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Welcome to PQA Darlington

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We operate on a Sunday morning 10am-1pm at The Education Village.

Our aim is to ensure a high level of performance industry training, whilst gaining confidence, developing life skills and having lots of fun along the way.

The academy has superb facilities that include a spacious performing hall, where students will learn to develop their comedy and drama skills. It is also perfect to showcase their talent, with the use of their brilliant lighting rig and sound system.

The dance studio is air conditioned, with sprung floors and mirrored walls, so you can strut your funky stuff, while in musical theatre.

The T.V. & Film studio is a performing area which has a removable green screen so you can create any weird and wonderful set your imagination comes up with.

All our excellent practitioners deliver fun filled, creative, high energy, action packed sessions.  Have a look, to see for yourself!

Try your hand at classes in Comedy and Drama, Musical Theatre and Film & T.V. We also offer "Poppets" classes for our young pupils, which will be all of the above condensed into a shorter session, 10am - 11:30am.

From time to time we will also have masterclasses in Street dance, theatrical make up, clowning and puppetry.
Other things to look forward to as well as your weekly sessions are; West-end shows, film premier events, which you will be staring in.  Plus, students have the opportunity to take part in Trinity exams, at no extra cost.

If you have a passion for singing, a love of dancing, perhaps you want to be the next big film director or you just want to have fun, while learning new skills, contact us today to book your free taster session.

Email or call 07936546347

We look forward to meeting you.

Laura Lonsdale

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Meet the Team

Laura Lonsdale

Principal / Comedy & Drama

Laura Lonsdale - Principal / Comedy & Drama

Hello, my name is Laura and I am honored to say that I have been the proud principal of PQA DARLINGTON for one whole year now and I adore every minute of it!

As a proud "Smoggy", born and bred in Middlesbrough, I have a passion to bring a high standard of performance industry training to the area and most importantly to you, the next generation of performers.

I started my training at Sylvia Young Theatre School, so I understand the importance of developing your skills, from a young age. It was an education for life both on and off the stage. At 18 I attended the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA). My career started as soon as I left drama school, I literally hit the road running, going on a national tour with Hull Truck Theatre and I have never looked back.

Being an actor gives you a chance to be whoever you want to be and I have been lot's of different characters, both on and off screen. A chocolate factory worker for the BBC, a blushing bride for ITV and a women scorned in the West end. It's been a fantastic seventeen years in the industry and long may it continue. I also have my own theatre company, where we write, create and produce our own pieces of theatre.

I became a practitioner, as I wanted to pass on the skills I had been taught. You never stop learning and developing your talent. Working with young people reminds me of that on a weekly basis. Not only do you get insider knowledge of what it is like to work within the business, you will get someone who has been training young people for over nine years. With the correct nurture and guidance, students will develop, grow and discover new possibilities, that where never open to them before.

PQA Darlington wants you to learn new skills, in safe, fun and creative environment. Become different characters, sing like no one is listening, dance like no one is watching and most importantly be yourself. Gain the confidence, techniques and determination to stand out in a crowd.

So if you just can't wait to be king, defy gravity or you simply can't stop the beat!

Come along and meet us.

As William Shakespeare said "All the worlds a stage."

Dora Strang – Equus / Maggie Hobson – Hobson's choice both at the Lion Eagles theatre.
Mandy Wild – Studs – Hull Truck theatre (national tour) and Arc – Stockton.
Shelia – The Shy gasman – Southwark playhouse.
Maxine – Like a virgin – National tour.
Sandra – Beautiful thing / Reggie Fluety – Laramie project – Hazel Pearson theatre.
Jean – Your home in the west – Middlesbrough theatre.
Denise – Miss Crispy 1988 – National tour.
Sandra – Beautiful Thing / Sarah – Your Home in the west / Helen Stott – A Nightingale Sang / Carol – Shakers – All at Middlesbrough Theatre.
Jackie – Waiting for Gateaux / Rita – Educating Rita – Both a t Customs House.

T.V credits:
Denise – The Royal – ITV.
Nancy – The Eustace brothers – BBC 1.
Tracy – Bodies – BBC 2.
Barbara – Mrs David – BBC 2.
Sara – (Regular) – Rocket Man – BBC 1.
Sandra – Dalziel and Pascoe – BBC 1.

Film credits:
Liz – Awake – Short film.



Vice Principal

Chris - Vice Principal

Biography coming soon.


Musical Theatre

Sarah - Musical Theatre

Sarah is originally from Middlesbrough and has enjoyed musical theatre from young age. After training locally she then attended Arts Educational and completed a foundation course, after gaining a full scholarship Sarah went on to train in performing arts for 3 years at The Italia Conti Academy learning Jazz, Street Jazz, Ballet, Tap, singing, harmonizing, Estill technique, Alexander Technique, Stanislavski and Commedia Dell'Arte.

Since Graduation Sarah's highlights have been performing as Rebecca in 'Newland', both at The Bridewell theatre and at Edinburgh Festival, filming for Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, lead show girl at The New Wimbledon Theatre and More recently treading the boards at Middlesbrough Theatre in 'Bazaar and Rummage' As well as teaching Sarah also sings with a wartime vintage band. Sarah has worked in many aspects of TV, theatre and film and is very excited to be a part of PQA to be able to pass on all of that knowledge in a fun and creative environment.


Film & Television

Alastair - Film & Television

Alastair Cummings is a director, editor and cinematographer based in Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK. After graduating from Northumbria University with first-class honours in Film and Television, Alastair set up his own freelance production company creating videos for clients such as Visit Britain, English Heritage and the British Council.

Outside of his freelance work, Alastair creates independent cinema from shorts all the way to feature films. His narrative works have gained recognition and awards at prestigious festivals across the globe, travelling from rural Italy to the Leonard Nimoy Thalia in NYC.

Alastair's most recent short, AKITA, has had over a hundred screenings across the world and won various awards including Best UK Short, Best Fiction, Best Film and Best Actor. His films are marked by the clever use of props, lovable characters and bizarre situations.

Alastair has been mentoring young people in video production for over 6 years and loves having the opportunity to help them create their first films. He aims to create films with young people that will have a life at film festivals worldwide and will give real confidence and self-esteem to those involved.



Sarah - Poppets

My name is Sarah and I've been working with PQA Tees Valley since the day we opened in 2013!

I've worked in a variety of different roles since we started but I am super happy to be your Vice Principal and Poppets teacher! Working alongside such an amazing team is a joy and watching year after year the fantastic work our students produce is an absolute privilege!

My background and experience is predominantly childcare based having studied Early Childhood Studies at Teesside University. I also hold a BTEC certificate in Performing Arts which I studied fr under the guidance of our amazing principal Laura Lonsdale. Over the last four years, I've gained a wealth of knowledge working and teaching alongside such talented professionals. Now more than ever we are able to deliver the highest standard of training!

As well as working at PQA Tees Valley, I am also starting up my own childcare agency. Working with children and young people is something I'm extremely passionate about. I can't wait to meet you all and most importantly encourage you to be yourself and be amazing!


Academy Assistant

Stephanie - Academy Assistant

Stephanie began her training at the age of four at the Val Armstrong School of Performing Arts studying all aspects of dance and musical theatre. She began competing at the age of six and has won a number of titles since then including the North of England Senior Tap Champion and Senior Supreme Acrobatic Champion. At the age of eighteen, Stephanie decided to further her training by attending the Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts on their pre-vocational course.

After a year of intense training in London, Stephanie successfully auditioned for the Disneyland Paris Company and moved to France to become the Little Mermaid. When Stephanie returned from her 6-month contract in France she decided it was time to go back to college and complete her A-Levels and is now Studying Business Management with Dance Combined at the University of Sunderland where she is a student representative for her year group alongside running her own Children's Entertainment Business.
"Being a performer can open so many doors in life and I hope to encourage the young performers of today that they can do anything they set out to do. I am delighted to be a part of the PQA Team and look for to working with and nurturing all of the new talent the academy holds"


Poppets Assistant

Emily - Poppets Assistant

I began my training at the age of two at Val Armstrong's School of Performing Arts Hartlepool where I studied all genres of dance and drama.

At the age of nine, I moved to London to join the West End Production of Billy Elliot playing my first lead role as Debbie Wilkinson. I stayed with the company for eighteen months before returning home to continue my training and schooling.

Since then I have competed in numerous championships across the country gaining many finalist places and have recently accepted a place at Stockton Riverside College on their Performing Arts course.

I am looking forward to sharing my experience with the students of PQA Middlesbrough and look forward to learning new skills and gaining new experiences throughout my time with the Academy.

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Sunday 09.45 - 13.00
Poppets 10.00 - 11.30 & 11.30 - 13.00

The Education Village
Salters Lane South

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