West End star's 'good luck' message for school's Beauty and the Beast cast

Broadway star Gavin Lee, who sent a good luck message to Farlingaye pupils

Broadway star Gavin Lee, who sent a good luck message to Farlingaye pupils (pictured in 2012) - Credit: Archant

Students staging a special production of Disney fairytale Beauty and the Beast received a boost from a West End star and former pupil of their school. 

Former Farlingaye High School pupil Gavin Lee, 50, surprised the 100-strong cast and crew with a good luck message on video as they prepared to take to the stage at Seckford Theatre in Burkitt Road, Woodbridge. 

Mr Lee, who was born in the town, is currently portraying Lumiere in Beauty and the Beast in the West End and he was joined by other members of his cast for his video message. 

Students from Farlingaye High School in their dress rehearsal of Beauty and the Beast at the Seckfor

Students from Farlingaye High School rehearse for their performances of Beauty and the Beast at the Seckford Theatre. - Credit: Archant

The school’s head of drama Pippa Parks said: “He surprised the whole cast with a video from himself, Sam Bailey and all of the West End cast of Beauty and the Beast to wish our cast ‘good luck.’ Such a treat for the students who have worked so hard.” 

The shows took place from April 6-8 and involved a cast of 50, along with a band of 24 school musicians. 

All the costumes, scenery and props were all either donated, already in the school’s costume cupboard or sourced from charity shops. 

A particular emphasis was placed on environmental sustainability during the production, with all sets, props and costumes being either completely handmade, created using recycled materials or bought from charity shops, borrowed or donated. 

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The school has been promoting environmental consciousness and is opposed to the so-called ‘fast fashion’ industry. 

As well as the current Beauty and the Beast production, Mr Lee has also appeared as Bert in Mary Poppins in the West End and on Broadway and as Squidward Tentacles in the Broadway production of Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical. 

He also reprised his Mary Poppins role in front of then US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at Ford’s Theatre in Washington DC in June 2010.