POIROT – aka Wellington School old boy David Suchet – will be the guest of honour at the official opening of the school’s Southside theatre space and Great Hall on Thursday, January 14.

The popular actor, whose TV performance as Agatha Christie’s famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot earned him a 1991 BAFTA nomination, will conduct the grand opening in the school’s Great Hall at about 12.30pm.

Mr Suchet, now 63, was a student at the school in the 1960s and it was then that he was encouraged by his English teacher to play Macbeth in the school play – and he never looked back.

He went on to join the National Youth Theatre, went into repertory, and his career took off from there.

Mr Suchet, OBE, is Vice-President of the school’s Performing Arts Appeal, which has spent years fund-raising to provide top class performing arts facilities. It has now raised £450,000 and the new improvements are aimed to benefit not just the school but also the local community.

“We are thrilled that David Suchet will be visiting the school for the opening, and has supported this project which will greatly benefit the school and wider community,” said Martin Reader, headmaster of Wellington School.

The First Phase of improvements means that the Great Hall, built in 1922, has had a complete facelift and will now be used for drama and music – providing an excellent performing arts venue. Changes include full disabled access, a new entrance foyer, lighting gantry and new toilets.

The South Side Theatre, which Mr Suchet will be opening, sees the oldest part of the school transformed to provide a flexible theatre space with seating for 80, and a dedicated rehearsal and drama exam area.

The second phase of improvements in the future will see conversion of a school building into a new music school.