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Welcome to PQA Colchester

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PQA Colchester is a dedicated performing arts school, with classes for kids and young adults in Comedy & Drama, Musical Theatre (acting singing and dancing) and Film & Television.

Our Colchester Academy operates from the Philip Morant School every Saturday from 9.45am-1pm and 1.45-5pm. We welcome students aged 4-18 years based in Ardleigh, Braintree, Brightlingsea, Coggeshall, Clacton-on-Sea, Frinton-on-Sea, Halstead, Harwich, Great Bentley, Lawford, Lexden, Maldon, Marks Tey, Manningtree, Mersea Island, Oakley, Ramsey, Stanway, Sudbury, Tiptree, Wivenhoe and Walton-on-the-Naze with an interest in developing their passion for theatre and performing arts.

Request a brochure or Enrol online now.

In addition to our Academy sessions, PQA Colchester offers holiday workshops, Easter and Summer Schools, whilst also providing a wide range of specialist events both locally and nationally. Our students have participated in various performance opportunities at the Headgate Theatre, Lakeside Theatre and Mercury Theatre in Colchester, as well as having performed alongside 'Popera' group G4 at the Princes Theatre in Clacton-on-Sea. Some students have been lucky enough to tread the boards at Shaftesbury Theatre in London's West End!

Note from our Principal:

Hi, my name is Ali, and I'm the Principal of the Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts in Colchester. I am proud to provide the next generation of young performers in my hometown the opportunity to nurture and develop their skills under the guidance of industry professionals.

Our three modules in Comedy & Drama, Musical Theatre and Film & Television offer our students aged 6-18 a contemporary performing arts education. Our extremely fun Poppets class runs alongside our main Academy and provides multi-disciplinary lessons for 4-5 year olds.

At PQA Colchester, our fantastic team are dedicated to inspiring, engaging and motivating all our students whether they wish to gain confidence, make new friends, or pursue a career in the performing arts. All of this takes place in a fun and safe environment that will allow students at PQA Colchester the chance to work as a part of a team that encourages everyone to celebrate their individualism!

As well as these exciting lessons, PQA Colchester offers many other fantastic opportunities that our students look forward to. These include specialist masterclasses, free group Trinity College exams and local and national showcase opportunities - from our regular film festivals at local cinemas to performing in the heart of London's West End. All of this will further enhance our students' experience at PQA Colchester.

We would love to show you what we do here at PQA Colchester! If you're interested in a FREE taster session, please email or call us for a chat, and we'll arrange for you to visit the Academy. Alternatively, you can register your interest online.

We look forward to welcoming you to PQA Colchester!

Find out more

Ali - Principal - PQA Colchester

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Comedy & Drama Classes

Our comedy and drama lessons provide our students with the knowledge of theatrical forms and techniques including: Improvisation and devised theatre to mime, mask, script work and vocal techniques in projection and diction.

Musical Theatre Classes

Musical Theatre classes combine singing, dance and acting. We teach our students a range of vocal and dance techniques giving them the ability to pass from dialogue to song and dance seamlessly within a performance.

Film & Television Classes

PQA is the largest provider of Film and Television education in the UK for under 18s. Our students will discover and develop talents in areas such as script writing, directing and acting for camera.

And so much more! 

Specialist Masterclasses, Quirky Kidz Agency, West End Theatre Shows, Trinity College Exams, Film Festivals, Creative Stages Reports, Local Cinema Screenings, Showcases & PQATV

Meet the Team

Alistair Ward


Alistair Ward - Principal

Alistair grew up in Colchester, where he caught the acting bug at an early age when cast as 'The Mirror' in his primary school production of Snow White. He never looked back and at 18 left Colchester to train at Rose Bruford College.

Alistair has worked as an actor since graduating in 2011. His credits include David in Ghost Hunt (Et Cetera Theatre), Jack in A Design For Life (Lost Theatre), Butch Honeywell in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Unicorn Theatre), a national tour of Personal Best with children's company Quantum Theatre and various radio plays with Colchester based company Frequency Theatre.

Alistair brings a wealth of experience to PQA Colchester having worked as Comedy and Drama teacher at PQA Romford for nearly three years, and more recently at PQA Canterbury where he was Vice Principal. He also has worked extensively with children with learning difficulties and behaviour problems, and also runs weekly council-funded drama classes in East London.

Alistair is passionate about young people having access to the performing arts and is convinced that the arts can have a positive effect on young people.

Alistair says he "can't wait to come home and get started at PQA Colchester. I am excited for you to meet our team, all of whom are professionally trained and will deliver relevant and contemporary training to all of our students."


VP/Comedy & Drama

Natalie - VP/Comedy & Drama

Natalie is a native Geordie actress, and trained at Rose Bruford College. Since graduating in 2011, her theatre credits include What Flows Past The Baltic by Liam Shannon (Nottingham Playhouse, Arcola Theatre), Heaven Eyes by David Almond (Tour), Expectations by (Pleasance Theatre), Lydia's House by Janet Plater (Live Theatre), Michaela's Mistake (Tour) and Retro Metro (Space Theatre). Film credits include Diana, Shot by Shot and RTS award-winning My World. Natalie has also appeared in a TV commercial for Barclays.

Natalie's passion for new writing and comedy has led her to work extensively with young people in the North East as a practitioner and actor on Live Theatre's 'Write Stuff' and 'Between the Lines' projects. These projcts provide a platform for secondary school children to workshop their creative writing with directors and have their work performed by professional actors. These are projects that Natalie is immensely proud to have been a part of. She has also worked as a practitioner for the National Youth Theatre and The Challenge.

Natalie is looking forward to teaching Comedy and Drama, and working with creative and talented young people to improve their confidence and skills, both on and off the stage!


Film & Television

James - Film & Television

James is a passionate Colcestrian and filmmaker.

Studying Digital Film at the University of Brighton, James' filmmaking has ranged from short films, music videos YouTube videos, winning awards in the process.

One of his proudest achievements in his career so far was working for Channel 4's Gadget Man with Richard Ayoade.

James as a filmmaker wants to experience as much of the industry he loves as possible. Having taught the benefits of media before, James is looking to ignite the passion and excitement in the next generation of filmmakers.


Film & Television Tutor

Lauren - Film & Television Tutor

Lauren has loved filmmaking ever since being let loose with the family camcorder. Her first 'real' experience of filmmaking was when I volunteered as a stagehand and film assistant at my local theatre company in my hometown of Ipswich.

Lauren studied Film & TV Production at the University of Westminster. Specialising in editing, Lauren has also worked as a producer, script supervisor and art director on numerous films, some of which screened at festivals both in the UK & internationally. While at University, Lauren worked on a documentary called The Abbey, which was awarded a Royal Television Society student award. Since graduating, Lauren has worked on an array of productions, from short films to music videos and social media content, including a documentary short for Newcastle Young Carers.

Using film as a way of engaging communities and starting a conversation is something Lauren cares deeply about. She is delighted to be joining PQA, sharing filmmaking skills with the next generation of young people and helping students use film as a tool for creative expression.



Paige - Poppets

Paige is an actress, singer and director specialising in movement and dance. When she is not studying for her degree, Paige is busy appearing on stage, recently 'The Snow Queen' and 'Disorderly Women' at the Lakeside Theatre. Paige's first film effort was shortlisted in Echo film magazine. Paige is a proud member of the Theatre Arts society at Essex University.

Later this year Paige will be directing a production of 'Pronoun' by Evan Placey and has also just won an award for best original piece at the Lakeside Theatre (she may soon need a new mantelpiece)!

Paige is always passing on her enthusiasm for theatre, dance and choreography, and she loves working with our Poppets!


Academy Assistant

Scott - Academy Assistant

A longtime student of PQA, Scott has successfully transitioned into a brilliant member of Team PQA. Working primarily with our Green group, Scott shares his enthusiasm for the arts with students and helps them to engage creatively and with confidence in module lessons. As a student of PQA, Scott was represented by Quirky Kidz and performed on the West End stage in 'The Lazy Ace', so is able to use his experiences to inspire our students! Scott is pursuing a career as an actor and features in Sky Sports 2018 Football Season commercials alongside actor Noel Clarke (Kidulthood, Adulthood).


Academy Assistant

Beckah - Academy Assistant

Biography coming soon.


Musical Theatre Tutor

Grace - Musical Theatre Tutor

Biography coming soon.

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Saturdays 09.45 - 13.00 & 13.45 - 17.00
Poppets 10.00 - 11.30

Philip Morant Academy
Rembrandt Way

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