razzamataz schools in action. I went to Razzamataz Penrith to see a mid-week school and Razzamataz Carlisle for the Saturday school. Learning about the business side can feel quite intense in the initial few weeks so seeing a school in action and just how much the children and teams loved it, filled me with such excitement.
What are your work goals: I’m currently working three long shifts a week as a midwife with the plan to drop this to two shifts. When Razzamataz builds, I will make a further decision but for now, I always want to keep a hand in midwifery. What has been so reassuring is that many people in the Razzamataz network have done similar types of transitions from either teaching or corporate roles, so I know this is an achievable goal.
What is your mission: I want to provide a fun and safe place where children can come and feel like they can be themselves, be accepted and express themselves in the way that makes them feel happy. Razzamataz Leicester will offer a warm and friendly environment for all the students, staff and families and each week, I want children to feel energized and raring to return.
How is Razzamataz fitting into your lifestyle? The role is incredibly flexible so although I’m very busy, I can combine working for the NHS and launching my school. So far, it’s working really well, and I can choose when I get things done, working at my own pace and around my shifts and social life. I’m very busy but it is easy to fit it in if you are organised and Asha at Head Office is great for getting back to me quickly if I have any questions or need any support.
What are you most enjoying being part of the Razzamataz network: I’m excited to be meeting more of the Razzamataz Principals, which I shall do when I come to watch the West End Razzamataz show and at the annual Conference. I feel like I’ve learnt so much already and ever since my training week, I’ve had the opportunity to join other training opportunities and continue to learn.
Advice and top tips: I had been feeling trapped, miserable and a bit desperate with the worry about how I was going to change my life. I did a lot of soul searching and if you feel like I did, then I want people to know that there are ways of making that change. I watched one of the Razzamataz videos where a Principal was talking about when it was the right time to go into business and the phrase ‘if not now, then when’ jumped out at me. Within moments a switch flicked on in my head and everything about Razzamataz just felt right. A huge weight was lifted from my shoulders and although I was nervous, I was more excited than anything.
What are your future goals/plans for the school: I’ve been interviewing all week and I believe we have an incredible team of teachers and staff lined up for our launch day on January 13th 2024. Children will get a chance to sample each of the singing, dancing and acting classes but more than that, I’m going to ensure that it is just a really fun day for the whole family with plenty of things to keep everyone happy from refreshments through to activities for younger siblings. Razzamataz Leicester will be a place where children will receive expert tuition in performing arts and a safe space to make new friends, have lots of fun, express themselves creatively and work as a team. The emphasis will be on encouragement and supporting children to try new things. I can’t wait to get the students involved in all the additional Razzamataz activities such as performing on a West End stage, international educational and enrichment trips and masterclasses with industry professionals. The aim is to ensure the children and their families experience new adventures and go on to make amazing memories.
Want to change your career?
Razzamataz Theatre Schools offer employment to some circa 600 people either as teachers, assistants, or part of the admin team. There are plenty of opportunities to grow with many people starting out as work experience placements and progressing to assistant Principals or Principal roles.
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Week commencing 18th March 2024 for a September 2024 launch.
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