In April, Carolan Copley-Tucci (known as Cops), head teacher at Sheffield Performing Arts School, organised a trip to Disneyland Paris for 196 people including 87 performers from the school. The three-night trip was the first time Cops had organised overseas travel and overnight stays, and she chose tour operator South Quay Travel to help co-ordinate the itinerary.
‘The trip was organised so the school’s performers – aged between five and 58 years – could take part in the Disney Performing Arts Programme – which allows groups to perform for 20 minutes to entertain the park’s visitors. The trip took over a year to prepare and we had to send videos of the students in advance as an audition for Disney to approve, as it was vital that their high standards were maintained. It was a fantastic chance for my group to experience a huge stage and amazing lighting and we got a standing ovation! It was also great to combine this with a visit to the theme park – the first time many on the trip had been to Disneyland.
The support of Lianne Messis and Becky Ray from South Quay was amazing and when a French rail strike meant we were not able to travel from Paris to the resort, they arranged coaches to come and pick us up. South Quay was able to negotiate the best rates too, which meant costs were kept as low as possible enabling as many people as possible to join the trip. Travelling together from Sheffield by coach to St Pancras and then by Eurostar was a wonderful experience too and so much better than everyone travelling independently. I’m now looking at organising a return trip in a year or so.’