Stage & Acting School – Frequently Asked Questions

For schools FAQ, please see School Workshops and Performances tab.
For Casting Agency, Franchising and Venue hire FAQ’s please see relevant tab.

Will my child be safe?

Yes. Only trained staff teach your child. They’re selected and approved by our experienced team and hold enhanced DBS certificates. Plus, at least one member of staff at each centre has a First Aid Certificate.

We only recruit staff who have built a professional history with the school or tutors already in post. All our staff teach by our ethics and equal opportunities policy. We hold regular staff meetings and each tutor is observed periodically and offered feedback. They are also on top of new changes to school curriculums and educational systems; all to ensure that your child has the latest and most relevant training.

We strive to give your child the best opportunities available. We do this with their safety and happiness at the core of what we offer.

My child has low self esteem – how can footlights help?

The first thing to tell you is, DO NOT worry! Help is at hand.

We all want our children to be perfectly balanced and socially interactive, but we have to remember – we are conditioned to believe that if a child that isn’t laughing all the time, making tonnes of new friends and or being invited to lots of parties –  then they mustn’t be popular or more importantly, a happy child! This is simply not true.

In our 15 years of experience, Footlights believes that every child is individual and matters. They learn at different paces, and even though one child may be quieter than another, this doesn’t mean they aren’t engaged.

Of course, there are other signs that may indicate your child has issues with self esteem, or something a little deeper. We have put some links at the bottom of this article that may be of use to you. It is often the case that at mainstream school, the child doesn’t seem to develop or achieve the ‘benchmarks’, no matter how fantastic the teaching and learning is. It could be that your child is interested in subjects that are not on the curriculum or that your child’s friends have no common interest in the subjects that your child has. Try them in different learning environments, doing a variety of activities; they’re bound to be talented in something. Once you find these things together, their self esteem will develop, as they will be achieving and enjoying the praise and gratification.

At Footlights we build your children’s self esteem by letting them express themselves freely; we give them ownership of projects, help them to build new relationships, make decisions and work as a team with a group of like-minded group of peers. At Footlights, we believe that team work can help build self esteem – this goes for the staff too!

We also strongly believe that one of the best ways to build self esteem in children and adults, is to give immediate, positive feedback.  Our tutor’s praise and encourage your children’s good work and effort verbally and for the younger children, we give them stickers.

We work towards achievable goals in practical ways, so that your child can learn visually and kinaesthetically. Also, by doing physical activity they release endorphins, which naturally promotes ‘a feel good factor’. In time, this will help build self esteem in your child.

Come along and find out. Sign up for a FREE TRIAL and see if together,  we can help to build the self esteem of your child.

What do we learn?

Communication skills are at the top of the list!

Being a stage school the emphasis is on acting, singing and dance. Our singing work includes solos, duets, harmony work, diction, voice projection and pronunciation. Coordination, stability, stamina, flexibility and strength are taught through our dance classes along with rhythm, jazz, contemporary and street dance. Drama classes cover speech, improvisation skills, character work, verse, script writing, comic timing and camera work, as well as accessing the imagination, concentration skills and team work.

All of our staff are highly trained to at least degree standard and that includes the Footlights Management team too, so you can be sure your child is in a carefully, thought-out, considered structured environment.

We encourage children and young people to be well rounded, educated and social able. You will often find our teenagers doing paid volunteering at our holiday schools or doing outreach work with us as part of our schools and community programmes.

How much does it cost?

Just over £6 per hour.

Saturday school fees are paid per term and Holiday School is payable weekly.

Private lessons start at £10 to £30 per hour.

Is there a notice period?

We ask for six weeks notice to manage class sizes, as most of our schools are over-subscribed.

We hold places for existing members, and quite often new enquiries have to go onto a waiting list.

If you do not give 6 weeks notice you will be charged for a half a term (6 weeks), or two months payments if you pay by standing order.

This information will be in your Footlights Welcome Pack which you will receive on your first day, as well on the reverse of the registration form that you sign and explained in full.

Can anyone join?

Anyone can join, regardless of ability or age. We believe we have something for everyone.

It’s just our Saturday classes that are age-specific. They’e designed for children and young people aged between 3 – 18 years old and are then split into 5 age-specific groups for increased specialisms and greater learning.

We also have links with excellent further and higher education institutes, who can offer advice on progression/auditions.

Are there any exams?

Yes and they’re accredited by the London Academy of Dramatic Art (L.A.M.D.A)

These exams will really make a difference to your child’s future, as they are counts towards the important GSCE, BTEC & UCAS points needed for university.

They usually take place in our Spring term (January to April) and are completely optional.

Please bear in mind children and young actors will need extra lessons, on top of their exam fee. So you will need to budget at least £60 to cover the extra lessons and the exam fee.

The exams cover Musical Theatre, Singing and Drama, but if your child or young actor would prefer to do another discipline then please email us at lamda@footlightstheatre.co.uk and we will do our best to accommodate you.

Please visit our LAMDA page for more detailed information.

What the school is closed due to bad weather (snow etc.) – can we claim our money back?

Unfortunately, if the school premises is closed due to reasons relating to weather, heating, or health and safety, we reserve the right not to refund money or reschedule the class.

Where possible, we will attempt to reschedule classes, particularly if Footlights has chosen to close the school. However, if you cannot make the rescheduled date, we cannot reimburse you.

 

How about shows?

We aim to provide as many opportunities as possible for our students to showcase their hard work, in addition to our annual Christmas show and a final show in a professional theatre in June or July of each year too.

Become a Footlights member and gain a pass to our ‘Access all Areas’ pages; where you’ll discover other performing opportunities that are available for your child or young actor.

What makes you different than other (nationally) well-known schools?

  • Footlights Stage Schools provide a safe and a friendly service above all else.
  • We offer a personal service in addition to our professional training.
  • We recruit  industry professionals, as teachers for your children.
  • We thrive on passion, not ‘sales’.
  • We are less expensive than other national companies and offer longer teaching hours; passing our quality, time and commitment to you and your children.
  • We operate an ‘open door’ policy; you are welcome to discuss your child’s progress with us at any time. All the directors will personally take your call regarding each school, and if we’re not available, strive to return your call or email within 24 hours.

What about agents, casting directors and jargon?

Footlights Personal Management (FPM) is managed by our founder Jo Fisher and a team of professionals.

  • FPM is happy to take on any new or existing children after they have completed two full terms with us.
  • For trained 17 – 21 year olds, we require a CV and/or a showreel, you will then be invited in for an audition.

All children and actors must have professional headshots taken by our photographer. They MUST also join Spotlight.

Please be aware that that casting professionals, directors and production companies work to a very tight deadlines. As a result, they have little time for ‘games’ or ‘giddy’ or ‘shy’ children. We really don’t mean to sound harsh, but if your child isn’t confident, there is little point in them auditioning at the moment – THEY ARE STILL GREAT KIDS, but will probably need to attend regular (acting, singing and dance) classes with us, to build their confidence.

Licencing (for all children and young actors aged 15 years or under – including babies!)
As above, tight schedules are the the norm. For every single job that a young actor gets, they will need a NEW license, which means – two passport photographs, a letter from school, giving permission for the child to be absent if necessary, a letter from the doctor stating your child is fit and well and a copy of the child’s birth certificate or passport. This all gets sent off to your child’s LEA (Local Education Authority) and it is usually completed at RAPID SPEED usually.

Big tip
– build a GREAT relationship with your doctor so they will sign off letters at a moment’s notice and not charge you.

Favouritism doesn’t exist! It may seem that other people’s kids are getting auditions and your child isn’t, however this is nothing to do with ‘favourites’, it’s simply down to what the casting directors are asking for.

Our agency is FREE OF CHARGE to join, and by doing so, you are giving your child the best opportunity to be seen, if not, they simply won’t be!

Please see our casting agency page for further details.

Jargon

Breakdown: This is what we receive on a daily basis. It is a list sent out to all agents all over the UK and contains descriptions of all acting jobs available in various fields, commercials, films, tv drama’s, etc. We carefully read the breakdown and see if any of our children/young actors match the brief (breakdown). If so then we make suggestions (see below). So you see, it is in our interest to suggest the appropriate children/young actors. If we just suggested ‘favourites’ we would narrow our chances of getting work. We MATCH what they want. Nothing else.

Suggestions/submissions: This is a term coined by casting directors and the like when asking for us (agencies) to submit children/young actors for a job. What it means is we read the ‘breakdown’ and then ‘suggest’ or ‘sub’ children/young actors who fit with the description of the character that the casting director is asking for.

Pages: TV Scripts that are sent for children/ young actors to learn before an audition. IT IS ALWAYS in your child’s/young actors best interest to LEARN as much as possible before the audition. Often they don’t get ‘pages’ and are asked to ‘improvise’ (see confidence above!)

Buyout: One set fee that your child/ young actor will get paid so that production company can use the footage for up to 12 months. We will always notify you of the pay scale and expectations of pay.

Audition fees: Auditions are generally UNPAID. Also, they’re often in London, and travel is very unlikely to be covered either. If this poses a problem for you, let us know and we will not submit your child for London auditions.