Birds of a Feather star Pauline Quirke is spreading her wings to Wearside to launch a performance arts academy.
The actress draws upon her years of experience in shows such as The Sculptress, Emmerdale and Broadchurch to pass skills on to future stars in The Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts (PQA).
The academy, which is aimed at four to 18-year-olds, launched in 2007 and will open its first branch in Sunderland next week at Thornhill School.
Speaking of the new academy, Pauline said: “When we opened our first academy in 2007 our mission was simply to provide the very best performing arts education.
“We’ve grown a lot since then, but that mission hasn’t changed. By working with people we believe are outstanding in their field, we aim to bring the widest, most exciting experience to our students in an environment that is both friendly and rewarding.”
The academy has core modules in comedy and drama, musical theatre and film and television which are aimed at teaching general life skills, as well as those needed for a career in performing arts.
There are also masterclasses which focus on more specialist areas like stage combat, beat boxing, street dance and magic.
As well as in-house productions and showcases, there are two stand out opportunities for the pupils.
The first is the chance to see their short film projects on the big screen of their local cinema, where they get to walk down the red-carpet just like the Hollywood stars. Some of these films also get selected for the Empire Cinemas / PQA Film Festival, where winning films are shown on the big screen at the Empire Leicester Square.
The second is the chance to take part in one of the annual PQA shows in the West End.
All students are also offered group exams through Trinity College London - at no additional charge to parents.
•PQA Sunderland is holding a free open day on Saturday, October 15 from 9.45am – 1pm at Thornhill School, Thornholme Road, Sunderland. For more information please visit www.pqacademy.com or call 0800 531 6282.