How an arts education helps grow mentally healthy children

Opening your own Stagecoach Performing Arts franchise can grow opportunities for young people and help them build the skills they need for life.

Watching previously shy children blossom on stage, seeing one’s offspring gaining poise and coordination as the result of a weekly performing arts classes – there are many reasons why a parent or carer may choose to enrol their children in such activities.

Another reason may be the positive benefits performing arts practice has on young people’s mental health.

It’s an issue very much on people’s minds as Australia continues to grapple with the impact of the pandemic, with a study by Children’s Health Queensland showing that nearly one in five Australian children experienced disruptive behaviours, disturbed sleep or symptoms of anxiety or depression amid the pandemic restrictions.

‘As a society we are more aware of mental health matters, and parents, guardians and caregivers are more conscious that their children may need additional support in this area. As a result of lockdowns and other restrictions put in place, many people struggled with the lack of human interaction, loneliness and the distanced socialising. This impacted younger, still developing minds significantly,’ explains Lauren Hodgson, Marketing Manager at Stagecoach Performing Arts.

At Stagecoach, children can benefit from age-appropriate lessons across three main areas: singing, dancing and acting.

‘Our unique Educational Framework underpins each stage of learning. The ages in each stage of learning may vary by school depending on children attending, but our talented and experienced teachers have the flexibility to adapt their class content to the interests, aptitude and age of their students,’ Hodgson says.

‘Some students go on to achieve stage or screen success, but ultimately our aim is to equip them with Creative Courage for Life.’

The carefully structured classes encourage participants to be expressive and imaginative, but also have benefits in terms of young people’s mental health. ‘Singing requires students to understand and develop breathing techniques – skills that can also be used to manage stress and anxiety,’ Hodgson explains.

‘Dancing gets students moving and releases positive endorphins, which can help make them feel happier and more relaxed.

‘Acting classes can offer a way to explore current issues and provide students with a means to express their thoughts and feelings without having to discuss them directly. Learning to express themselves can help students in many areas of their lives,’ she says.

Become a Stagecoach franchisee

Operating internationally and supporting over 55,000 students every week, Stagecoach offers opportunities for particularly passionate individuals to open their own schools, and in doing so play an active role in supporting young people’s self-expression and well-being.

‘If you would like to join over 300 franchisees worldwide to get a unique combination of both earning potential and a great work/life balance, while also making an impact on the lives of young people in the community, there are just two initial steps to follow,’ Hodgson explains.

The first step is as simple as filling in a form. ‘Be sure to let us know why you’d like to run your own Stagecoach Performing Arts School in the message section,’ she continues.

‘Once you have submitted your enquiry form, we will then set up a discovery call with you. This allows us to both gather more information and ensure that we are a good fit for each other.

‘If you decide we’re right for you and vice versa, together we’ll decide on the best route for you to get started. There are two routes to becoming a Stagecoach franchisee, each with a different investment level in time and money, offering different rates of realising your return on investment,’ Hodgson says.

Stagecoach is especially keen to hear from passionate individuals who are interested in opening a school in a brand new Australian location. Franchise fees start at $20,000 (excluding tax).

In 2018 Alison Tasker launched Stagecoach Perth South. Tasker says, ‘I launched my franchise because of the demand for children’s performing arts opportunities outside of central Perth but, with that being said, I still can’t quite believe how much the business has grown in such a short space of time. A real highlight for me has been watching my students grow in confidence, as they’ve taken part in professional workshops and formed great friendships.’

Learn more about opening an Australian Stagecoach Performing Arts franchise.

Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts