‘We bring out the magic in each one of them’: Meet the principal of Stagecoach Performing Arts Cheltenham

From cultivating the next generation of superstars to staging shows at Disneyland Paris, the principal of Stagecoach Performing Arts in Cheltenham gives SoGlos an insight into the enriching experience it offers – and the exciting things its students get up to.

By Annabel Lammas  |  Published
Stagecoach Performing Arts in Cheltenham offers professional classes in singing, dancing and acting for local children aged four to 18.
Stagecoach Performing Arts in Cheltenham offers professional classes in singing, dancing and acting for local children aged four to 18.

Welcoming children aged four to 18, Stagecoach Performing Arts in Cheltenham is now enrolling for its summer 2022 term, with weekly classes taking place on Saturdays from Saturday 23 April to Saturday 16 July 2022.

SoGlos sat down with principal, Sharon Isaacs, to find out what aspiring young actors, singers and dancers can expect from the Stagecoach experience – like learning new skills, building lifelong friendships and treading the boards of the Everyman Theatre!

Meet the principal – Sharon Isaacs from Stagecoach Performing Arts Cheltenham

Sharon Isaacs has been the principal of Stagecoach Performing Arts in Cheltenham since 1999, supporting young people who share her passion for the performing arts through weekly classes, workshops, productions and formal training in drama, dance and singing.

Stagecoach Performing Arts Cheltenham offers part-time, professional training in performing arts for budding stars aged four to 18-years-old – now enrolling for its summer 2022 term.

How does Stagecoach Cheltenham create a space where children can enrich their childhood?

Our aspiration is that Stagecoach Cheltenham is a buzzing, inspirational environment – providing a safe space where children can perform and develop a real sense of pride in their contribution, no matter what their individual skills are. I want them to always feel they can ask for help and embrace their differences.

Whether they’re a confident dancer, actor or singer, or need a boost in confidence, our aim is to see them flourish. Everyone is unique and individual at Stagecoach and we cherish and love this about the children. We bring out the magic in each one of them.

How do you encourage each child to pursue their individual passions at Stagecoach Cheltenham?

We have an amazing team of teachers who are all industry professionals. They are passionate about performing arts and sharing their skills, encouraging our students to find their own individual strengths and letting them fly – but we offer so much more at Stagecoach than the fantastic weekly experience.

How do you support children who are looking for formal training or a career in the performing arts?

We offer examinations in all areas of performance through LAMDA, where students have one-to-one tuition in-house. We regularly have West End Performers visit us for specialist workshops, bringing some West End glitz into the room too!

When the time comes to look at further education, we offer individual advice and guidance to help our students prepare for the next step in their journey – whether it be audition technique, the best courses to apply for or the best route to embark upon. Our team all have current experience working with agents and are able to offer real life experience, which is so important.

If they are looking for a career in performing arts, our foundation training is of the highest standard leading into further education. Our incredible team of teaching staff are all professional performers themselves and understand the journey that the children are on. They really do know how it feels to walk in those shoes; they understand the insecurities surrounding the industry and with their passion, amazing qualifications and professional backgrounds, they provide a perfectly balanced combination to deliver the highest quality training.

Are there opportunities for students to get involved in behind-the-scenes roles, such as stage management or costuming?

Many of our older students take the opportunity to help with set design, lighting and sound, bringing their own creativity to our shows. It’s through the training and experience they gain with us that they’re able to recognise and define the path they may like to explore within the industry.

Whether or not they are looking for a career in the performing arts, they will take away many life skills, which as young adults, will enable them to enter a room with confidence, perhaps into an interview situation and maybe even present in public. With the ability to bring a story to life with a confident delivery, they’re sure to succeed in a whole host of life scenarios.

How do you support children who might be more introverted or need a confidence boost?

We have a strong sense of team spirit and it’s important that the children who attend feel a real part of the team. They learn to trust and listen to each other and, above all that, to achieve something magical when they work together.

We are stronger together and no one needs to be alone. Our students embrace the family feel at Stagecoach and many of them form long-lasting friendships with the other children.

Can you tell us a bit more about the additional performance opportunities that are available to students?

There are lots of additional performance opportunities for those who want to tread the boards.

For the past 15 years, we have formed the Joseph choir when the tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat comes to Cheltenham – with many other touring productions regularly calling upon our school if young performers are needed; as well as numerous filming opportunities and voiceover work.

We love a challenge and most of all, we love to give as many opportunities as we can to those who want to perform. We have strong links with local theatres like Cheltenham’s Everyman Theatre and regularly partner up to provide additional cast for touring shows.

We also perform on stage alongside Stagecoach schools from all over the UK. This June 2022, we’re performing at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London – and we’ve even performed in Disneyland Paris and at the Royal Albert Hall in the past!

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