Sir Ian McKellen coming to two Norwich theatres to celebrate 80th birthday

Sir Ian McKellen coming to two Norwich theatres to celebrate 80th birthday

Acting great Sir Ian McKellen to make Ballymena stage debut

The actor is set to perform at 80 venues across the UK to mark the occasion, including the Maddermarket Theatre and Norwich Playhouse.

The solo show is called Tolkien, Shakespeare, others…and you! and will be a mix of anecdote and acting, celebrating his countless roles including Gandalf in Lord of the Rings.

The show begins in January 2019 with a tour of London and is coming to the Maddermarket on Friday, March 29 to Saturday, March 30.

Ian made a special request to perform at the venue as he was intrigued by the Shakespearean history of the theatre.

Nugent Monck set up the Norwich Players in 1911, following a successful career in London, and after the First World War he created an Elizabethan style theatre in a converted Catholic Chapel.

The first show at the Maddermarket was As You Like It in September 1921 and by 1933, Monck had achieved his ambition for the group to perform all 37 of his plays.

Sir Ian McKellan will be back again in the city on April 24 to 25 for his debut performance at the Norwich Playhouse.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know ahead of the Norwich Christmas lights switch-onGrowing up in Lancashire, I was grateful to those companies who toured beyond London and Ive always enjoyed repaying that debt by touring up and down the country myself.

Ive always been intrigued by the Maddermarket and its pioneering approach to Shakespeare and am delighted to be at The Playhouse for the first time raising funds for ongoing work with older people at Norwich Playhouse, Theatre Royal and Stage Two.

McKellen last appeared at the Theatre Royal in the critically-acclaimed Waiting For Godot in 2009 opposite Patrick Stewart, Simon Callow and Ronald Pickup, and is also a former patron of the theatre.

Stephen Crocker, chief executive of Norwich Theatre Royal, added: Ian McKellen is a legend in every sense of the word not just through his acting career on stage and screen but also his passionate commitment to championing various causes, particularly working with younger people.

Tickets for both shows cost £45 and for the Maddermarket go on sale to friends of the theatre at 10am on Friday, November 9 and general sale at 10am on Friday, November 16.

READ MORE: Owner of Cafe Britannia set to takeover Norwich pubYou can purchase tickets for Maddermarket Theatre online or by the box office on 01603 620917 and they will also be running a £10 ticket ballot for students and unwaged with more details to be announced.

Tickets to Norwich Playhouse go on sale at 10am on November 9, with a limit of two per person, and a proportion of tickets will be held-off sale for Playhouse regulars in mid-November.

Sir Ian McKellen, is set to appear in Ballymena – where his great-great-grandfather, James McKellen, was a strict, evangelical Protestant preacher – as part of an 80-date tour of the UK.

The renowned actor will celebrate turning 80 next May with a tour of his On Stage show – taking in Belfasts Lyric Theatre on July 25-26, the Waterside Theatre in Londonderry on July 27, Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena on July 29, and Newtownabbeys Theatre at the Mill on July 31 and August 1.

He said: “James McKellen left Ballymena in 1840; since then our family have been settled in England but I very much wanted to discover my roots during my UK tour celebrating my 80th birthday. Its high time I made my debut here raising funds to support the work at The Braid.”

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