'It's ginormous' - Students' delight with stage school's new studio

Freya and Franklin Seabright

Freya (7) and Franklin (5) Seabright enjoy the new studio at Busybodies Stage School - Credit: Noah Vickers

A Norfolk stage school has reopened with a brand new studio.

Busybodies Stage School in Dereham, completed the construction of the extension to its building with minutes to spare before throwing its doors open on April 12 to the delight of its students.

“I cried,” said headteacher Nichola West.

“I was so emotional. I think it was seeing the children as they got out of the cars, and seeing their faces just beam,” she added. 

Nichola West outside Busybodies Stage School

Nichola West, pictured outside the new Busybodies studio. - Credit: Noah Vickers

Asked what she thought of the new studio, Freya Seabright, 7, said: “It’s ginormous.”

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The stage school has conducted its lessons on Zoom during the lockdowns of the last year. 

“Doing it on Zoom has been a bit difficult - in a couple of sessions we had a bad signal so we couldn’t see the teacher,” said Miss Seabright. 

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The return to physical classes has been praised by parents as a boon to their children’s mental health. 

Freya and Franklin Seabright in the new Busybodies studio

Students praised the new studio as "ginormous" - Credit: Noah Vickers

Parent Emily Seabright, who attended the school herself as a child, said: “For them to be able to come back and dance, and all the other things they do, it was brilliant, because they needed the socialisation, and to do what they love.”

Ms West said: “Just being in the same room doing a ballet class, and knowing that the person two metres in front of you, is a best friend you might have danced with for ten years - they are lifted, totally lifted.”

Plasterers in tutus at Busybodies Stage School

Plasterers pictured getting into the Busybodies spirit, during the new studio's construction. - Credit: Busybodies Stage School

As well as providing more space while classes continue to require social distancing, the new studio includes a ramp for improved accessibility.

“In the modern day, we want to move with the times and be absolutely inclusive - anyone and everyone is welcome,” said Ms West.

Nichola West inside the new studio

Nichola West thanked Dereham and Breckland councils for the support they had provided - Credit: Noah Vickers

“We are not a school that will turn someone down because they have a wheelchair - we will say yes to everyone if their passion and their heart wants to do it,” she added.

Ms West also thanked Dereham and Breckland councils for grants and other help.

“They were excellent, they answered the phone quickly and guided us towards solutions - I cannot fault the wonderful attitude of staff, and efficiency, of our local councils,” said Ms West.

“Busybodies has supported local charities, events and the wider community for many years - when the chips were down, it was great to have the support,” she added.

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