Ian McKellen, theatrical knight, national treasure and renowned movie wizard Gandalf, has conjured up £250,000 for London’s Park Theatre after putting on a magical one-man show at the Finsbury Park venue.
Shakespeare, Tolkien, Others & You ran for nine performances last week, directed by Park Theatre’s artistic director Jez Bond.
Guiding audiences through some of the most exciting pages and stages of the last fifty years, audiences were given a rare chance to see the multi-award winning and twice Oscar nominated actor perform excepts from his favourite works.
The production was also accompanied by a never before seen exhibition of iconic posters, paintings and photographs from Sir Ian’s plays and films, with a number of pieces for sale.
Earlier today Jez Bond said: “As a result of Sir Ian McKellen’s generosity and the incredible worldwide interest in the performance, the fundraiser has brought in a staggering £250,000.
“As a charity that’s not in receipt of public funding, this is a vital injection of cash which will enable us to increase our financial reserves and designate a pot of money from which to produce more in-house work, continuing to provide accessible and affordable theatre for everybody as we move forward.
“We have been overwhelmed by the public response, and also by the generosity of Ian. Making every effort to ensure that we maximised the fundraising potential for that week, the gruelling schedule he undertook is a true testament to his character.”
Sir Ian is one of Park Theatre’s key ambassadors and champions its work. During the intensive week of shows he reprised some of his renowned performances, from Gandalf to Macbeth.
Audiences then had a Q & A and even participated in the performance, as well as hearing Sir Ian discuss his work with other notable actors and directors.
Jez added: “As one of our country’s leading actors, there is no-one better placed to understand both the power and importance of smaller scale theatres and the challenges they face.
“Ian has been a staunch supporter since the building was a hard-hat site – and I continue to be grateful for and humbled by his incredible generosity”.
Sir Ian McKellen said: “In a short time the theatre has established itself on both the theatrical and local maps.
“But, with no public subsidy for core costs, they need to bring in donations of around £250,000 every year just to keep the doors open.
“The monies raised from the higher ticket prices for this production will support their core ambition of producing accessible theatre throughout the coming years and furthering their work with the local community”.