Sir Ian McKellen has marked his 80th birthday with a special show for 80 octogenarians
The one-off free performance for 80 people aged 80 and their guests at the Norwich Playhouse earlier this week was staged with the help of local newspaper group Archant, the Playhouse, Theatre Royal and Stage Two.
McKellen is currently criss-crossing the UK with his one-man show which aims to raise money for local theatre’s.
The show – Ian McKellen On Stage – With Tolkien, Shakespeare, others and YOU is a mix of acting and anecdotes from his life on the stage.
One of the 80-year-olds who went to the show, Annella Youngman, of Coltishall, Norfolk, said: “It was absolutely wonderful.”
Stephen Crocker, chief executive of the Theatre Royal, which helped organise the event, said: “It has been absolutely fantastic. I am fairly certain the Playhouse must be floating about four inches above the ground with the excitement.”
Sir Ian said: “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.”
McKellen’s celebrated career encompasses genres ranging from Shakespearean and modern theatre to popular television and to fantasy and science fiction films including Magneto in the X-Men films, and Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
The actor turns 80 on 25 May, when he will be playing on his home turf in Lancashire.
The production will also include a West End season running from 20 September 2019 until 5 January 2019 at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London.