Stagecoach Theatre set to open in New York

The drama and performing arts schools group Stagecoach Theatre said yesterday it was exporting its successful stage schools formula to New York, where it will open three new schools this year.

Richard Dawson, finance director of the group, said yesterday: "We know there are already thousands of stage schools in New York, but the Stagecoach proposition is very different to what exists there at the moment. Anyone can come to a Stagecoach school and learn singing, dancing and acting, all in the same place."

The company has cashed in on the demise of performing arts education in the mainstream curriculum in the UK by setting up Saturday and after-school classes for children aged between 4 and 16. The appetite for fame spurred by television programmes such as Pop Idol and Fame Academy enabled it to open 477 schools and attract more than 28,000 students. Parents pay up to £25 for a three-hour lesson, and pay to see their children perform.

The new schools in Manhattan and Brooklyn Heights, due to open from September, are its first franchise agreements in the US. The company operates 350 schools in Australia, Europe and Minneapolis in the US.

Its shares closed the day up 2.5p at 110p.

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