The leading children’s drama franchise in the UK, Drama Kids, has come a long way since its launch in 1979. Founded on a desire to provide self-development through drama for children all over the world, the franchise has gone from strength to strength with its powerful ethos and strong community of franchisees.
The global brand was founded by Helen O’Grady, an Australian dance teacher and actress whose goal was to encourage confidence, verbal communication skills and an enthusiasm for life in children – all through the power of drama. First starting as after-school classes in a community hall in Perth, the franchise’s ethos of ‘Development through drama’ ensures each new class follows O’Grady’s lead in helping children grow their self-esteem and essential life skills.
Despite its launch nearly five decades ago, the brand’s ethos is still just as strong today. Louise Parsons, a principal who joined the Drama Kids franchise in early 2022, recalls, “For me, the influence the brand has on children’s lives is the main reason I joined the network. Drama Kids isn’t about creating the next star; it’s about having fun and building skills. I’ve had students now who have gone to university, armed with skills from our classes as they journey into adulthood – this makes me so proud to be a principal. Our students feel valued and learn important key skills whilst having a lot of fun – it’s the best of both worlds.”
With the renowned drama company helping over 100,000 students across the globe each week, Drama Kids has never had such a profound impact on children’s lives. Today, there are more than 150 franchisees who operate in over 30 countries worldwide. Part of this established network comes from the unique training and support each new franchisee is offered when they join and thereafter. From extensive training in all aspects of the teaching, marketing, and administration of the programme to specialised support that is readily available to franchisees pre-launch and decades down the line, the global brand continues to prioritise its principals just as much as its pupils.
Nick Chadwin, a longstanding principal who has been with Drama Kids for nearly 20 years, has witnessed this support first-hand. “From pre-launch support to a member of head office coming to see us after we launched to ensure everything ran smoothly, Drama Kids has been there for us every step of the way. Whilst I began the academy alongside my wife, Mary, it was incredible to have the support of a brand that wanted to see children excel as much as I did. Today, we have a wonderful community of 132 students with a Franchisee of the Year award to our name – this is all thanks to the support from head office. They have always been, and will always be, there whenever we need them.”
With plans to continue its global expansion, Drama Kids is already making waves as a revolutionary brand. Ranking at number five in Franchise Direct’s Top 100 Franchises report in 2021, the company not only beat major franchises such as Starbucks, but it was also the only children’s service in the top 20 – proving the transformative impact of the Drama Kids business structure and ethos.
“I think it’s fair to say that the future is bright for the Drama Kids brand and network,” says Andy Knights, CEO of Trafalgar Education, the organisation which manages Drama Kids. “We’re currently investing in the website, IT systems and marketing of the brand to drive further growth – in students, academies, and franchisees. There are significant expansion opportunities in the UK as our home market, but also internationally – there has never been a better time to join Drama Kids in helping children to be the best version of themselves through the arts, especially drama.
“Our ethos has always been important to us but, post-pandemic, we continue to see more parents invest in their children’s development in an inclusive classroom environment. This is wonderful – it takes the children away from their screens, improving their skills and confidence whilst ensuring they are still having fun. Over the coming years, we plan to provide even more opportunities to children around the globe.”
Since 1979, Drama Kids has thrived thanks to its focus on both principals and pupils. The global brand ensures franchisees are never left floundering by themselves and pupils improve their self-development and skillset whilst having fun in a comfortable, accepting environment. In nearly half a century, Drama Kids has stuck to what works – making people feel valued and empowered through drama. For more information about how you can be a part of our success, explore our franchising opportunities here and become your own boss.