A 16-year-old student from Newton Aycliffe has a lot to celebrate after securing a place at a prestigious full-time drama school in London.
Darcy Kent, who completed her GCSEs at Woodham Academy School this summer, will be taking up a place at The Pauline Quirke Full-Time Academy for the Performing Arts in London in September after wowing judges at her audition earlier this year.
Pauline Quirke, who is best known for her role as Sharon in the hit BBC sitcom Birds of a Feather, opened the school last September in response to high demand for further training from parents and students who attend the 175 PQA core academies, which are weekend performing arts schools across the UK, attended by over 15,000 children. The first class of students at the school that joined in September 2018 are currently performing at PQA Venues at Riddle’s Court as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
The full-time school offers 16-19-year-olds the opportunity to study performing arts for two years, at the end of which they will receive a OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in Performing Arts (a Level 3 qualification), the equivalent to three A Levels. *
Talking about starting at The Pauline Quirke Full-Time Academy for the Performing Arts in September, Darcy, who is also a student at Pauline Quirke weekend academy in Durham, said: “I am super excited about joining the full-time drama school in London and I feel extremely lucky to be chosen and given this amazing opportunity. I can’t wait to work with people that have similar interests and mindsets to me. It’s a dream come true and I can’t wait to see what the future may hold.”
When it comes to life after The Pauline Quirke Full-Time Academy, Darcy said: “I would really like to perform in the West End or even Broadway, but I would also really like to be in films and television series but ultimately theatre is my passion.”
*The full-time school offers 16-19-year-olds the opportunity to study performing arts for two years, at the end of which they will receive an OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in Performing Arts (a Level 3 qualification), the equivalent to three A Levels.
The academy is based in the original Poor School building in Pentonville Road, King’s Cross, which closed in 2018 after three decades, just a stone’s throw from where Pauline herself went to school, and discovered acting, at the age of nine. The Poor School was founded by actor and director Paul Caister in 1986 as a lower-cost alternative to accredited drama schools and produced famous stars included Jessie Wallace, comic Zoe Lyons and Ricky Groves.
Pauline’s team has completely renovated the building, which now has a fully equipped in-house theatre and several large, high spec studio spaces.
Many of the teachers at the school have all performed in hugely successful West End shows; one of the dance and musical teachers at the school is Bree Smith, currently in Book of Mormon in the West End.
Auditions for entry in September 2020 will take place in November, February, April, and June.