Dylan Harper talks to us about starting and running his Razzamataz Theatre School in Ayr
Dylan Harper talks to us about starting and running his Razzamataz Theatre School in Ayr.
Initially it was on Dragons’ Den and I remember thinking I would love to go there myself but there was nothing like that in Ayr at the time. When Razzamataz opened here, my mum was hired as the drama teacher, which she still does, and I then got involved as classroom assistant. I have been working with Razzamataz Head Office since 2010 as well as being the manager at the Ayr school for the last year.
I studied technical theatre at school and I was very actively involved in all the school performances. I also ran a local radio station and organised my fellow students to go on a tour of the local primary schools with a drama production. I have also trained as a youth and children’s worker, which is something l’m actively still involved with.
Although I’m still young, I’ve taken on a lot of responsibility in various roles so many people assumed that I would run my own business. I’ve always wanted to work with children and help them develop through performing arts so Razzamataz is the perfect platform for that.
Working at Head Office has given me a real insight into the whole of the Razzamataz network and I felt very strongly that having my own franchise would allow me to reap the benefits of running a business working with young people but with the support of a very experienced organisation behind me.
I was fortunate enough to secure a loan from The Prince’s Trust.
We are part of a constantly evolving group and there are many opportunities for us all but ultimately for me, it is about the kids and the fact that by me being part of Razzamataz, I can offer my students amazing experiences such as performing at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London.
I find dealing with the financial side of the business quite challenging. However, this is where I take advantage of the training and support offered and there is lots of advice available to help me with my accounts.
Ask lots of questions and don’t underestimate how much work is involved, especially at the beginning, but don’t let it put you off either. It’s life changing but in a really good way.
Working with a like-minded group of people but who each have their own unique experiences that collectively we can draw on. For example, within the Razzamataz network, there are professional West End performers that I can ask advice from when putting on performances. It’s really great to be able to pick up the phone to either Head Office or the other franchisees just to chat things through.
The first thing I do when I get up in the morning is check my emails, because parents will often email you at various times of the day. I’ll deal with urgent work first and then respond to emails and phone calls throughout the day. No two days are ever the same but I’m constantly thinking about work and often will spend my evenings brainstorming ideas and getting inspiration.
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