The Biz has overcome difficulties of various lockdowns and other coronavirus-related issues to open its new home after years of renting premises.
Although she got the keys earlier in the year, owner Samantha Beeson is finally able to hold the big opening she wanted this Saturday.
“The grand opening will the first time our parents and the general public have been allowed in,” said Samantha.
Samantha said she had always wanted to have her own studio, and lockdown helped give that push.
“With always being in rental in lockdowns we were given no break on rent, and we had already been looking; this gave us even more energy to push through and achieve our dream of our own school.
“It very much got to a point we were not in charge of our school so paying for a building we could not use or take a mortgage break on so we decided to push forward with our forever home.”
The Biz currently has around 250 students on a weekly basis and it is open six days a week for classes, for ages from two to adult.
Samantha said: “We started in one room at a local theatre offering theatre classes and 13 years later we now have five studios and offer a diverse range of classes from musical theatre, ballet, tap, hip-hop, drama class, tik-tok class, cheer dance, street dance, as well as 1:1 lessons in guitar, drums, singing, piano and brass.”
The school now has 12 staff, an events company students train on and then work for, along with lots of outreach work in local schools offering music and performing arts provisions.
Samantha says: “Lockdown was hard for everyone, yet the Biz as a family smashed it; we produced online shows, completed over 100 exams through The London College of Music, UKA and Associated Board so our students really flourished in lockdown and we had such great support from the parents who said our classes were a lifeline for many who were struggling.
“After some classes we stayed online chatting like they would when they finish classes at Biz and hearing them all laughing – it was amazing! As teachers, lockdown hit us really hard, we’re always very busy and then we weren’t – the students got together and made the most amazing video saying why they love Biz.
“I always say Biz is a family, we come from some many different backgrounds and walks of life but none of it matters, they support each other and lift each other up – I think the students became closer over lockdown.”
She says the Open Day on Saturday, which is due to start at 2pm, will be a day of celebration, with local firms coming along as well as parents and friends of The Biz, but it is open for anyone.
“We are hoping anyone interested in the arts will nip in to say hi. We have classes running people can join in free of charge, and we have stalls of local businesses there so cakes, food, treats and the gin bar ‘The Fuddy Duck’ will be open.”
The mayor will be cutting the ribbon at 2pm. Samantha said: “We want this to be a really fun and positive day for our local community who were are so proud to be part of.”
Samantha said she wanted to say a big thank you to husband Steve and her family, as well as the: “amazing students and parents who stuck by us through the zoom classes, the endless temperature checks, lateral tests and stinky anti-bac sprays.
“Without you there is no Biz and on behalf of me and the team we are so proud of the students and we can’t wait to get you back in the studios.”
She also paid a huge tribute to the team at The Biz. “They painted walls, floors and have been the most amazing team to work alongside,” Sam said.
“The passion and enthusiasm you each have in your area of expertise is breath-taking and I’m humbled by you all daily, from me and the students thank you for being amazing.”