Lucy Sage is taking a bow as her stage school joins an elite cast of national schools.
The Sage Academy in Byker has been given the stamp of approval by the Council for Dance Education and Training, a gruelling five years after Lucy embarked on the application process.
Lucy bought the old Byker snooker hall 12 years ago and transformed it into a vocational school which offers a two-year, dance-based musical theatre course for over 16s.
Lucy, from Morpeth, said: “It’s been a very lengthy process and taken so much dedication and hard work but I’m grateful it went our way and we got it.”
The academy is one of only 20 centres with the accreditation and joins prestigious London performance schools including Arts Education, the Lane Theatre and Italia Conti, where Lucy studied.
After six years of acting she knew she wanted to return home and offer her fellow North Easterners the opportunity to pursue performance to the same standard that she had been fortunate enough to do in London.
The Sage Academy’s full-time course, which currently has 12 students, has now earned it affiliation to the Council for Dance Education and Training. Lucy and her staff and students had a mentor for two years who regularly came in to assess them and underwent two days of close examination by the board of industry professionals.
Confessing that it had been a stressful process, Lucy said: “The worst part was that I had no control over it. But it’s a massive achievement and so lovely to get some recognition from the professional world.”
Lucy said she always had faith in her students and the school.
“I trust and believe what we do is good enough, so nothing has changed.”
While this latest news may put a spring in her step, Lucy was already proud of the achievements of her students.
One went on to choreograph TV show Dancing with the Stars while a group also graced the stage of Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena for Plan B’s Ill Manners tour.
“We choose people who we believe have potential in the performing arts and the success of the school relies on the students,” she said.