Ipswich: BAFTA-winning Richard Ayoade will return to Ipswich for old school’s arts festival

Richard Ayoade as Dean Learner in Garth Marenghi's Darkplace Richard Ayoade as Dean Learner in Garth Marenghi's Darkplace

Thursday, May 22, 2014
3:48 PM

One of Ipswich’s most talented exports will be returning to the town next year to support his old school’s creative arts festival.

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Richard Ayoade, pictured on the far right, with some of the cast of The Tree House, the play he wrote, directed and acted in while at St Joseph's College, Ipswich.Richard Ayoade, pictured on the far right, with some of the cast of The Tree House, the play he wrote, directed and acted in while at St Joseph's College, Ipswich.

Richard Ayoade, who picked up the BAFTA for Best Male Performance in a Comedy Programme over the weekend, will visit St Joseph’s College’s 20th Creative and Performing Arts Festival in the summer of 2015.

The actor and writer spent seven years at the school when his family lived in Martlesham, and left for Cambridge University in 1995 to study law.

Michael Davey, his former English teacher at St Joseph’s, said he was an “extremely talented and esteemed” student, adding, “There was always a touch of brilliance about him.”

Not only did Ayoade perform well academically but he was a member of the creative writing club and produced his own play called The Tree House, as well as being chairman of the Birkfield Society for culture and arts.

The Tree House was about “teenage angst” and followed a group of teenagers who met in a tree house to discuss their woes.

“Some people would have found it pretentious,” said Mr Davey. “It was quite a precocious thing to do at that age but precocious in the right way.”

He added: “I would say he was a relatively reserved and quiet person, but everybody respected him. He was well known in his year for being a leader culturally.

“I’m extremely proud of him, the whole school is, and we have kept in touch over the years.

“I’ve shown some of the kids some of the essays he wrote because they were so good.

“He’s very down to earth, very real and very honest. I sent him a text on the night (of the BAFTAs) and he got back to me, he wasn’t too big to speak to his old English teacher. He also confirmed this week that he will support the school in any way we would like.”

Ayoade was the only child of a Nigerian father and Norwegian mother who met in London before moving to Suffolk.

His mother used to run a chocolate shop in Woodbridge.

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