Former actress, Allison Malone, lives in Epsom with her teenage daughters. From Monday to Friday, you’ll find the busy Mum dashing around, running her Stagecoach Performing Arts franchise from her home office whilst ferrying Ellie and Imogen back and forth to the infamous BRIT school.
“My girls are training to follow in my footsteps, in the hope of becoming professional performers. Once the weekend comes around, the chaos of normal life subsides and I take the time to enjoy the best two days of my week – Fridays and Saturdays spent with my Stagecoach students. I’d like to say there’s a secret to my success but it’s not about how skilled I am as a Principal, it’s the love for my job!
“I’m not so keen on the administration stuff and have never responded well to being tied to a desk, so the weekends will always be the highlight of my week. Having grown the business so much over the years, I’m regularly asked for help by other franchisees and, naturally, I’m asked why I love my job so much. I’m a creative person and Stagecoach allows me the opportunity to pass on my wisdom, experience and my passion for performing arts to fellow franchisees and the next generation of performers. The happiness of my students far outweighs any financial or personal gain.”
Life hasn’t always been so consistent – in fact, Allison spent the first 15 years of her career in an admittedly unstable job, as a professional actress. Having studied performance at the prestigious Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Allison was a skilled and in-demand performer for more than ten years. In 2001, after touring the UK with the cast of ‘Grease’, Allison was to find out that she was pregnant with her first child and the chaos of the theatre lifestyle would have to come to an end.
“Living in far from desirable digs and working until the early hours was never going to work around being a Mummy, so I did what any other expectant parent would do and looked for a job with a consistent income and better working hours. I started working with a marketing company, which specialised in training for sales companies. At the time, I thought it would suit me down to the ground – I’m a good communicator and enjoy helping people. Ultimately, though, I missed performing and my new-found determination to do well in an office environment was slowly chipped away. I felt uninspired and frustrated, so I started teaching for Stagecoach part time.
It was whilst juggling motherhood, her job in corporate marketing and her passion for singing that Allison began to consider how Stagecoach could become more of a permanent fixture in her life. Shortly after welcoming Ellie in to the world, younger sister Imogen joined the family. Now, with two young children to care for, Allison made a decision that would change her family’s life for the better.
“Two friends owned a Stagecoach franchise and explained the opportunity to me in more detail. Although I was unsure that I had the right skill set to run a business of my own, they convinced me that I would be a perfect fit for Stagecoach. What I lacked in business acumen, I made up for in passion and performance experience. From the research I’d done, I knew Stagecoach could fill the gaps in my knowledge and support me with the initial set up. To my relief, Stagecoach were happy to have me on board and welcomed me to take part in their comprehensive training week, which I thoroughly enjoyed. By the time my youngest had turned two, I had launched Stagecoach Leatherhead.”
For 30 years, the Stagecoach model has been proven and refined to become one of the UK's leading performing arts opportunities. Franchisees build a team of equally passionate and enthusiastic teachers, qualified to bring out the very best in their students. Stagecoach schools provide a thriving, nurturing and supportive environment for creative learning. That’s just one of the reasons that 45,000 children every week flock to classes nationwide.
Today, a network of more than 300 franchisees operate over 700 schools offering 1,780 classes in nine countries. Through an exciting and varied framework of teaching and development, franchisees have helped to unlock the potential of more than one million students since it opened in 1988.
All new franchisees undertake an expert induction at Stagecoach’s head office in Walton-on-Thames and receive ongoing training along with industry-leading support in marketing, customer service, IT and business development. Their tried-and-tested structure enables franchisees to play to their strengths and provides the best possible environment in which to succeed.
For over a decade, Allison nurtured and developed a business that has seen thousands of children pass through the doors of her Stagecoach schools. She is so dedicated to the talented children who sing, dance and act their way through their weekends that she has even bumped into former alumni who have made a name for themselves in the world of professional theatre!
As a true advocate of the Stagecoach Performing Arts framework and the ‘creative courage for life’ mantra, Allison now supports the head office team in delivering the new franchisee training – something she takes great satisfaction from.
“It’s very rewarding to be able to give back to the network, after years of moulding my business into something that works well for me. I pride myself on the investment I put back into my franchise and I never stop until I see a project or performance through, from start to finish. It’s why my students love their time with Stagecoach Leatherhead – everything I do is for their enjoyment. I also think this has contributed to the Stagecoach head office team valuing my opinion and feedback, as I genuinely love my job.
“I’ve successfully referred friends, colleagues and even teachers to the Stagecoach franchise network. I don’t even need to sell it to them, as they can see how much fun I have with my students, the lovely life I’ve built for me and my girls and the satisfaction I get from running a successful business that I’m passionate about. Each and every student is special to me, in their own way, and the confidence they pick up through performance will never cease to amaze me. They truly are my driving force and the reason I put my heart and soul into what I do. They are the secret to my success.”
If you, like Allison, can see the benefit of running a business which makes the most of your experience and passions, find out more about Stagecoach by getting in touch.