A SOUTH Lakes theatre school has boosted its numbers to nearly 300 students following its expansion across Cumbria.

Razzamataz Theatre Schools South Lakes, which operates from Kendal, Penrith, and Appleby, is ran by Principal Asha Richardson who took on the school in July 2020.

The school originated in Penrith, but runs from Kendal's Leisure Centre and The Appleby Hub.

Asha said: "I took it over in July 2020 in the middle of the pandemic. It was a bit of a crazy move but it seems to have paid off.

"When I took it over it had 35 students, and now we're heading to 300 students. The last two years have seen us boom.

"We have shows coming up in June this year which are for students aged between 4-18 years old. They get to do musical theatre, commercial street dancing, singing and a wide range of the arts.

"This will be our first show since coming back from lockdown and we're really excited for it.

"It's called Back in the Spot light and it will show different bits from different musicals rather than one show specifically.

"We have rebranded and we added the name South Lakes so we could expand into Kendal and Appleby from Penrith. We also run baby sessions.

"It's really positive and it's been brilliant since we reopened."

The person who nominated the Razzamataz spoke of how successful they had relaunched the business and the warm environment offered to young people.

They said: "Although Asha started out during the Covid-19 pandemic this has not affected her progression and support of her students and staff.

“Many of the children have completely grown up around the pandemic and in some cases had to grow up much quicker than most children should, however Asha’s Razzamataz classes have allowed for children to be children again and embrace their imagination that we are all born with.

"It has been a really difficult time for most, but wherever possible Razzmataz has continued to run classes, offering that escape of the world and allowing children to perform and enjoy their lives again.

“Also supporting new parents and carers by allowing them to meet other people in the same situation as them and making it “normal” for parents to go to classes together again and babies and toddlers to mix with others after being so secluded these past few years.

"Asha and her colleagues know all students and their families by name and know their backgrounds which is a great attribute as I know first-hand, they have supported many families in their wider lives and also allowed a safe place for children to come and have fun.

"I believe they have gone the extra mile by just being there as a support and allowing these children to perform and show their uniqueness through the arts."

For more information visit southlakes.razzamataz.co.uk.