The Hobbit star Ian McKellen is downing his staff and pointy blue hat at weekends to perform a series of special one-man shows. With support from ASB Bank, Sir Ian will tour to 11 New Zealand centres to raise funds to restore Christchurch’s earthquake-damaged Isaac Theatre Royal.
Sir Ian is currently in New Zealand reprising his Oscar-nominated Gandalf in The Hobbit films and, direct from the Miramar studios, he will spend his weekends in May and June performing Ian McKellen on Stage at local theatres around the country. He opens in Stratford on Saturday 5 May before heading to Palmerston North, Hamilton, Tauranga, Nelson, Auckland, Christchurch, Wanaka, Hastings, Wellington and Carterton.
Ian McKellen on Stage is a new show, devised in part by the audience. In this unique fundraiser, you can ask any question at all about Sir Ian's work and life, as he retraces his journey from the north of England to the West End of London, to Broadway, Hollywood and to Middle Earth.
There will be chat, reminiscence, gossip and performances from his Shakespeare and Tolkien repertoire – with maybe a song and a chance to act with him onstage!
"Basically it will be a party. Do come!" Sir Ian says.
ASB Bank has agreed to support the New Zealand wide shows so that all income goes directly to fund the repair Christchurch’s Isaac Theatre Royal – which was badly damaged in the series of 2011 earthquakes.
“The last time I was on stage in New Zealand was at the Isaac Theatre Royal in Waiting for Godot,” Sir Ian says. “I love this beautiful old theatre and want to help restore it as soon as possible.”
Sir Ian is at home on any stage, whether for the UK National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company or on tour worldwide in plays ancient and modern.
Since The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the X-Men movies, he has played in Strindberg, Beckett, Chekhov, Shakespeare, Mark Ravenhill, Eduardo De Filippo - and as Widow Twankey in the pantomime Aladdin. In New Zealand he has toured as King Lear and as Gogo in Waiting for Godot. On television he was most recently seen achieving his ambition to act in Coronation Street.