A TV actor officially opened his former school’s new state-of-the-art drama studio after months of delays due to reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) safety concerns. 

Farlingaye High School alumni Milo Parker, best known for playing Gerry Durrell in ITV’s The Durrells and Hugh Apiston in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, returned to his former school for the grand opening on Friday.  

The drama studio, which cost £35,000 to complete, is equipped with dance flooring, stage lighting and speakers, was completed last summer, before the nationwide crumbling concrete crisis left the building temporarily unusable. 

East Anglian Daily Times: The first production in the new drama studio was Macbeth. The first production in the new drama studio was Macbeth. (Image: Farlingaye High School)

Pippa Parks, head of drama at Farlingaye, said: “Despite losing two music rooms, recording studio, music practice rooms, and the drama studio due to RAAC, the Creative Arts Team still managed to maintain all our extracurricular clubs and rehearsals for our Upper School Production. 

“The drama studio opening was a wonderful event that the students, and Milo, really enjoyed and I am so proud to work in a school that values the Arts so highly.” 

The opening comes just weeks after Suffolk County Council announced 100% of the arts budget would be cut, something which has sparked bitter criticism across the county before a U-turn.

Mrs Parks said: “It is vital now more than ever that our young people can be creative and explore how to express themselves in a supportive and safe environment and we hope this new space will create that for our students.” 

East Anglian Daily Times: Milo Parker spoke to students in the newly opened drama studio.Milo Parker spoke to students in the newly opened drama studio. (Image: Farlingaye High School)

As well as cutting the ribbon, Parker took the opportunity to inspire the next generation of actors, delivering a careers talk to more than 200 students. 

The new studio was inaugurated by a Year 8 production of Macbeth.