celebrating a very big birthday
Sir Ian McKellen starts an 80-date solo tour somewhat close to home
Scan down the list of theatres on Sir Ian McKellen’s forthcoming tour in celebration of his 80th birthday and it seems there’s barely an area of the country the actor won’t be gracing.
His recently announced solo show is scheduled for 80 stages across the UK, including dates in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, rural England and a sizeable slew in London.
The run will start with two nights on the Isle Of Dogs, however – walking distance from the Limehouse resident’s home in Narrow Street.
Sir Ian has a long association with The Space arts centre in Westferry Road, having been involved with the venue since the former church was converted into its present form in the 1990s.
“The Space is my local theatre and the first stop on my tour of London with a new solo show involving Tolkien, Shakespeare, others and you – the audience,” said Sir Ian.
“I am a patron of the Space and have been very fond of it, ever since I was involved with Robert Richardson’s initiative in saving this delightful Wee Free Church as an old and treasured asset on the Isle Of Dogs.
“All profits will benefit St Paul’s Arts Trust, providing community activities for people in Tower Hamlets and beyond.”
Sir Ian’s show is set to play at The Space on January 25 and 26 2019.
“The show starts with Gandalf and will probably end with an invitation to act with me on stage,” said Sir Ian.
“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.
“I have worked together for stage and screen with Sean Mathias, the director of my solo show, many happy times.”
Just as at The Space, proceeds from the shows will go to specific causes related to the 80 venues visited.
Also on the list in east London is Theatre Royal Stratford East, on March 10, while venues big and small in the capital will also play host including National Theatre (Lyttleton) on January 28, The Old Vic on February 17 and Hampstead Theatre on February 10.
Tickets, which are likely to sell quickly, can be booked through individual theatre websites.
Prices at The Space start at £30 or £15 for existing members of its Stargazer scheme.
Prices at Theatre Royal Stratford East start at £45.