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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.



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.



Elizabeth - Poppets

Lizzie Curwen was born in Kendal, Cumbria. Lizzie's Musical Theatre training began in Kendal at the age of two at the Tokari School of Theatre. Lizzie was lucky enough to join the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain at the age of 12 and is now a valued staff member throughout their annual courses.

Lizzie went on to complete a Trinity Diploma in Musical Theatre and an ATCL Diploma in Acting at the well renowned Laine Theatre Arts School in Epsom. Lizzie also achieved her Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing FDI teaching qualifications in modern and ballet. Lizzie continued to train achieving a BA Honours degree in Theatre at Guildford School of Acting and is due to complete a PGCLTHE at Kingston University this year.

Lizzie has recently completed a year as the lecturer of Musical Theatre at Kendal College and has just joined the Darlington and Durham Music Council as their new peripatetic vocal teacher. Lizzie is the current conductor of the Brewery Community Choir in Kendal and the singing teacher at another local performing arts school in Lancaster.

With 10 years professional experience, Lizzie has had the pleasure of singing in some of the best venues in the world, including The Royal Albert Hall and Her Majesty's Theatre in London and many other great UK venues.  

She has also performed at the Broadcast Conference Centre San Luis Obispo, Walt Disney Symphony Hall in Los Angeles, Disney Land Paris and Los Angeles, Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, and many stunning 5* resorts across the Aegean including the Thomson Celebration Cruise Ship and Britney Ferries.

Lizzie has had the pleasure of singing with G4, "The Choir" as seen on Channel Four, The King Singers, Eric Whitacre, the Morman Tabernacle choir, the Swingle Singers, John Rutter, Sir David Wilcox and Julian Lloyd Webber. Lizzie has had the joy of singing in some beautiful choirs throughout her career, taking her on tour around Europe and America with The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and in the UK in the Thursford Christmas Spectacular.

Lizzie is extremely excited to be moving to Darlington and working for the Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts.


Poppets Assistant

Rebecca - Poppets Assistant

Hi, my name is Becca and I am the Poppets Assistant!

After being a student at PQA Darlington for the last two years I am extremely excited to be switching roles and being part of the team, to share my experiences whilst continuing to expand my knowledge in all areas of Performing Arts. I am also continuing my training at PQA PLUS.

I am thoroughly passionate about performing both on stage and for screen and have been in various productions and short films. With PQA a short film I wrote and starred in, Refuge, won two awards, which I am very proud of!

Currently I am studying Musical Theatre at Stockton Riverside College and here I have played the Narrator/ Older Wendy in Peter Pan as well as being cast to play Grizabella in the college's Summer production of Cats which I cannot wait to start rehearsals for.

Looking forward to working with you all.



Rochelle - Assistant

I'm Rochelle! Currently, while seeking professional acting jobs, take part in PQA Plus, which I thoroughly enjoy. I feel it is really important to keep training.

My career goal is to work in TV and film. I try to take as much supporting artist when I can to help me learn and develop my knowledge of the industry.

When I was younger I was a keen gymnast and won quite a few competitions. I then decided to study performing arts at Middlesbrough College, which made me realise that I had a huge passion for acting.

I am really excited about getting the opportunity to work with you all and hopefully, pass on some of the knowledge I have picked up along the way.

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Sunday 09.45 - 13.00
Poppets 10.00 - 11.30

The Education Village
Salters Lane South

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