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Sir Ian McKellen to celebrate 80th birthday with 80-date tour

The tour will be raising funds for each theatre Sir Ian McKellen visits on a huge 80-date tour in celebration of a landmark birthday.

Sir Ian McKellen to celebrate 80th birthday with 80-date tour

Sir Ian McKellen has announced a huge tour to celebrate his 80th birthday next year, visiting theatres around the UK from January to August on an 80-date tour.

The veteran actor will be hosting a solo show to raise funds for theatres, sharing anecdotes and famous scenes from his legendary career, as well as inviting members of the audience to join him on stage and act together. The show will see McKellen get started at his local theatre The Space, in London in January, carrying on to grand theatres, pub venues, drama schools, small arts centres and more, many of which have a personal connection for the actor. 

Dates include Coventry's Belgrade Theatre, where McKellen had his first professional job ("I stayed a year, on £8.50 a week"), the Cambridge Arts Theatre where he acted as an undergraduate and Wigan Little Theatre, where he saw his first Shakespeare production as a child. 

The show will be tailored for each location as McKellen is sure to share stories of his connection to each venue, but also for the venues he hasn't visited before like Above The Stag Theatre in Lambeth, South London. "I wanted to make my debut at London's only LGBT+ theatre. I will include my memories of the first production of Martin Sherman's sensational Bent, words from Armistead Maupin and a few surprisingly gay characters in Shakespeare." 

McKellen's actual birthday, May 25th, will see the actor perform in Bolton, where he grew up and "discovered in its three professional theatres, a passion for acting, which has never faded. In the town hall, where my father was a borough engineer, I'll feel at home and grateful for all that Bolton nurtured in me."

Other famous theatres from McKellen's career won't be left out, with the National Theatre and the Duke of York, where he made his London debut in 1964. "It was a joy to return recently for 100 performances of King Lear - or rather 99 performances. We had to cancel one Saturday matinee after my left leg gave way while running to catch a train. Rather than send the audience home, I gave an impromptu solo show with the aid of walking stick.

Could that impromptu solo show have been what inspired McKellen's huge birthday celebration?

Tickets for the shows will be on sale from theatres, with proceeds benefiting each theatre themselves, from technical improvements to community outreach. On sale times are a different per venue with some available now. 

Ian McKellen's full tour dates are as follows: 

January 2019
25-26 Jan  - The Space, London
28 Jan -  National Theatre, Lyttelton, London
30 Jan -  Young Vic, London

February
3 Feb - Bridge Theatre, London
4 Feb - Richmond Theatre, London
6 Feb -  Above The Stag Theatre, London
10 Feb -  Hampstead Theatre, London
11 Feb -  Arts Theatre, London
12-13 Feb -  Theatre Royal Windsor 
17 Feb - Old Vic, London
19-20 Feb - Bristol Old Vic 
21 Feb - Royal Court London
24-25 Feb - The Queens Theatre, London
26 Feb - RADA (Students only), London

March
1 Mar - Donmar Warehouse (Students only), London
3 Mar - Lyric Hammersmith, London
4 Mar - Questors Ealing, London
7 Mar - Duke of York’s Theatre, London
8-9 Mar - Ipswich New Wolsey 
1 Mar - Theatre Royal Stratford, East London
13 Mar - Swansea Grand Theatre 
14-15 Mar - Aberystwyth Arts Centre 
16 Mar - The Hafren, Newtown
18-19 Mar - Theatr Clwyd Mold
24  Mar - Theatre Royal Bath 
29-30 Mar - Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

Ian McKellen will tour around the country for 80th Birthday

April
2 Apr - The Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone
5 Apr - Chichester Minerva Theatre 
12-13 Apr -Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds 
14 Apr - Royal & Derngate, Northampton
17-18 Apr - Colchester Mercury 
20 Apr - Belgrade Theatre Coventry 
24-25 Apr - Norwich Playhouse 
27-28 Apr - St George’s Guildhall, King’s Lynn
30 Apr-1 May - Oxford Playhouse 

May
3-4 May - Jersey Opera House 
6 May - Aylesbury Waterside Theatre 
7-8 May - Cheltenham Everyman Theatre 
10-11 May - Cambridge Arts Theatre 
13-14 May - Wigan Little Theatre 
15 May - The Forum Theatre, Romiley Stockport
17-18 May - Liverpool Playhouse 
19 May - Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry
20 May - Blackpool Grand 
25 May - Albert Halls Theatre, Bolton
28 May - The Dukes, Lancaster
31 May - Buxton Opera House 

June
1-2 Jun - Curve Theatre, Leicester
3 Jun - Sheffield Crucible 
4 Jun - Theatre Royal Wakefield 
5-6 Jun - HOME Manchester 
9 Jun - Forum Theatre Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees
11 Jun - The Civic, Barnsley
12 Jun - CAST, Doncaster
14 Jun - The Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond
16 Jun - Hull New Theatre 
17 Jun - Grand Opera House, York
21-22 Jun - Birmingham Rep
25-26 Jun - Nottingham Playhouse 
27-28 Jun - Cardiff New Theatre 

July
1 Jul - Northcott Theatre, Exeter
2 Jul - Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre For The Arts Poole
3 Jul - Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis
5 Jul - The Watermill, Theatre Newbury
9 Jul - Princess Theatre, Torquay
15-18 Jul - Theatre Royal Brighton 
21 Jul - RST & Swan Theatre, Stratford upon Avon
25-26 Jul - Lyric, Belfast
27 Jul - Waterside, Derry
29 Jul - The Braid Arts Centre, Ballymena
31 Jul-1 Aug - Theatre at The Mill, Newtonabbey

August
9 Aug - Dundee Rep Theatre, Dundee
11 Aug - Pitlochry Festival Theatre 
12 Aug - Eden Court, Inverness
14 Aug - Tivoli, Aberdeen
18 Aug - Newcastle Theatre Royal 
20 Aug - Theatre by the Lake, Keswick
22-25 Aug - Edinburgh International Festival 
28 Aug - Orkney Arts Theatre 

September
15 Sept - National Theatre, Olivier London

Written by
Kestra Walker
Monday 12th November 2018

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