Former Brentwood Ursuline Convent High School for Girls student to join drama school founded by BBC star Pauline Quirke

PUBLISHED: 12:02 19 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:02 19 August 2019

Former Brentwood student Elena Ring. Picture: Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts

Former Brentwood student Elena Ring. Picture: Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts


A 16-year-old Brentwood student has a lot to celebrate after securing a place at a prestigious full-time drama school in London.

Elena Ring, who was a pupil at Brentwood Ursuline Convent High School for Girls, Queen's Road, will be taking up a place at The Pauline Quirke Full-Time Academy for the Performing Arts in September after wowing the judges at her audition earlier this year.

Pauline Quirke, who is best known for her role as Sharon in the hit BBC sitcom Birds of a Feather, opened the school last September in response to high demand for further training from parents and students who attend the 175 PQA core academies, which are weekend performing arts schools across the UK, attended by more than 15,000 children.

The first class of students at the school that joined in September 2018 are currently performing at PQA Venues at Riddle's Court as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The full-time school offers 16-19-year-olds the opportunity to study performing arts for two years, at the end of which they will receive a OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma in Performing Arts (a Level 3 qualification), the equivalent to three A Levels.

Elena, who was also a student at the Pauline Quirke weekend academy in Wickford, said: "I am looking forward to being with people who like me have a passion for the performing arts and to be taught by people with the same passion.

"I can't wait to start.

"I want to sing, so musical theatre is something I want to do.

"I would love to record an album."

The academy is based in the original Poor School building in Pentonville Road, King's Cross, which closed after three decades, just a stone's throw from where Pauline herself went to school, and discovered acting at the age of nine.

The Poor School was founded by actor and director Paul Caister in 1986 as a lower-cost alternative to accredited drama schools and produced famous stars included Jessie Wallace, comic Zoe Lyons and Ricky Groves.

Pauline's team has completely renovated the building which now has a fully equipped in-house theatre and several large, high spec studio spaces.

Many of the teachers at the school have all performed in hugely successful West End shows, including dance and musical teacher Bree Smith who is currently in Book of Mormon in the West End.

Auditions for entry in September 2020 will take place in November, February, April, and June.

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