Past students/ Pollys Alumni
I studied with Polly's former group in Paignton, The Torbay Acting Factory, for roughly ten years between the ages of six and sixteen. My parents knew from a very young age that I was going to be a performer when I could do impressions of other people's accents before I really even developed my own! This is why they sent me to Polly. Pollys classes kept my interest and passion for performing alive throughout the years I was there. Many performers lose their interest and passion for performing in their teen years however Pollys classes ensured that I did not fall off the wagon. She introduced me to the three disciplines: acting, singing and dancing. These are skills which I am currently training in at the Arts University in Bournemouth. I am studying a BA Honours in Acting. It was essential to develop these skills at a young age and Pollys classes were amazing. I am in my second year now, soon to be going into my third year where I will have to perform for agents and casting directors in my final showings and without Polly's classes I may not have had the skills to successfully audition for a physically and mentally demanding practical course. I am hoping to make a career for myself out of performing in the future and strongly believe that my time spent with Polly has helped to mould me into the person and performer I am today and will hopefully go on to be.
"Performing from a young age with the Acting Factory has given me a multitude of wonderful tools that I use every single day. I remember Polly fondly as friendly, inclusive and encouraging, always pushing you to try without fearing failure. Mostly, though, it is the self confidence (or at least the ability to fake it really well!), and the ability to improvise and think on my feet which have proved most useful for me in both my work and home life. I now perform for a living as a voiceover artist, and can be heard on anything from radio adverts to audiobooks."
Extra note: Will mentioned that he made lifelong friends through our group, and frequently visits L.A. where two (who are now married!) live.
I attended Polly's classes for about 5 years. My mum wanted to find an activity I would stick to and would help bring me out of my shell and gain confidence making friends. Well I think it's safe to say it did that! Polly was always so creative and encouraging and always gave everybody a fair chance and explored our talents and showcased them in a performance. I remember looking forward to the classes so much, not caring what I was wearing, who would be there, just knowing I would be in a safe, fun and friendly environment where I would be surrounded by friends. Since Polly's classes I have been working as a professional singer and entertainer consistently for 10 years. I have worked in holiday parks, hotels in the UK and overseas, and even a summer on a Nile Cruise. I have also found confidence in sales jobs, public speaking, managing teams of people which I know would have been very unlikely if I had taken a different path all those years ago. Polly is one of my best friends and also one of my biggest inspirations. Always has the kids' best interests at heart and has a sensitive caring nature with the upmost professionalism. I would highly recommend giving the classes a try for a term as it could change your/your child's life!
Lottie Frow Cole
I stumbled into acting, first in my hometown of Bristol, and then found Torbay Acting Factory shortly after moving to Devon. I attended classes with Polly for around 5 years. Although I was a bit of an introvert initially, Polly’s classes really helped me to come out of my shell! As well as classes being fun, creative and engaging, we would work towards a show or showcase, which gave focus to each class and an immense sense of pride for the students. I always looked forward to Saturdays and I really loved having a friendship group outside of my school friends. I made some lifelong friends who are still around a decade later, including my Husband, who I met at Torbay Acting Factory, which makes for a great ‘how did you meet’ story. After sixth form I was accepted into The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Los Angeles, California, where I currently live. Although I have ultimately decided to pursue a career in teaching, so many of the skills I learnt through acting classes remain relevant to me, such as creativity, confidence and the importance of teamwork.
(Stage name: Beth Lockhart)
Polly taught me at Torbay Acting Factory, from thirteen to seventeen years old. Everything from singing, dancing, improvisation, musical theatre, monologue training, audition practice, enhancing stage presence, vocal and physical technicality, (even my my first "stage kiss"!), Polly was the one who guided me through every step. Nine years later I have graduated from Rose Bruford College with a first class degree in "Acting" (yes, there is such a mad degree as this!!), signed with an agent, and am regularly auditioning for work- including the RSC and West-end Theatre503! And am about to embark on a new piece of theatre with award winning company "Pants on Fire" (October 2015). Polly's training gave me the confidence to pursue a career in acting, and take the first step by auditioning for drama school. I am grateful Polly never crushed my bouncing, loud, giggling, (occasionally disruptive!) spirit. She simply nurtured it. As a result of my sheer earnestness as a young actress, I used to fervently nod my head whilst speaking lines, and open my eyes so wide they almost popped! No matter how endearing and hilarious this probably was to all onlookers, Polly helped me become aware of the habit, and encouraged me to channel less energy through the nodding and more into the text! She even gave me an award for "most heart-felt performance"- recognising that my habits came out of something entirely positive, that I really meant what I was saying! In hindsight this is all very hilarious, but I honestly believe it shaped the actress I am today.
(Occasionally nodding-dog-Churchill-syndrome returns when I get a little too involved!) Whether you want to attend classes to train as an actress, or simply to boost confidence and meet others in an environment where it is OK to be fully yourself, you can be accepted and your individual strengths celebrated- Polly's classes are the ones to go to. Polly knows how to get the best out of young people, how to nurture skills and build vocal and physical technicality, and most importantly how to bring out the total madness and enjoyment in it all.
During the 10 years (from 6yrs-16yrs) I spent attending TAF I made a great many friends and have a fantastic selection of memories. However what I am most thankful for is the confidence I developed during that time. I can honestly say that the ability to communicate effectively is something I use every day in my university training, and has been fundamental in the successes I have experienced – and a lot of that I owe to TAF. Despite the fact that, sadly, I have found less time to participate in amateur dramatics over the years, Polly and TAF have made sure I will never let the skills I developed in drama go to waste, and I very much look forward to continuing to pursue amateur dramatics in the future!
James took many lead roles in our big shows such as Troy in High School Musical and Aladdin in Disneys Aladdin. He was also one of the few that got to dance level 10!
James is currently in his 3rd year and on the road to being a doctor.