A decade of showstopping success

When CEO Andy Knights joined Stagecoach Performing Arts in 2014, he did not anticipate the success and achievements the brand would make since his arrival

A decade of showstopping success

A lot can happen in 10 years; the last decade certainly proves it. We have witnessed the rise of ground-breaking innovations like artificial intelligence, blockchain technology and renewable energy solutions, reshaping industries and revolutionising how we live and work. Not to mention global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, which have challenged our resilience and forced us to adapt in ways we never imagined. But when CEO Andy Knights joined Stagecoach Performing Arts in 2014, he did not anticipate the success and achievements the brand would make since his arrival. 

Drawing from a rich background in regional management for prominent UK retailers and extensive experience in management consultancy, Andy has infused Stagecoach with his invaluable expertise since day one. Here, he reflects on his tenure, the evolution witnessed within Stagecoach over the past ten years and his plans for the brand’s future.

It is hard to believe I am already marking a decade with Stagecoach. Leading this extraordinary journey of growth and innovation has been a tremendous honour. From my early days as Director in 2016 to my current role as CEO of Trafalgar Education, our parent company, I have had the privilege of witnessing Stagecoach’s transformation into a global leader in performing arts education.

Over the past decade, our vision of changing the world through ‘Creative Courage for Life’ has firmly established itself as the cornerstone of Stagecoach’s mission. Our proven model fuels our dedication to nurturing confidence and self-esteem in children, offering entrepreneurs a lucrative and reliable pathway to make a positive impact – all while running their own successful businesses. Today, Stagecoach operates in eight countries, imparting these values to 60,000 children worldwide and ensuring the continued success of hundreds of franchisees each week.

Our shared values, behaviours and practices have been the bedrock of our success throughout my tenure at Stagecoach and were what initially drew me to the brand in 2014. Since joining the franchise, we have introduced ‘The Stagecoach Way’, which encompasses our philosophy, ethos and operational processes across the performing arts. It fosters a culture where everyone feels welcomed, respected, celebrated, and heard, creating a sense of belonging within our global family. I firmly believe these values remain fundamental to Stagecoach’s status as one of the most renowned and established children’s performing arts franchises globally.

With so many milestones to mention, it is not easy to pinpoint just one standout moment since joining the brand. However, a significant highlight was witnessing franchisees and students across the network come together for events like the 30th anniversary in 2018 to celebrate the brand’s journey and their own personal successes and achievements. Providing a platform for passionate, talented individuals to pursue their dreams, seeing the growth of each franchise in our network, and witnessing their impact on thousands of children has been incredibly rewarding. Seeing everyone celebrate this together was a truly proud moment. It is remarkable to think that Stagecoach began over 35 years ago with just three schools in rented rooms in Richmond, Redhill, and Woking and has since evolved into the global franchise it is today.

As for our plans for the future, I hope to see Stagecoach continue expanding its global reach, promoting innovation in performing arts education, and empowering even more passionate individuals to discover their talents and pursue their dreams through Stagecoach.

In terms of the UK market, our goal is to encourage as many franchisees as possible to utilise our management model to facilitate rapid expansion and to open new schools. However, our ambition – which has not altered in 35 years – is to ensure our franchisees are equipped with the resources they need to run a business that suits their needs and those of their students. Seeing children’s lives change as their confidence and self-esteem grow is the driving force behind everything we do. By continuing to uphold this mission in the years to come, I hope to lead the continued growth of Stagecoach in the UK and around the world.

Andy Knights
Andy Knights