Ian McKellen celebrates 80th with major UK tour of one-man show

Ian McKellen On Stage. Image Oliver Rosser.

Ian McKellen is to celebrate his 80th birthday next year by raising funds for theatres, with a new solo show which will play on 80 stages across the UK.

It all begins in January with a Tour of London from the National Theatre to the Theatre Royal Stratford East, as well as performances in the West End and Outer London.

Then, across the country, he will visit theatres large and small with which he has personal connections, including amateur groups he knew as a child and notable playhouses he has played in as a professional actor over the last half-century.

All profits from the tour will benefit specific causes at each theatre.

His intimate show is a mixture of anecdote and acting, including Tolkien, Shakespeare, others…and questions from the audience.

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 National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Prospect Theatre, the Actors’ Company, as well as with commercial productions.

“Sean Mathias, the director, and I have worked together for stage and screen, many happy times.”

Executive producer Adam Speers, from the Ambassador Theatre Group, which is producing the tour, said: “ATG is proud to be presenting Ian McKellen On Stage and is committed to supporting regional touring.

“The UK’s regional venues are integral in supporting and developing artists and practitioners across all areas of the theatre, both on and off stage.

“All of us in this industry are united by a passion for the arts and love of what we do and this special show is a rare and excellent opportunity to celebrate what’s best in our industry while at the same time celebrating one of its greatest actors and raising vital funds to keep the lifeblood of theatre in this country flowing.”

2019 UK Tour Dates

January 25-26, The Space, Isle of Dogs, London
January 28, National Lyttelton Theatre
January 30, Young Vic

February 3, Bridge Theatre, London
February 4, Richmond Theatre
February 6, Above The Stag Theatre, London
February 10, Hampstead Theatre
February 11, Arts Theatre
February 12-13, Theatre Royal, Windsor
February 17, The Old Vic
February 19-20, Bristol Old Vic
February 22, Royal Court Theatre, Chelsea
February 24-25, The Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch
February 26, RADA Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre, SPECIAL PERFORMANCE FOR STUDENTS ONLY.

March 3, Lyric Hammersmith
March 4, The Questors, Judi Dench Playhouse, Ealing
March 7, (Mat & Eve), Duke of York’s Theatre, London
March 8-9, New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich
March 10, Theatre Royal Stratford East
March 13, Swansea Grand Theatre
March 14-15, Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth University
March 16, The Hafren, Newtown, Powys
March 18-19, Theatr Clwyd, Mold
March 24, Theatre Royal Bath
March 29-30, Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

April 2, The Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone, Kent
April 5, Chichester Minerva Theatre
April 12-13, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds
April 14 Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton
April 17-18, Mercury Theatre, Colchester
April 20, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
April 24-25, Norwich Playhouse
April 27-28, King’s Lynn Shakespeare Festival St George’s Guildhall
April 30 – May 1, Oxford Playhouse

May 3-4, Jersey Opera House
May 6, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
May 7-8, Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
May 10-11, Cambridge Arts Theatre
May 13-14, Little Theatre, Wigan
May 15, The Forum Theatre, Stockport
May 17-18, Liverpool Playhouse
May 19, Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry
May 20, Blackpool Grand
May 23, Burnley Youth Theatre
May 25, The Albert Halls Theatre, Bolton
May 28, The Dukes, Lancaster
May 31, Buxton Opera House

June 1-2, Leicester Curve Theatre
June 3, Sheffield Crucible
June 4, Theatre Royal Wakefield
June 5-6, HOME Manchester
June 9, Forum Theatre, Stockton-on-Tees
June 11, The Civic, Barnsley
June 12, CAST, Doncaster
June 14, The Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond, Yorks
June 16, New Theatre, Hull
June 17, Grand Opera House, York
June 21-22, Birmingham Repertory Theatre
June 25-26, Nottingham Playhouse
June 27-28, New Theatre, Cardiff

July 1, Exeter Northcott Theatre
July 2, Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre For The Arts
July 3, Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis
July 5, The Watermill Theatre, Newbury
July 15-19, Theatre Royal Brighton
July 21, Royal Shakespeare Theatre & Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
July 25-26, Belfast Lyric Theatre
July 27, Waterside Theatre, Londonderry
July 29, The Braid Arts Centre, Ballymena
July 31 – August 1, Theatre at the Mill, Newtonabbey

August 9, Dundee Rep Theatre
August 11, Pitlochry Festival Theatre
August 12, Eden Court, Inverness
August 14, Aberdeen Tivoli
August 18, Newcastle Theatre Royal
August 20, Theatre by the Lake, Keswick
August 22-25, Edinburgh International Festival
August 28, The Orkney Theatre, Kirkwall

September 15, The National Olivier Theatre, London.

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