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Welcome to PQA York

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

Our York academy operates from Huntington School every Saturday from 9.45am-1pm & 1.45-5pm where we welcome students from 4-18 years within the York, Tadcaster, Malton, Haxby, New Earswick, Dunnington, Fulford, Bishopthorpe, Copmanthorpe and Poppleton areas.

Request a brochure or Enrol online now.

Note from our Principal:

As Principal of the Academy, I am extremely passionate about providing high quality, professional and up-to-date performing arts tuition, as well as offering the opportunity for young people to build confidence, learn life skills and make new friends. At PQA York, we ensure all of this takes place in a fun, safe and happy environment.

Every member of staff at PQA York is hugely dedicated to inspiring, engaging and motivating the young people who come to the academy, whether they want to simply gain confidence and make new friends, or whether they wish to go further into a career in the performing arts.

We would love to show you what we do here at PQA York! 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.

Find out more.

We look forward to welcoming you to PQA York!

James Aconley
07753 179070

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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

Hear what our parents say:

"Well, PQA York what an amazing performance your AM group gave last night on the West End Stage. You must be so proud, we were very proud parents, grandparents and godparents sat in the audience last night. Thank you and all the team for the opportunity." – Pippa

"James and his team at PQA York are brilliant... always full of enthusiasm and inspiration" – Susan

"I also would like to take this opportunity to put in writing how fantastic the York students were at the Cory performance. We could tell how hard all the York students and teachers had worked, and it paid off. It was wonderful to see the joy and confidence when they were performing and they lifted the roof when they came on. The camaraderie between the students is also wonderful to see and my son always says how nice EVERYONE is. His sister says she wishes she enjoyed performing just so she could be a part of PQA too." – Ylva

Want to hear more? Request one of our free information packs via our quick form below:

Request a Pack

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Would you be interested in a free, no obligation taster session at your local Academy?


Privacy Notice

Date of issue: 16 May 2018


At PQA we take your privacy seriously and we are committed to respecting and protecting your privacy. This Privacy Notice explains in detail the types of personal data we may collect about you when you interact with us. It also explains how we'll store and handle that data, and keep it safe.

It's likely that we'll need to update this Privacy Notice from time to time. We'll notify you of any significant changes, but you're welcome to come back and check it whenever you wish.

PQA LTD is the data controller of your personal information (collectively referred to as "PQA", "we", "us" or "our" in this Privacy Notice) and is made up of a number of different businesses including The Pauline Quirke Academy, Quirky Kidz, PQA Studios, Q Productions, Q Management, Quirky Youth Theatre and PQA Venues.

Registered in England and Wales with company number 06203984 of The Retreat, 406 Roding Lane South, Woodford Green, Essex, England, IG8 8EY

If you require further information about the way(s) PQA manages your personal data, you can contact our Data Protection Officer directly on


What personal data we need and how we collect it
Personal data, or personal information, means any information about an individual that can identify them. It does not include data where the identity has been removed (anonymous data). We collect the minimum amount of personal information needed to complete a contract that we have with you.

We may collect, use, store and transfer different kinds of personal data about you which we have grouped together as follows:
• Identity Data includes your first name, maiden name, last name, title, date of birth, credit/debit card information,
• Contact Data includes your postal address, email address and telephone numbers.

Where we need to collect personal information about you by law, or to fulfil our obligations to you and you fail to provide that information when requested, we may not be able to perform the contract we have or services we are trying to provide to you. In this case, we may have to stop providing you with the services, but we will notify you if this is the case at the time. For example, where you do not consent for your child to be recorded by PQA, we will contact you and discuss whether we can continue providing the services under the contract.
We collect your personal information by direct interactions with you. Mainly you will give us your Identity and Contact Data by filling in forms or by corresponding with us by post, phone and email.


How we use your personal data
The processing of your personal data is necessary for us to provide a service that you have requested under a contract we have with you. We rely on that contract as a legal basis on which we process your personal data. Under that contract we will provide your personal data to your local PQA Academy so that it can provide you with the services you have requested.
PQA processes personal data for certain legitimate business purposes which include, some or all, of the following:

•  where the processing enables us to enhance, modify, personalise or otherwise improve our services/communications for the benefit of our customer;
•  to identify and prevent fraud;
•  to enhance the security of our networks and information systems;
•  to administer any of our prize draws or competitions which you enter, based on your consent given at the time of entering
•  to better understand how people, interact with our web sites, and
•  to provide communication which we think will be of benefit and interest to you.

Otherwise, we rely on consent as the legal basis on which we process your personal information. We will seek your consent from time to time to continue to process your data by contacting you.


We only use your personal information to administer your account and to provide you information on the products and services you have requested from us. From time to time we will also invite you to participate in surveys which help us to improve what we do. We will never sell, distribute or lease your personal information to third parties.


Where and how we store your personal data
When you provide PQA with personal data, we will hold your information on our electronic database on servers physically located within the UK or the European Economic Area (the "EEA").

We will use appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect against unauthorised or unlawful processing and against accidental loss destruction or damage of your personal information. Your personal information is stored electronically on a database file which is password-protected and stored offline, behind up-to-date firewall and antivirus protection.

Access to personal information is limited to Principals and employees of PQA. These individuals have access to the personal information on the database to enable them to perform their contractual duties. We provide all Principals and employees of PQA with Data Protection Legislation training.
We have put in place procedures to deal with any suspected personal information breach. In the unlikely event that your personal information was accessible to third parties through a data breach, we would inform you as soon as we become aware of it and any applicable regulator where we are legally required to do so.


How long we will retain your personal data
We will only retain your personal information for as long as necessary to fulfil the purposes we collected it for, including for the purposes of satisfying any legal, accounting, or reporting requirements.

To determine the appropriate retention period for personal information we consider
- the amount, nature, sensitivity of the personal information,
- the potential risk of harm from unauthorised use or disclosure of your personal information;
- the purposes for which we process your personal information,
- whether we can achieve those purposes through other means,
- and the applicable legal requirements.

Your personal data stored on our database will be reviewed every six months and where appropriate we will delete your personal data.
If you complete our enquiry form, we will pass your personal data to the Principal of your chosen Academy to allow them to provide materials about PQA and to contact you to learn if you wish further information.

If you have contacted us and have requested that we keep your personal data on file for the purposes of receiving information from us, for example, about new academies opening, we will ensure that we confirm with you each time we contact you, that you are happy for your personal data to be stored by us for contact only. If you choose not to proceed with registering with us, we will remove all your stored data after 6 months.


Access to information
Data Protection Legislation gives you right to access the information we hold about you. Your right of access can be exercised in accordance with Data Protection Legislation. We will respond to any valid access request within 30 days (though if it is expected to take longer than 30 days, we will notify you and keep you updated on likely timescale) and we will make available your information in a format to be agreed. To obtain a copy of the personal information we hold about you please contact us in the manner set out at the end of this Privacy Notice.

You will not have to pay a fee to access your personal data (or to exercise any of the other rights contained in this Privacy Notice). However, we may charge a reasonable fee if your request is clearly unfounded, repetitive or excessive. Alternatively, we may refuse to comply with your request in these circumstances. In these instances, we will notify you.



Erasure or rectification of information
Data Protection Legislation gives you the right to ask us to erase information held about you if it is no longer necessary in relation to the purposes for which it was collected or processed. You also have the right to ask us to rectify inaccurate information we hold about you or to complete incomplete information about you.

Your right of erasure and/or rectification can be exercised in accordance with Data Protection Legislation. If you make a valid erasure or rectification request, we will take reasonable steps to erase or rectify your information so far as required by Data Protection Legislation. However, Data Protection Legislation allows us to retain and continue processing your information in certain circumstances and if any of those circumstances apply we may continue to hold and process your information (in accordance with this Privacy Notice) despite your request for us to erase it. Such circumstances include (but may not be limited to) where our continued holding and/or processing or your information is necessary:

• for exercising the right of freedom of expression and information;
• for compliance with a legal obligation that requires processing of personal data by EU or member state law to which the controller is subject, or for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest, or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller;
• for reasons of public interest in the area of public health;
• for archiving purposes in the public interest, or scientific and historical research purposes or statistical purposes in so far as the erasure of the information would be likely to render impossible or seriously impair the achievement of the objectives of the archiving purposes in the public interest, or the scientific and historical research purposes or the statistical purposes, and
• for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims.


Changes to our Privacy Notice and your duty to inform us of changes
This version was last updated on 16 May 2018.
The data protection law in the UK changes on 25 May 2018.

We will communicate to you any material changes to our Privacy Notice by posting to the addresses provided. This will ensure that you are always aware of the information we collect, how we use it and the circumstances under which we may disclose it.

It is important that the personal data we hold about you is accurate and current. Please keep us informed if your personal data changes during your relationship with us.


Your right to withdraw your consent or complain
You have the right to withdraw from us your consent to process your personal data at any time. Please bear in mind that if you object, this may affect our ability to complete a contract which we have with you. PQA will maintain an audit trail of consent given and consent withdrawn.

If you consider that we have failed to comply with this Privacy Notice and/or Data Protection Legislation in relation to the information which we hold or process, or you are not satisfied with our response, you have a right to make a compliant to the relevant UK supervisory authority for data protection issues at any time, which in the UK is the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). We would, however, appreciate the chance to deal with your concerns before you approach the ICO, so please contact us in the first instance in the manner which is set out at the end of the Privacy notice.
Our Data Protection Policy can be viewed from this link: PQA Data Protection Policy
Our Cookie Policy can be viewed from this link: Website Cookie Policy


If you have any requests or queries concerning your personal information or any queries about our practices, please call us on 0800 531 6282 or send us an email at or write to us at the following address The Academy Queensmead Road, Loudwater, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP10 9XA



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Meet the Team

James Aconley


James Aconley - Principal

Hello, my name is James and I am delighted to be the Principal of PQA York.

My passion for the performing arts and my determination to ensure the best possible tuition whilst ensuring my students are having great fun ensures that PQA York really is the place to be.

I have a wealth of experience in both performance work as well as teaching and facilitating projects. I have taught both singing and drama for a number of youth theatres and theatre schools, as well as providing theatre and music workshops for community groups including young people with learning disabilities, people who have experienced drug and alcohol abuse, residents in a women's prison and secondary school students at risk of becoming NEET. I have also provided drama workshops for secondary school students as an extra-curricular activity, teaching performance skills whilst leading to end of term performances for parents.

My teaching and facilitation experience brought together by the knowledge and expertise of my teachers ensures a fantastic journey for the students of PQA York. This is further complemented by the modern, exciting and inspiring modules and opportunities provided by PQA. As well as being the Principal of PQA York, I am also the Principal of PQA Scarborough which operates on a Sunday morning. PQA York is operated from the superb facilities at Huntington School in York.

In my performance projects I have worked in many aspects of the entertainment industry including summer seasons, variety, pantomime, musicals, cabaret and performing live in concert. One major highlight of my career so far was performing at The Club for Acts and Actors (formerly The Concert Artistes Association) in London's West End in October 2007.

I have also produced and directed, as well as appeared in, my own theatre shows since 2009. These productions have been resident shows in theatres, touring theatre shows visiting venues throughout Yorkshire, and, most recently, summer seasons at Europe's largest Open Air Theatre. I also have my own solo cabaret show that I perform in hotels and restaurants, as well as at private functions and events.

I'm also proud to have been awarded a First Class BA (Hons) Theatre degree from York St John University.

I am so proud of this exciting opportunity to apply all my skills and experience to pass on my knowledge, by leading my team of talented, professional and energetic teachers, to develop young people and their skills for everyday life, self-confidence and to grow as individuals – as well as having great fun!


Vice Principal / Film & Television

Andy - Vice Principal / Film & Television

Hello, my name is Andy and I am delighted to be the Film & Television teacher at PQA York.

In this module, you will be exploring many ways to act, direct, film, edit and star in your very own short films using our professional equipment. We'll be making many different genres of film – from silent movies and pop videos to short films, documentaries and 'mini-features.' Although we use the Film and Television room as a 'base of operations', I am always encouraging and enthusiastic about shooting on location and spending as little time as possible in the classroom itself. The team at PQA York are also really excited about the 'red carpet' film premiere events we'll be holding, showing lots of the student work.

I have been accumulating knowledge and experience on Film and TV for a number of years whilst also gathering the skills needed to teach and inspire others. My passion for this led me to Northumbria University where I recently completed my BA (Hons) Film & Television Studies degree. This course has had a huge impact on my understanding of the Film & Television medium whilst also furthering my passion for the subject.

I have produced a number of short films with a number of different groups and companies. Within each film I have taken on a number of roles including writer, director, editor and, in some cases, being in front of the camera!

I have also had experience in theatre and the performing arts, appearing in many productions in North Yorkshire, whilst also helping to direct. This has given me a broad spectrum of knowledge applicable to the Film and TV module and teaching and developing the skills and abilities of different groups of young people.

I am always really excited to teach this very unique module at PQA York and applying all my knowledge and passion for the subject to help instruct, inspire and influence the group, while at the same time helping them develop skills applicable to everyday life. Film & Television is a module so vast that it incorporates the development of many different skills; from technical ability with the equipment itself, acting and safety of the crew whilst on a shoot.

I look forward to continuing to make PQA York a fun experience and a fantastic opportunity every single weekend whilst also witnessing the development, growth and increased enjoyment of all our students at the academy!


Musical Theatre

Rocky - Musical Theatre

I work professionally and passionately as an actor, singer and dancer in film, musical theatre and contemporary theatre (credits including White Rose Theatre, Proper Job, Gobbledigook, Parashoots and Park Bench Poets).

I attended Bodywork Theatre School throughout my childhood, excited by and exploring many different genres of performance including classical and contemporary Ballet and Jazz, Tap and Musical Theatre. I have never lost the enjoyment in learning different and new ways to perform and use my body, so I have over the years collected and developed other skills such as ballroom, circus skills, acro-balance, and biomechanics.

In 2008 I completed a BA (Hons) in Performance Theatre at York St. John University where I specialised in collaborative devised work and theatre-making. I then went on in 2010 to complete an MA in Theatre: Writing, Directing and Performance at York University looking at more classical their styles.

2010 also saw the launch of Six Lips Theatre, an experimental contemporary theatre company, of which I am one of three artistic directors and founders. We regularly perform our work at theatre's and festivals, all over the UK.

I love working with different community groups and have been teaching dance, drama singing and musical theatre for over 10 years all over the North, with young people and adults of varying needs and abilities, with performing arts academies, youth theatres and charities including Kirkham Henry, Derwent Danceworks, Duck Egg Theatre Company, Upstage Centre Youth Theatre and York Mind.

I am a member of the NATD and train students for Arts Award, LAMDA, IDTA and Trinity exams.


Comedy & Drama

Kirsty - Comedy & Drama

Hello everyone!

My name is Kirsty and I am incredibly excited to be teaching Comedy & Drama at PQA York.

I can't wait to watch the students as they develop in confidence and life skills when rehearsing and making performances they will be proud to show their families and friends.

I spent every weekend, every evening and every school holiday from the age of eleven at drama and performing arts classes which is where I made brilliant friends, grew in confidence and where my passion for Comedy & Drama began. At the age of sixteen I went to further my training with the National Youth Theatre . Here I worked with some excellent companies including Trestle and Complicite and went on to perform with Complicite at Battersea Power Station and Mill Bank Studios London.

I am also proud to have achieved a first class degree in Performance Practice from York St John University. Whilst here I was a founding member of at least for now theatre, and worked with many children and young adults on theatre and performance projects.

As well as my training I have performed in many stage shows across the country including Fireball XL5 as part of Love Arts Festival York, Smocks and Socks as part of Create15 Festival and at The East Riding Theatre Beverley. I have also worked with Chicago based theatre company Atom-R and toured a production of the Wakefield Mystery Plays with PR Promotions, later recorded for BBC Radio Derby and BBC Radio 4. I have worked with The National Youth Theatre and Complicite on their production of S'warm. Productions for Derby Theatre include; Cranford The Musical, Lady with a Lamp and Squeakers. I have also appeared in a few short films which include 'The Stadium Arts Project' and the title role Rose in 'Rose Petal'.

Behind the scenes I have worked for Atomic Force Productions and Something For The Weekend. Working for these comedy companies has given me the insight and experience into knowing what logistically goes into being a comedy performer.

I have spent the last year at Yorks Chocolate Story developing and facilitating the schools workshop programme, working with up to 100 children at one time from the ages of 6-18, having great fun creating and delivering activities whilst getting to work with and eat lots of chocolate!

Finally I can't wait to meet all my PQA students and to pass on my skills, knowledge and experience to the next generation of performers!



Sara - Poppets

Hello there – my name is Sara and I am delighted to be teaching the Poppets at PQA York.

I have worked with children in their early years for over 6 years, and enjoy seeing children develop their performance skills in singing, dancing and acting, whilst seeing their confidence grow.

Itrained for two years at Sylvia Young Theatre School in London and a further three years at the London Studio Centre.

My first professional job was with Bill Kenwright's Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, touring the country as a singer dancer.

I have had a wide and varied experience performing in many productions including Aladdin in Weston Super Mare, summer seasons in Great Yarmouth and Scarborough, tours with British Stage Productions and pantomines at Scarborough Spa Theatre. I have also worked as a solo singer and entertainment host for Shearings Hotels.

I am excited to pass on my experience and performance knowledge to the Poppets at PQA York every Saturday morning!


Teaching Assistant

Rhea - Teaching Assistant

Hello, my name is Rhea and I'm so excited to be part of the team at PQA York!

Musical Theatre is my biggest passion and I have been performing since I was really young. I started dancing at the age of eight and did my first show aged nine. Since then I have performed at many shows in York and Scarborough where I have developed my skills in acting, singing and dancing.

I studied Musical Theatre at college where I enhanced my skills. One of my highlights was playing Sally Bowles in our final show 'Cabaret'. During this time, I also passed my ABRSM singing exams, which helped to further my experience in Classical music and Musical Theatre.

Filmmaking is also a huge interest of mine and in 2011 I came third in Leeds' Young People's Film Festival. I learnt so much from this experience and had so much fun taking part.

I'm currently studying Psychology at University, where I hope to pursue a career as a clinical psychologist working with young people.

I'm really looking forward to working with the Pauline Quirke Academy in York and to share my experience and love of Musical Theatre with others.


Teaching Assistant

Polly - Teaching Assistant

Hi, my name is Polly and I am excited to be working as Teaching Assistant for the students of The Pauline Quirke Academy.

I have recently graduated from the Performance BA at Northumbria University, in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Here I was able to not only hone acting skills and contemporary theatre practices, I was also able to learn how to apply these skills to become a successful facilitator and bring drama to young people. Throughout my three years here I have learnt skills in everything from classical naturalistic acting to Contemporary Dance to Film and TV Production, something I am excited to be able to apply to teaching at the Pauline Quirke Academy.

Before heading off to university, I was a regular Performer in YMCA Productions, playing the title role in shows such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Peter Pan. I also attended Susan Richards Ballet School, Variety School of Dance and Twilight Productions. All of which I took on some teaching roles and was able to learn skills in being able to bring the highest quality, and effective teaching to young people. I've also been lucky enough to be part of professional touring productions of Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Annie.

I'm looking forward to taking all of these experiences and applying them to my role at PQA as well as learning from the children themselves.


Academy Volunteer

Clare - Academy Volunteer

My name is Clare and I am really looking forward to working as part of the team at PQA as an Academy Volunteer.

I am currently a student at York College studying Performing Arts. Through my first year at College, I have performed in plays that were either produced from a script or designed creatively within groups. From this, I have worked with other individuals who have also been involved in the acting industry. I am thoroughly enjoying learning the practical skills and theoretical knowledge needed to work in the performing arts industry, whilst also benefitting from singing and dancing as part of the course curriculum.

I have been a student at PQA and have worked in many rehearsals for plays, musicals or short films at the academy. This has given me further knowledge and invaluable insight into the world of acting.

I believe that every young child who wants to have a career in Musical Theatre should be given the chance to experience the activities and workshops that PQA provides. Having the opportunity to meet new people, make friends and having fun, whilst working with other actors is what I aim for every young performer to experience at PQA.

I am so excited and privileged to be joining the academy as part of the PQA team, to help inspire others to be as passionate about performance as I am.


Academy Administrator

Tilly - Academy Administrator

Hi, I'm Tilly and I am so excited to join the PQA team after being a student at PQA Scarborough for 4 years (ever since the open day!).

I have always had a passion for performing arts and I have taken part in a variety of theatre shows and performances, both with PQA and with the YMCA Theatre in Scarborough. Highlights of my career so far include performing at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London's West End in The Lazy Ace. I am also represented by Quirky Kidz Creative Management and have been given many audition opportunities. I think performing arts has helped me improve my performance skills and also it has helped build my confidence a lot over the past few years.

Since growing and developing with PQA as a student, I am now working at PQA as the Academy Adminstrator for PQA York, PQA Beverley and PQA Hull. I am looking forward to seeing the amazing work that the talented students can do!
I am very excited to be a part of the PQA team and work with the students at PQA and see their talented work.

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Saturdays 09.45 - 13.00 & 13.45 - 17.00
Poppets 09.45 - 11.30 & 13.45 - 15.30

Huntington School
Huntington Road
YO32 9WT 

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