Frequently Asked Questions
Stage school and Acting school see below.
Will my child be safe?
Yes. Only trained staff teach your child, selected and approved by our experienced team, they also hold enhanced DBS certificates. 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. You will find that all our staff teach with the same ethics and equal opportunities policy. They are constantly in touch with new changes in school curriculum and educational systems. We hold regular staff meetings and each tutor is observed periodically and given feedback. We strive to give your child the best opportunities available and do this with their safety and happiness at the core of what we offer.
My child has low self esteem – how can footlights help?
If your child suffers with low self esteem – help is at hand. The first thing to tell you is NOT to worry! At Footlight’s we believe that working as part of a team can often help with self esteem -this goes for the staff too! Our tutor’s believe that in order to boost a child’s self esteem they must praise and encourage children’s work. Good effort is rewarded with constant verbal praise and for the younger children stickers are given out. Of course we all want our children to be perfectly balanced and socially interactive, but we have to remember – we are conditioned to believe that a child that isn’t laughing all the time, making tonnes of new friends and 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 every that child 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 ‘bench marks’, no matter how fantastic the teaching and learning is. It may just be that your child is interested in subjects that are not on the curriculum, it may also be the case that your child’s friends have no common interest in the subjects that your child is interested in. Try them in different learning environments, doing a variety of activities and they are 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 give children the chance to express themselves freely, to build self esteem in children by giving them ownership of projects, letting them be the decision makers ( to a certain extent), helping them build new relationships and having an identity as part of a like minded group. The way to build self esteem in children and in adults is to give immediate positive feedback and work towards an achievable goal in a more practical way, so your child can learn visually and kinaesthetically. By doing a physical activity they release endorphins, which naturally promotes ‘a feel good factor’, which in time will help build self esteem in your child. Come along and find out, sign up for a FREE TRIAL and see if together Footlights and your support can help build that all important self esteem. Our Safeguarding children policy is not just about looking out for the signs of abuse or neglect, but that every child is included.
What do we learn?
Communication skills are at the top of the list! We encourage children and young people to be well rounded, educated and social able. You will often find that our teenagers will be doing paid volunteering at our holiday schools as well as doing out reach work on social issues using drama as a vehicle out in the community. Being a stage school the emphasis is on acting, singing and dance. Our singing work, including 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, work on concentration, team work and playing character. All our staff are highly trained to at least degree standard and that includes the Management team too so you can be sure your child is in a carefully, thought out, considered structured environment.
How much does it cost?
Just over £6 per hour. Saturday school fees are termly 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, especially 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 will have been explained to you upon joining. This information can also be found in the welcome pack which you will have received on your first day, as well on the reverse of the registration form you signed.
Can anyone join?
Anyone can join, regardless of ability or age. We believe we have something for everyone…although our Saturday classes are for ages 3 – 18 year olds, split into 5 age-specific groups for increased specialism and greater learning. We also have links with excellent further & higher education institutes and can offer advice on progression/auditions.
Are there any exams?
Yes. Through the London Academy of Dramatic Art (L.A.M.D.A) These exams really make a difference as your child grows up as they are counted toward GSCE, BTEC & UCAS points for university. Please visit our LAMDA page for more detailed information. They usually take place in our Spring term – January to April and are completely optional. However 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 this. We cover Musical Theatre, Singing and Drama, but if your child, young actor would prefer to do another discipline then please just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to accommodate you.
What the school is closed due to bad weather like snow etc – can we claim our money back?
Where possible we will reschedule classes, particularly if Footlights has chosen to close the school when it should be a normal session, however if you cannot make the rescheduled date we cannot reimburse you. Unfortunately if the school premises closes due to snow, heating, health and safety we reserve the right not to refund or reschedule.
How about shows?
We aim to provide as many opportunities as possible for our students to share their work and always have our annual Christmas show as well as a final show at a professional theatre in June or July. Become a member and gain a pass to our ‘Access all Areas’ pages and you will also have the chance to see where other performing opportunities may be available.
What makes you different than other (nationally) well known schools?
We offer a personal service as well as professional training. The school offers safety and a friendly service above all else. Staff are direct from the industry as well as being teachers. We thrive on a passion for our work, not ‘sales’. You will find 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, so 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 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 Jo Fisher and a team of professionals, please see our section on casting agency for further details. We are happy to take on any new or existing children after they have completed two full terms with us. For 17 – 21 year olds (trained) we require a CV and/or show reel, you will then be invited in for an audition.
All children and actors must have professional headshots taken by our photographer. They also MUST join Spotlight.
Please be aware that that casting professionals, directors and production companies are usually working to a very tight deadline. In light of this they have little time for ‘games’ or ‘giddy’ or ‘shy’ children, We 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 skills (acting, singing and dance) classes 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 child or 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 all done at a 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 really doesn’t exist! It may seem that other people are getting auditions and your child isn’t, however this is nothing to do with us having ‘favourites’ it is simple what the casting directors are asking for. In all honesty boys get more opportunities than young children (5 -7 yrs) and teens (14 -19yrs) generally get more opportunities too.
Having said that if your child has their photographs taken, they join Spotlight and then join our agency FREE OF CHARGE, then they will have an opportunity of being seen – if they don’t – no one knows about them so chances are they will never be seen!
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 often 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 if they can. Often they don’t get ‘pages’ and are asked to ‘improvise’ – see confidence above! Buyout: This generally means one set fee that your children/young actor will get paid for the company to use the footage for 12 months, we will always notify you of the pay scale and expectations of pay.
Audition fees: Are generally UNPAID. Often auditions are in London, and on top of this, not usually paid, so if this bothers you, let us know and we will not submit your child for London auditions.