IT was a case of ‘voilà’ as actor Poirot actor David Suchet officially opened his old school’s new performing arts venues.

He was visiting Wellington School, where he was a student in the 1960s, where he revisited his schoolboy haunts and worked with upper school drama students.

Mr Suchet, 63, said: “So much has changed and it’s so exciting, but I walk into the Chapel or see the playing fields and I go straight back to being that boy.

“I can still hear the rugby boots crunching on the gravel.”

Mr Suchet is vice president of the school’s Performing Arts Appeal, which has spent years raising £450,000 to provide top class performing arts facilities for the students as well as the local community.

He opened the refurbished Great Hall, which will be a performing arts venue, and the smaller, flexible Southside Theatre.

Mr Suchet had a special hug for Sue Storr and Kate Trewhella, widow and daughter of his fondly remembered English teacher Joe Storr, who set him on the path to acting when he cast him as Macbeth in the school play.

Earlier, he delighted Year 10 and A level drama students when he worked with them in Southside.

Mr Suchet said: “When I came to Wellington I found kindness and warmth for the first time.”

He had a natural reading ability and when Mr Storr asked him to play Macbeth, it was the start of an acting career that made him a household name.

He said: “I don’t think I would ever have had the confidence and the chance to branch out into drama. With encouragement and nurture you grow, and that’s what this school did for me.”