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Preview: Ian McKellen on Stage at Newcastle Theatre Royal


Newcastle Theatre Royal will play host to Ian McKellen as he embarks upon a new solo show tour to celebrate his 8oth birthday.

Ian McKellen on Stage will play at 80 stages across the UK with proceeds from the Newcastle date going to support the Theatre Royal’s creative and development work with young people from the city and across the region.

This tour will see Ian – who last visited Newcastle Theatre Royal in 2016 when he played to packed out audiences in No Man’s Land - 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.

His intimate show is a mixture of anecdote and acting, including Tolkien, Shakespeare, others...and you the audience.
Ian McKellen says: “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.”

Having previously praised the Newcastle theatre as his favourite venue in the country, he added: “My first time at the Theatre Royal was 50 years ago as Richard II which I’ll reprise during my new solo show. I wanted to return not just because I have family in the area but because I have so many happy memories of playing in Grey Street. All profits will support the Theatre Royal’s work with young people from Newcastle and the North East.”

Philip Bernays, chief executive at Newcastle Theatre Royal said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Ian McKellen back to our stage with what is sure to be an extremely insightful and entertaining show. He has always been a keen and passionate supporter of what we are trying to do, not only on stage, but through our creative and development work with young people across North East region.”

Ambassador Theatre Group’s Executive Producer Adam Speers says: “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.” 

Ian McKellen on Stage plays Sunday 18 August 2019 at 7.30pm.  Tickets priced from £20.00 go on sale to Friends of the Theatre Royal at 9am on Sat 10 Nov and to the general public on Fri 16 Nov can be purchased at or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge).

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