Ian McKellen takes one-man show to RSC, Birmingham Rep and Coventry Belgrade

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Ian McKellen

Ian McKellen is to celebrate his 80th birthday in 2019 by raising funds for theatres, with a new solo show which will play on 80 stages across the UK. Ian McKellen on Stage will visit the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon on Sunday 21 July. There will be two performances: one in the Swan Theatre at 2.30pm, and one in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at 7.30pm.

The legendary actor will also play The Belgrade Theatre, where his career started, appearing on Saturday, 20th April; and Birmingham Repertory Theatre on Friday, 21st and Saturday, 22nd June.

Celebrating 80 years, this intimate show is a mixture of anecdotes and acting, including Tolkien, Shakespeare, others…plus the audience will be invited to take part.

Ian has a long association with the Royal Shakespeare Company where his work has included title roles in Trevor Nunn’s productions of Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and King Lear.

All proceeds from the performances at the RSC will go towards the Company’s Stitch in Time campaign to restore and redevelop the RSC’s Costume Workshop.

The show will begin its journey around the UK with a tour of London. Then, across the country, Ian will visit theatres large and small with which he has personal connections and happy memories, including amateur groups he knew as a child and notable playhouses he has played in as a professional actor over the past half-century.

Ian McKellen said: “I’m celebrating my 80th birthday by touring a new solo show to theatres I know well and a few that I don’t. The show starts with Gandalf and will probably end with an invitation to act with me on stage. In-between there will be anecdotes and acting. I open at my local arts centre in January and end up by August in Orkney.

“Live theatre has always been thrilling to me, as an actor and in the audience. Growing up in Lancashire, I was grateful to those companies who toured beyond London and I’ve always enjoyed repaying that debt by touring up and down the country myself, with the RSC, the National Theatre, Prospect Theatre, the Actors’ Company, as well as with commercial productions.”

Tickets will go on sale:

Monday, 12th November, 10am to Artists Circle, Major Supporters and Patrons

Tuesday, 13th November, 10am to Members and Subscribers

Wednesday, 14th November, 10am to Public Booking

Box Office: 01789 331111, rsc.org.uk

See next week’s Herald newspaper for more on this story