Stagecoach Performing Arts takes centre stage in national franchising awards

Two Stagecoach Performing Arts franchises have been shortlisted in this year’s British Franchise Association (bfa) Franchisee of the Year Awards. Heather and Cris Salvador, owners of 19 Stagecoach schools in West Yorkshire, are finalists in the Lifestyle category. Hannah James, who owns three schools across the West Midlands, has been shortlisted in the Next Generation category.

Sponsored by HSBC, the awards recognise the very best franchised businesses in the country, celebrating consistent growth, innovation and exceptional customer service. These determined and influential franchisees ticked all the boxes for the panel of judges.

“We’re over the moon to have been shortlisted. We work hard and always try to put our students first, so being recognised in this way means a lot to us both,” said Heather.

In the latest bfa NatWest survey, it was reported that franchising contributed over £17billion to the UK economy in 2018. Married couple, Heather and Cris, play a significant role in maintaining the nationwide standing of the franchising industry by operating the largest Stagecoach franchise in the country. Despite the unquestionable success the entrepreneurially minded pair have achieved, they still find the time to enjoy downtime with their two sons.

“We own 19 schools across ten distinct areas, so our business certainly keeps us busy! I think we were shortlisted in the Lifestyle category because we set an example for other franchisees that are striving for a better work-life balance. We’ve been innovative in how we’ve implemented new, efficient strategies that have seen us maximise our earning potential which has, in turn, given us more free time to spend as a family.

“We’re both really looking forward to the awards ceremony later this year. Whether we’re chosen as the ultimate winner of the award or not, it’ll be an opportunity to celebrate what we’ve achieved during what has been quite a challenging year,” said Cris.

Hannah James took over as franchisee and Principal of Stagecoach Performing Arts in Wolverhampton in September 2017. Two years later, she expanded her business by purchasing her second territory in nearby Dudley. The mum-of-one is clear about her motives for running her schools in her hometown.

“I used to be a student at Stagecoach Wolverhampton so I guess you could say I’ve come full circle. I’m very passionate about instilling a sense of confidence in my students, giving them the opportunities that I was fortunate enough to experience as a Stagecoach student for all those years. I’m only 33 now but have big plans to expand my business in the not too distant future.

“To have been recognised by the bfa is a real honour. News of being shortlisted couldn’t have come at a better time, with our usual lessons changing to virtual lessons streaming to our students’ living rooms. I’d be so happy to win the award but being named a finalist is celebration enough for me. It makes me proud of how much I’ve achieved.”

Winners of the HSBC bfa Franchisee of the Year Awards 2020 will be announced at a glittering awards ceremony that will take place at The VOX, in Birmingham, in November. Heather, Cris and Hannah will attend the event, alongside the Stagecoach Performing Arts franchise support team.

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To speak with Heather Salvador or Hannah James, contact Kelly Ayres at Rev PR on 07895 876745 or email

Images attached – Hi-res photos of Heather and Cris, and Hannah.

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About Stagecoach Performing Arts

About Stagecoach Performing Arts: Over the years we have seen more than one million students unlock their potential, which is something they will value for their whole life. At Stagecoach we teach our students so much more than how to sing, dance and act. We help them blossom into well-rounded individuals, ready to embrace life and all its opportunities. With nearly 30 years’ experience in teaching the performing arts, we understand how to get the best out of our young performers. We delight in seeing our students have fun, make friends, learn new skills and discover hidden talents. We encourage them to take ‘safe risks’ through rehearsals and performance, which brings out a willingness to take on new challenges. None of us know what the future holds, which is why it’s so important for today’s children to be resilient, brave and self-assured. Furthermore you can rest assured that your child is in safe hands as we adhere to the strictest child safety policies. About joining Stagecoach as a franchisee: With our 30th birthday in 2018, the Stagecoach model has been proven and refined to become one of the UK’s leading performing arts opportunities. Franchisees build a team of equally passionate and enthusiastic teachers, qualified to bring out the very best in their students. Stagecoach schools provide a thriving, nurturing and supportive environment for creative learning. That’s just one of the reasons why 40,000 children every week flock to classes nationwide. Today, a network of more than 300 franchisees operate over 680 schools offering 1,780 classes in eight countries. Through an exciting and varied framework of teaching and development, franchisees have helped to unlock the potential of more than one million students since it opened in 1988.

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