It all begins in January 2019 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.
Theatres with personal connections
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.
The star returns to the stage in Exeter 50 years after his first appearance.
Accessibly priced tickets will be available everywhere. All profits will benefit specific causes at each theatre.
A mixture of anecdote and acting
His intimate show is a mixture of anecdote and acting, including Tolkien, Shakespeare, others…and you the audience.
Ian told ArtsCulture: “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…’
“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.
Grateful for touring companies
“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.
At the Northcott 50 years ago
“I was last at the Northcott as Marlowe’s Edward II in 1969 so this return with my new one man show 50 years on is an appropriate part of my tour celebrating my 80th birthday. I’m pleased that all profits will support young and emerging artists from Exeter and thereabouts.”
Ambassador Theatre Group’s executive producer Adam Speers added: “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.
United by a passion for the arts
“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.”
IAN MCKELLEN ON STAGE is presented by Ambassador Theatre Group and directed by Sean Mathias.
For further information and tour map, pop over to the website for more details: www.ianonstage.co.uk
top image: Ian McKellen On State. Credit Oliver Rosser Feast Creative
(from a press release)