THE aspiring West End stars of tomorrow had their first taste of the limelight recently when they took to the stage of the Shaftesbury Theatre in London.

The pupils, all members of Birds of a Feather star Pauline Quirke's performing arts academy in Swindon, dazzled theatre-goers with their performance of The Lazy Ace.

As part of PQA’s curriculum, the students have the opportunity to perform at Shaftesbury Theatre London, and get to experience the thrill and buzz of performing on a West End Stage

The Lazy Ace is a musical comedy set on the glitzy, glamorous Las Vegas Strip in the 1950s. Detective Chip Buddy is in search of a card shark known as The Lazy Ace amongst the hustle and bustle of the casino scene. The pupils had the freedom to be as imaginative and creative with their parts of the show as they liked, from the casting, staging and choreography.

Dee Thompson, principal of PQA Swindon said: “The students should be so proud of all their hard work leading up to the show. Their professionalism, their confidence on stage and how their lines were delivered to perfection resembles the highest West End Stage performer.

"Above all the students had fun and absolutely loved performing to a sell-out crowd.”

With another six performances of The Lazy Ace scheduled for this year, PQA students are expected to continue to take the West End by storm.

PQA is a weekend performing arts academy providing tuition for children and young people from 4-18 years. Student spends three hour rotating through hour-long sessions in comedy and drama, musical theatre and film and television. Students are split into groups according to their age and are taught by specialist teachers. PQA was started by actress Pauline Quirke and her producer husband Steve Sheen in 2007 with an academy in their local town Beaconsfield. This proved to be a very successful venture and led to further openings over the years now totalling over 160 Academies nationwide.