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Birds of a Feather star flocks to young talent

PUBLISHED: 15:58 21 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:16 11 August 2010

Photo must be credited: ©Sven Arnstein/Stay Still Ltd

ref: C848
Please agree fee before use Tel: 020 7922 1313

Photo must be credited: ©Sven Arnstein/Stay Still Ltd ref: C848 Please agree fee before use Tel: 020 7922 1313

©Sven Arnstein/Stay Still Ltd

TO THOUSANDS of fans she will forever be Sharon from Birds of a Feather - but these days Pauline Quirke is playing a very different role – nurturing young talent. The first Pauline Quirke Academy opened last year, and her academy in Loughton,opened in Feb

TO THOUSANDS of fans she will forever be Sharon from Birds of a Feather - but these days Pauline Quirke is playing a very different role - nurturing young talent.

The first Pauline Quirke Academy opened last year, and her academy in Loughton,opened in February.

Pauline always personally attends the Open Day where parents can take their young hopefuls to get a feel of what the academy is all about.

Speaking to the POST, Pauline said: "I want to give kids something fun to do, and take the pressure out of what can be a very competitive environment.

"I don't want them agonising for hours about their lines, and obsessing over whether they get the lead in a production.

"There are kids in this world who get picked, and those who don't - I know because my daughter never got the lead roles, and my son always did.

"It can seem very unfair and demoralising to the quiet, shy kids who don't always stick their hands up and say 'pick me.'"

There are no auditions for the academy, and children of all abilities are welcome to attend.

Pauline explained: "Some of the youngsters do want to be famous and have an acting career, but they are usually the older ones.

"The little ones don't worry about that sort of thing, and it isn't what we offer at the academy.

"I will always do my best to help those who want to go further, and put them in contact with agents etc.

"I have been in the business for 40 years now so I know a few people!"

At the moment Pauline is not working on any television projects as the academy takes up most of her time.

She said: "I've been very busy in the office doing a lot of envelope-stuffing. They don't let me do anything too important around here - which is probably for the best!

"I'm no good with the computer stuff, we recently set up a website which I had nothing to do with."

Pauline's daughter works on the set of TV's Casualty and her son was recently in an episode.

"I was down at the set - I was so proud I thought I was going to explode.

"I love murder mysteries, and my daughter worked on one starring Danny Dyer, it's out this May Bank Holiday so I'll be watching that.

"I remember when my mum watched anything I was in, she said my name always seemed bigger than the other credits - of course it wasn't!"

Pauline stays in close contact with her old cast members; she and co-star, Linda Robson have been friends since they were aged five at school together.

Pauline said: "We grew up together and were both from Irish families, so we had that in common."

The Pauline Quirke Academy in Willingale Road, Loughton, features comedy-drama, musical theatre, and film and television. For more information about the Pauline Quirke Academy visit: www.pqacademy.com


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