We spoke to Kerry Hay, owner of Stage Right Centre for the Performing Arts, to find out about his local life.
This month we chatted to Kerry Hay, wife and mother to 4 children Zach 15, Sami 11, Laith 10 and Soraya 4. Kerry has been the owner and principal of Stage Right Centre for the Performing Arts for 22 years. Kerry lived in Royston from birth, and has spent the past 13 years living in Bassingbourn.
What’s your favourite local place to eat?
We have many lovely places in Royston to eat. A personal favourite of mine would be the Heath Café for the views and excellent menu. In the villages, the Belle in Bassingbourn and the Woodgrill at the Queen Adelaide in Croydon are very nice.
What is the last book you read?
I don’t very often get time to read for me, it used to be something I loved to do. If I’m totally honest the last book I read was “Barry the Fish with Fingers” to my 4 year old daughter.
Tell us about Stage Right and how you have coped with the challenges of last year.
Stage Right is a dance and performing arts school with it’s own premises in Lumen Road, Royston. We offer after school and weekend classes for all ages as well as a full time BTEC Level 3 Extended diploma in Performing Arts Practice.
2020 was really tough. During the first lockdown we had to close completely, I froze everyone’s accounts, prayed for a miracle and we offered free, fun online classes on Wednesdays for each age group to keep our students dancing and connected. We worked hard to get back up and running for September, marking out all of our studios into individual 2m2 boxes to maintain social distancing in classes. Each studio had its own cleaning station and we organised the timetable so that we could mop the floors and clean all high touch areas between each class. We managed 6 weeks of this before we had to close again for the second lockdown. This time to try to cover our overheads we had no choice but to move our timetable on to zoom, not all students wanted to or could do this which I understand. The thing that keeps you going through the challenges is knowing that you aren’t alone, the majority of the world is finding things hard. Things will get better.
Your favourite local Shop?
I do enjoy looking around Ladds with my children They have a great range of sweets and chocolates and my boys take ages to decide what they would like. They stare at the jars for forever! The ladies in there are always so lovely too.
What makes you happy?
Personally- spending time with my family is priceless, they are my absolute world.
Professionally- seeing students achieve! Whether it be a former student getting their first big professional performing job or a beginner finally mastering something that they’ve been trying to do for weeks. Whatever the achievement, I’m on a high for the rest of the day.
What is your favourite Royston experience?
Having lived in the area all of my life I’ve had so many Royston experiences. The old carnival with the floats, I remember seeing the majorettes and hoping one day I would get to be one! My dad used to own a used car lot in George Lane, we would spend all day Saturday there with him. He’d let us buy chips from a van on the market, I remember the hustle and bustle of Saturdays on the market, the smells and the people. Preparing for late night shopping in the 80’s when my Mum owned Bambinos, a baby shop opposite Morrisons although I think it was Gateways at the time. The town always felt so Christmassy and exciting that evening. More recently things like the May Fayre and the Street Food Festival in the park. You get a real sense of community from events like these and it just confirms to me what a great area we live in. Through the lockdowns we have been so thankful to have the heath and we’ve discovered so many amazing country walks around the villages. We truly are very lucky.
What is your most valued possession?
My Nan’s watch, my sister and my cousin were given replicas when she passed. As I was the oldest Granddaughter I was given her actual watch which was pretty special. It’s never worked but it means everything.
If you ruled the world, what would you do?
There’s been a running joke in the dance world through the pandemic that if dance teachers had been put in charge then it would have been over quickly. Everyone would know their spacing, nobody would be out of place, no one would touch their face because their hands would be on their hips and everyone would be doing everything with a huge smile on their face!