Sir Ian re­turns to Ed­in­burgh stage to mark his 80th birth­day with solo fes­ti­val show

The Herald - - NEWS - PHIL MILLER

AC­TOR Sir Ian Mckellen, known for his big-screen fame as Gan­dalf in Lord of the Rings as well as his Shake­spear­ian prow­ess on stage, is to re­turn to the Ed­in­burgh In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val next year.

Sir Ian will per­form in a new pro­duc­tion that marks his 80th birth­day.

It is part of a new 80-date UK tour which is also de­signed to raise funds for lo­cal the­atres and drama pro­vi­sion.

In Ed­in­burgh, this will in­clude rais­ing money for equip­ment and re­fur­bish­ment for the Leith Academy drama stu­dio.

He will also raise money for a bur­sary for a young per­son from Ed­in­burgh to study per­for­mance.

Ian Mckellen On Stage will play at Ed­in­burgh’s Assem­bly Hall from Au­gust 22 to 25 next year.

He 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 evening 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.”

He added: “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.

“At the Ed­in­burgh In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val in 1969 I played Ed­ward II and Richard II to­gether at the Assem­bly Hall.

“My re­turn is a chance to re­mem­ber the old days and reprise Shake­speare and oth­ers.”

The pro­duc­tion of Ed­ward II was rad­i­cal in its por­trayal of the monarch’s ho­mo­sex­ual re­la­tion­ships, “chal­leng­ing pub­lic prej­u­dice of the time and pro­vok­ing con­tro­versy in a ground-break­ing mo­ment for the In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val,” the EIF said.

Sir Ian, who was born in Burnley and who grew up in Wi­gan and Bolton, re­turned to the In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val through­out the 1970s, most no­tably with his newly formed co­op­er­a­tive, The Ac­tors’ Com­pany, in 1972.

Per­for­mances of Rul­ing the Roost and ‘Tis A Pity She’s A Whore fea­tured Sir Ian and Felic­ity Ken­dal in sup­port­ing roles as a page and a maid, al­low­ing fel­low com­pany mem­bers to take the star­ring roles.

Sir Ian has had a var­ied and lauded ca­reer on stage and screen.

He gained renown for his Shake­spear­ian per­for­mances, in­clud­ing as Richard II, Macbeth, Co­ri­olanus, Iago, Richard III (also on film) and most re­cently as King Lear.

Mckellen has also made pop­u­lar films: he por­trayed Mag­neto in the X-men films and Gan­dalf in Tolkien’s Mid­dle Earth films.

He won his first Os­car nom­i­na­tion as Best Ac­tor, as the film di­rec­tor James Whale, in Bill Con­don’s 1998 Gods and Mon­sters. He has also starred in The Da Vinci Code, Mr Holmes, and Beauty and the Beast.

His tele­vi­sion work stretches from Rasputin to Coro­na­tion Street, from Ex­tras with Ricky Ger­vais to Vi­cious with Derek Ja­cobi.

„ Sir Ian Mckellen’s new tour is de­signed to raise funds for lo­cal the­atres and drama pro­vi­sion through­out the coun­try.„ The ac­tor ap­peared in Richard II in Ed­in­burgh in 1969. „ Sir Ian on­stage at the Ed­in­burgh In­ter­na­tional Fes­ti­val in 1969.

„Sir Ian with Felic­ity Ken­dal in ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore in 1972.

„ The ac­tor has had a var­ied and suc­cess­ful ca­reer on stage and screen.

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