He will celebrate his actual birthday on a stage in his hometown

Most people celebrate with family, perhaps some close friends, presents, and good food. Sir Ian McKellen is redefining the birthday bash.

What’s he doing?

McKellan is celebrating his 80th birthday with a tour of 80 theatres, raising money for a raft of local projects.

The show is called Tolkien, Shakespeare, Others And You and visits 80 theatres that have a special place in McKellan’s life.

What does he say about it?

He said in a press release: “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 RSC, the National Theatre, Prospect Theatre, the Actors’ Company, as well as with commercial productions.”

Where are the venues?

The full list of venues is here and below, and many have a personal connection to McKellan.

He opens at Space, his local theatre in east London, and ends at the National Theatre where he has starred many times.

Also on the tour is the Bristol Old Vic, Swansea Grand, Belfast Lyric, and Edinburgh Assembly Hall.

He will perform on his birthday in his hometown of Bolton at Albert Halls theatre on May 25.

January 25-26, 2019 The Space, London
January 28, 2019 National Theatre, Lyttelton, London
January 30, 2019 Young Vic, London
February 03, 2019 Bridge Theatre, London
February 04, 2019 Richmond Theatre, London
February 06, 2019 Above The Stag Theatre, London
February 10, 2019 Hampstead Theatre, London
February 11, 2019 Arts Theatre, London
February 12-13, 2019 Theatre Royal, Windsor
February 17, 2019 Old Vic, London
February 19, 2019 to 20-Feb-19 Bristol Old Vic, Bristol
February 21, 2019 Royal Court, London
February 24, 2019 to 25-Feb-19 The Queens Theatre, London
February 26, 2019 RADA, (Students only) London
March 01, 2019 Donmar Warehouse, (Students only) London
March 03, 2019 Lyric Hammersmith, London
March 04, 2019 Questors Ealin,g London
March 07, 2019 Duke of York’s Theatre, London
March 08-09, 2019 Ipswich New Wolsey, Ipswich
March 10, 2019 Theatre Royal Stratford, East London
March 13, 2019 Swansea Grand Theatre, Swansea
March 14-15, 2019 Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth
March 16, 2019 The Hafren, Newtown
March 18-19, 2019 Theatr Clwyd, Mold
March 24, 2019 Theatre Royal, Bath
March 29-30, 2019 Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich
April 02, 2019 The Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone
April 05, 2019 Chichester Minerva Theatre, Chichester
April 12-13, 2019 Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds
April 14, 2019 Royal & Derngate, Northampton
April 17-18, 2019 Colchester Mercury, Colchester
April 20, 2019 Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
April 24-25, 2019 Norwich Playhouse, Norwich
April 27-28, 2019 St George’s Guildhall, King’s Lynn
April 30-01, 2019 Oxford Playhouse, Oxford
May 03-04, 2019 Jersey Opera House, Jersey
May 06, 2019 Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury
May 07-08, 2019 Cheltenham Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
May 10-11, 2019 Cambridge Arts Theatre, Cambridge
May 13-14, 2019 Wigan Little Theatre, Wigan
May 15, 2019 The Forum Theatre Romiley, Stockport
May 17-18, 2019 Liverpool Playhouse, Liverpool
May 19, 2019 Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry
May 20, 2019 Blackpool Grand, Blackpool
May 25, 2019 Albert Halls Theatre, Bolton
May 28, 2019 The Dukes, Lancaster
May 30, 2019 Sheffield Crucible, Sheffield
May 31, 2019 Buxton Opera House, Buxton
June 01, 2019 Curve Theatre, Leicester
June 03, 2019 Sheffield Crucible, Sheffield
June 04, 2019 Theatre Royal, Wakefield
June 05-06, 2019 HOME, Manchester
June 09, 2019 Forum Theatre, Billingham ,Stockton-on-Tees
June 11, 2019 The Civic, Barnsley
June 12, 2019 CAST, Doncaster
June 14, 2019 The Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond
June 16, 2019 Hull New Theatre, Hull
June 17, 2019 Grand Opera House, York
June 21-22, 2019 Birmingham Rep, Birmingham
June 25-26, 2019 Nottingham Playhouse, Nottingham
June 27-28, 2019 Cardiff New Theatre, Cardiff
July 01, 2019 Northcott Theatre, Exeter
July 02, 2019 Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre For The Arts, Poole
July 03, 2019 Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis
July 05, 2019 The Watermill Theatre, Newbury
July 09, 2019 Princess Theatre, Torquay
July 15, 2019 to 18-Jul-19 Theatre Royal, Brighton
July 21, 2019 RST & Swan Theatre, Stratford upon Avon
July 25-26, 2019 Lyric, Belfast
July 27, 2019 Waterside, Derry
July 29, 2019 The Braid Arts Centre, Ballymena
July 31-01, 2019 Theatre at The Mill, Newton Abbey
August 09, 2019 Dundee Rep Theatre, Dundee
August 11, 2019 Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Pitlochry
August 12, 2019 Eden Court, Inverness
August 14, 2019 Tivoli, Aberdeen
August 18, 2019 Newcastle Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne
August 20, 2019 Theatre by the Lake, Keswick
August 22, 2019 to 25-Aug-19 Assembly Hall, Edinburgh
August 28, 2019 Orkney Arts Theatre, Orkney
September 15, 2019 National Theatre, Olivier, London


Apart from it being his 80th birthday, profits will be donated to local causes at each theatre.

This article first appeared in iNews on November 13, 2018, and has been reposted with permission.

This post was written by the author in their personal capacity.The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of The Theatre Times, their staff or collaborators.

This post was written by Simon Rushton.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.