TV star tells of Suffolk academy plan

SCREEN star Pauline Quirke hopes the launch of her new Suffolk drama academy will not just be about a route to fame and fortune for ambitious children.

Will Clarke

SCREEN star Pauline Quirke hopes the launch of her new Suffolk drama academy will not just be about a route to fame and fortune for ambitious children.

Ms Quirke, who is no stranger to fame herself as one half of hit show Birds of a Feather, was in Bury St Edmunds on Saturday for a taster session for the academy, which starts in May.

She immediately put the large group of youngsters, who had gathered at St Benedict's Upper School, at ease with an informal talk about the Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts.

She told the group of all ages she wanted the classes to be about having fun and not about fame and the pressure of learning lines.

The self-confessed telly addict said she wanted the drama to get away from television fame competitions, which can pressurise children.

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She explained: “As a parent I know there is a lot of pressure on children. I have two children - the eldest, who is now a wonderful rounded adult, was the kind of child who never got picked for anything. But the other is different he has been head boy and he has been in all the teams.

“I hope the academy has something for both kinds of children of all abilities by developing children at the front of class and giving those children who hide at the back of the class confidence.”

Lynne Kentish, who has been performing for 35 years and will be leading the academy in Bury, said: “I'm really excited about the launch of the academy and I'm delighted to be able to offer children in the area a whole new experience in performing arts.

“The academy gives children the chance to get involved with all areas of performing arts - from dancing, singing and theatre to comedy and television. But at its core, it is designed to help children gain confidence, make friends and have fun.”

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