It’s always fun to get to know businesses on our sites a little better. Today we’ve had the pleasure to speak with Becky and Zoe about the Performing Arts Theatre Academy that they run at The Grainstore on our Blandford Forum site. The Performing Arts Theatre Academy (PATA) have been with us since 2019 and have a purpose built studio located in “The Middle Building”. The classes that Becky & Zoe teach are diverse and cater to all skill levels, ranging from pre-school Ballet to Female Fitness.
At its core PATA is passionate about offering every child the opportunity to be a star and learn important life skills to help them flourish as they grow up.
The business has been through a lot since the opening of the new studio in 2019, as just months after the grand opening they had to navigate the difficulties of Covid-19 and adjust to teaching classes in brand new ways. Fast forward two years and as things return back to normal, they are now looking at ways to expand their offering and grow even further.
Here’s what they had to say:
What do you like most about running your business?
We love running such a creative business that directly impacts the young generation of this town. Giving them opportunities to develop more than just dance skills or learning how to sing, but giving them key life skills that they will take on into adulthood! Seeing the joy on their faces when they achieve a dance step, sung a note they never thought they could or discussing how they stood up and spoke in front of their class at school due to the confidence we have given them. That is when we know we are in the right business.
Each child has a particular learning requirement and finding out what that is and working with them to progress, is hugely rewarding. Examinations have a role to play in this. When they truly work hard and commit towards something and prove to themselves they have the ability to succeed, it is the best feeling in the world. We have had students that would barely speak in class to those going on to achieve fantastic results, not only in our examinations, but being able to find a higher level of confidence in the school environment.
Probably our most favourite part is getting them to perform on stage. Whether that is our big Academy shows, where the whole school, from our tiny pre-schoolers to our seniors are part of a big musical, or just some of our students performing in community events. Showing off how much they have learnt, the fun & hard work gives them all such a feeling of pride and accomplishment.
What made you want to start an Academy?
Rebecca was part of a community drama group and saw that there was very little in the way for children to participate in drama or youth theatre in Blandford Forum. This was when Rebecca decided it was time to start something so that children that couldn’t get to Poole or Bournemouth for classes, could get the same level of training right here! We started as just singing and acting and then after a year added dance classes and the rest as they say is history!
How long have you been based within the Blandford Forum area and what do you love most about living/working there?
The Academy was established in 2014 and we are always taken by the community here. Businesses work together to support each other and we saw that so much through lockdown. Everybody wants everyone else to succeed and grow together. That is so important to us, as ensuring children can be the best they can be, takes a community!
How do you find the Grainstore as a place to base your business?
We love being up in the Grainstore. We took up our space in 2019, which was good and bad timing! We had such excitement from everyone; we knew how much we could now achieve and provide the kids in this specially created space. That excitement was unfortunately short lived and we had to close the doors within 4 months of opening. However, the positives were huge. We knew that we had a space to come back to when we could reopen that was just for us and that kept us going. We also have a fantastic management team in George Estates. All the pressure and stress of the lockdown was, in part, relieved by the team and they continue to support us as we get back on our feet. The other positives are the fantastic central location within the town and seeing all the other businesses now joining us on this site. There is such a variety and it also helps having a café and tea room, although slightly dangerous! All the businesses at the Grainstore are really friendly and there is definitely a sense of community.
What are your hopes and plans for the Academy in the future?
We are always looking for new opportunities to grow as a business, keep fresh and provide key creative & performance related classes. We have lots of ideas for our students and now that things are stabilising, we can begin to bring them into the school. So watch out in September, as there are exciting things coming! Our biggest ambition is to have more studio space, with more specifically designed studios for more varied classes and an in-house uniform shop. Slowly but surely we will make this happen!
We also began a female fitness programme last year and this is an area that we really want to develop further. There is huge scope here to really support those women that really hate going to large gyms and big fitness classes. We offer a safe, caring environment to help those get back to fitness or for those that just want to have fun varied classes! We currently offer DDMIX which is a dance based cardio class and Pilates for all your strength & flexibility needs. For the future, amongst other things, we would love to get back our Adult Tappers and Adult Ballet! We also cater for company exercise classes, so if you want your workers to come and have a lunchtime workout we can create an exercise programme to fit into their work day!
It’s been fantastic to get to know The Performing Arts Academy that little bit better. If you would like to find out about any of the classes that they offer, do get in touch.
Look out for more Business Spotlight posts in the future!