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Bishop's Stortford student set to tread the boards at London drama school

A 16-year-old student from Bishop's Stortford is in the spotlight after securing a place at a prestigious drama school in London.

Lily Martin, who completed her GCSEs at Birchwood High School this summer, will be taking up a place at the Pauline Quirke Full-Time Academy for the Performing Arts in the capital from September after wowing judges at her audition earlier this year.

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

Lily Martin (15337614)
Lily Martin (15337614)

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

Lily, who is also a student at Pauline Quirke weekend academy in Stortford, said: "I'm really excited about joining Pauline Quirke's full-time drama school. I can't wait to be doing what I love every single day. I feel so lucky to have this opportunity. It feels like such a friendly and encouraging environment.

"My dream is to be on TV or films. I'd love to play a lead in a West End show too."

The academy is based in the original Poor School building in Pentonville Road, King's Cross, which closed in 2018 after three decades. It is just a stone's throw from where Pauline – whose TV credits also include Broadchurch, Emmerdale and The Sculptress – 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. Graduates include EastEnders stars Jessie Wallace and Ricky Groves and comic Zoe Lyons.

The first class of academy students, who joined in September 2018, are currently performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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