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Ian McKellen announces Exeter date in 80th birthday solo tour to support emerging artists

Ian McKellen On Stage promotional poster

Ambassador Theatre Group presents


Tolkien, Shakespeare, others …and you!

Ian McKellen is to celebrate his 8oth birthday next year by raising funds for theatres, with a new solo show which will play on 80 stages across the UK – including the Northcott on July 1.

It all begins in January 2019 with a Tour of London from the National Theatre to the Theatre Royal Stratford East, as well as performances in the West End and Outer London.

Then, across the country, he will visit theatres large and small with which he has personal connections, including amateur groups he knew as a child and notable playhouses he has played in as a professional actor over the last half-century.

The star returns to the stage in Exeter fifty years after his first appearance.

Accessibly priced tickets will be available everywhere. All profits will benefit specific causes at each theatre.

His intimate show is a mixture of anecdote and acting, including Tolkien, Shakespeare, others…and you the audience.

Ian McKellen said:

“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 National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Prospect Theatre, the Actors’ Company, as well as with commercial productions. Sean Mathias, the director and I have worked together for stage and screen, many happy times.

“I was last at the Northcott as Marlowe’s Edward II in 1969 so this return with my new one man show 50 years on is an appropriate part of my tour celebrating my 80th birthday. I’m pleased that all profits will support young and emerging artists from Exeter and thereabouts.”

Ambassador Theatre Group’s Executive Producer Adam Speers added:

“ATG is proud to be presenting IAN MCKELLEN ON STAGE and is committed to supporting regional touring. The UK’s regional venues are integral in supporting and developing artists and practitioners across all areas of the theatre, both on and off stage.

“All of us in this industry are united by a passion for the arts and love of what we do and this special show is a rare and excellent opportunity to celebrate what’s best in our industry while at the same time celebrating one of its greatest actors and raising vital funds to keep the lifeblood of theatre in this country flowing.” 

IAN MCKELLEN ON STAGE is presented by Ambassador Theatre Group and directed by Sean Mathias.

For further information and tour map, please see the website for more details:

To make a donation please visit:
Twitter: @exeternorthcott
Instagram: @exeternorthcott

This is a charity fundraising event and all monies will be put towards a new programme to support young and emerging artists from Exeter and the surrounding area.

Tickets cost £55

Those under 26: £15.  10% of tickets have been set aside for U26’s to purchase in person and by phone.

Ten per cent of the house at the Northcott (46 seats) will be set aside for people aged under 26 at a special price of £15.

U26s must book in person at the box office or over the telephone.



25-26 January 2019 | The Space 269 Westferry Road, Isle of Dogs, London E14 3RS

28 January 2019 | National Theatre, Lyttleton Upper Ground, Lambeth, London SE1 9PX

30 January 2019 | Young Vic 66 The Cut, Waterloo, London SE1 8LZ

3 February 2019 | Bridge Theatre 3 Potters Fields Park, London SE1 2SG

4 February 2019 | Richmond Theatre Little Green, Richmond, London TW9 1QJ

6 February 2019 | Above The Stag Theatre 72 Albert Embankment, Lambeth, London SE1 7TP
10 February 2019 | Hampstead Theatre Eton Ave, London NW3 3EU

11 February 2019 | Arts Theatre 6-7 Great Newport St, London WC2H 7JB

12-13 February 2019 | Theatre Royal Windsor 32 Thames St, Windsor SL4 1PS

17 February 2019 | The Old Vic The Cut, Lambeth, London SE1 8NB

19-20 February 2019 | Bristol Old Vic King Street, Bristol BS1 4ED

21 February 2019 | Royal Court Theatre Sloane Square, Chelsea London SW1W 8AS

24-25 February 2019 | The Queen’s Theatre Billet Ln, Hornchurch, London RM11 1QT

26 February 2019 | Jerwood Vanbrugh Theatre, RADA 62-64 Gower Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 6ED [SPECIAL PERFORMANCE FOR STUDENTS: NOT ON SALE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC]


3 March 2019 | Lyric Hammersmith Lyric Square, King St, Hammersmith, London W6 0QL

4 March 2019 | The Questors, Judi Dench Playhouse 12 Mattock Ln, Ealing, London W5 5BQ

7 March 2019 (Mat & Eve) | Duke of York’s Theatre St Martin’s Lane, London WC2N 4BG
8-9 March 2019 | Ipswich New Wolsey Civic Dr, Ipswich IP1 2AS

10 March 2019 | Theatre Royal Stratford East Gerry Raffles Square, London E15 1BN

13 March 2019 | Swansea Grand Theatre Singleton St, Swansea SA1 3QJ

14-15 March 2019 | Aberystwyth Arts Centre Aberystwyth University, Penglais Campus, Aberystwyth SY23 3DE

16 March 2019 | The Hafren Llanidloes Rd, Newtown, Powys SY16 4HU
18-19 March 2019 |Theatr Clwyd Raikes Ln, Mold CH7 1YA

24 March 2019 | Theatre Royal Bath Saw Close, Bath BA1 1ET

29-30 March 2019 | Maddermarket Theatre St Johns Alley, Norwich NR2 1DR

2 April 2019 | The Leas Cliff Hall The Leas, Folkestone, Kent CT20 2DZ

5 April 2019 | Chichester Minerva Theatre Oaklands Park, Chichester PO19 6AP

12-13 April 2019 | Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds Westgate St, Bury St Edmunds IP33 1QR

14 April 2019 | Royal & Derngate 19-21 Guildhall Rd, Northampton NN1 1DP

17-18 April 2019 | Colchester Mercury Mercury Theatre, Balkerne Gate , Colchester CO1 1PT

20 April 2019 | Belgrade Theatre Coventry Belgrade Square, Corporation St, Coventry CV1 1GS

24-25 April 2019 | Norwich Playhouse 42 – 58 St Georges St, Norwich NR3 1AB

27-28 April 2019 | King’s Lynn Shakespeare Festival St George’s Guildhall, 29 King St, Kings Lynn PE30 1HA

30 April – 1 May 2019 | Oxford Playhouse 11-12 Beaumont St, Oxford OX1 2LW

3-4 May 2019 | Jersey Opera House 3 Gloucester St, St. Helier, Jersey JE2 3QR

6 May 2019 | Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Exchange St, Aylesbury HP20 1UG

7-8 May 2019 | Cheltenham Everyman Theatre 7 – 10 Regent St, Cheltenham GL50 1HQ

10-11 May 2019 | Cambridge Arts Theatre 6 St Edward’s Passage, Cambridge CB2 3PJ

13-14 May 2019 | Wigan Little Theatre 44 Crompton St, Wigan WN1 3SL

15 May 2019 | The Forum Theatre The Precinct, Romiley, Stockport SK6 4EA

17-18 May 2019 | Liverpool Playhouse Williamson Square, Liverpool L1 1EL

19 May 2019 | Warwick Arts Centre University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL

20 May 2019 | Blackpool Grand 33 Church St, Blackpool FY1 1HT

23 May 2019 | Burnley Youth Theatre Queen’s Park Rd, Burnley BB10 3LB

25 May 2019 | The Albert Halls Theatre Victoria Square, Bolton BL1 1RU

28 May 2019 | The Dukes Moor Lane, Lancaster LA1 1QE

31 May 2019 | Buxton Opera House Water St, Buxton SK17 6XN

1-2 June 2019 | Curve Theatre, Studio 60 Rutland St, Leicester LE1 1SB

3 June 2019 | Sheffield Crucible 55 Norfolk St, Sheffield S1 1DA

4 June 2019 | Theatre Royal Wakefield Drury Ln, Wakefield WF1 2TE

5-6 June 2019 | HOME Manchester 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester M15 4FN

9 June 2019 | Forum Theatre Billingham Queensway, Stockton-on-Tees TS23 2LJ

11 June 2019 | The Civic Hanson St, Barnsley S70 2HZ

12 June 2019 | CAST Waterdale, Doncaster DN1 3BU

14 June 2019 | The Georgian Theatre Royal Victoria Rd, Richmond, Yorkshire DL10 4DW

16 June 2019 | Hull New Theatre Kingston Square, Hull HU1 3HF

17 June 2019 | Grand Opera House Clifford St, York YO1 9SW

21-22 June 2019 | Birmingham Repertory Theatre Broad St, Birmingham B1 2EP
25-26 June 2019 | Nottingham Playhouse Wellington Circus, Nottingham NG1 5AF

27-28 June 2019 | Cardiff New Theatre Park Pl, Cardiff CF10 3LN


1 July 2019 | Northcott Theatre Stocker Rd, Exeter EX4 4QB


2 July 2019 | Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre For The Arts, 21 Kingland Rd, Poole BH15 1UG

3 July 2019 | Marine Theatre Church St, Lyme Regis DT7 3QA
5 July 2019 | The Watermill Theatre Bagnor, Newbury RG20 8AE

15-18 July 2019 | Theatre Royal Brighton New Rd, Brighton BN1 1SD

21 July 2019 | Royal Shakespeare Theatre & Swan Theatre Waterside, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6BB
25-26 July 2019 | Lyric Theatre 55 Ridgeway St, Belfast BT9 5FB

27 July 2019 | Waterside Theatre Glendermott Rd, Derry/ Londonderry BT47 6BG

29 July 2019 | The Braid Arts Centre 1-29 Bridge Street, Ballymena BT43 5AE

31 July – 1 August 2019 | Theatre at the Mill Carnmoney Rd N, Mossley Mill, Newtonabbey BT36 5QA

9 August 2019 | Dundee Rep Theatre Tay Square, Dundee DD1 1PB

11 August 2019 | Pitlochry Festival Theatre Port Na Craig, Pitlochry PH16 5DR

12 August 2019 | Eden Court Bishops Rd, Inverness IV3 5SA

14 August 2019 | Aberdeen Tivoli 34-48 Guild St, Aberdeen AB11 6NB

18 August 2019 | Newcastle Theatre Royal 100 Grey St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6BR
20 August 2019 | Theatre by the Lake Lakeside, Lake Rd, Keswick CA12 5DJ

22-25 August 2019 | Edinburgh International Festival at Assembly Hall, Mound Pl, Edinburgh EH1 2LU

28 August 2019 | The Orkney Theatre Kirkwall Grammar School, The Meadows, Kirkwall, Orkney KW15 1QN

15 September 2019 | National Theatre, Olivier Upper Ground, Lambeth, London SE1 9PX



IAN MCKELLEN​​ first acted at school and with amateur groups in the north of England, here he was born and brought up. He attended Cambridge University and, since 1961, has worked non-stop in the British theatre. He has been leading man and produced plays, modern and classic, for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of Great Britain and in the West End of London.

In Shakespeare he has triumphed as Richard II, Macbeth (with Judi Dench), Coriolanus, Iago, Richard III (also on film) and most recently as King Lear. He was in the first of Martin Sherman’s sensational “Bent” and premieres of plays by Arnold Wesker, Peter Shaffer, Michael Frayn, Alan Ayckbourn and Mark Ravenhill. Of late he has been Widow Twankey in the Old Vic’s “Aladdin” pantomime and toured “Waiting for Godot” and “No Man’s Land” with Patrick Stewart. As Salieri in “Amadeus” he won every available award on Broadway. For over a decade, he toured his one-man show, “Acting Shakespeare”

McKellen is recognised worldwide as Magneto in the X-Men films and Gandalf in Tolkien’s Middle Earth films. He won his first Oscar nomination as Best Actor, as the gay film director James Whale, in Bill Condon’s 1998 classic “Gods and Monsters”. Since he has starred in The Da Vinci Code”, “Mr Holmes”, “Beauty and the Beast”, with “CATS” yet to come.

His television work stretches from “Rasputin” to “Coronation Street”, from “Extras” with Ricky Gervais to “Vicious” with Derek Jacobi. On the first ever Film On Four, McKellen was in Stephen Frears’ “Walter” and last year played “The Dresser” with Anthony Hopkins.

McKellen has been an innovator on the Internet, with one of the earliest official sites for an actor,, launched on September 1, 1997. In 1999 he began publishing a series of journal entries that evolved into one of the earliest non-technical blogs. His followings on social media connect more than 10 million fans.

In 1991, Sir Ian was knighted for services to theatre in UK. He was co-founder of Stonewall UK, which lobbies for legal and social equality for gay people. In 2008, the Queen appointed him Companion of Honour (CH), for his services to Drama and to Equality.

ATG PRODUCTIONS is committed to supporting and creating the very best in British theatre. This Autumn the Group will open the highly acclaimed and much anticipated West End transfer of “Caroline, or Change” starring Sharon D. Clark. Currently playing in the West End is a presentation with the Jamie Lloyd Company of “Pinter and the Pinter”, showcasing on an unprecedented scale the writer’s 20 short plays starring, amongst others, David Suchet, Tamsin Greig, Martin Freeman, Jane Horrocks, Myra Syall and Danny Dyer who appear across the season. These productions will be followed by a new production of Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5 the Musical” opening at the Savoy Theatre from January 2019.

Recent work includes the Chichester Festival Theatre’s “King Lear” starring Ian McKellen at the Duke of York’s Theatre; “Glengarry Glen Ross” at the Playhouse Theatre, starring Christian Slater; “Sunday in the Park with George” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford at the newly restored Hudson Theatre on Broadway; a new production of “Big Fish the Musical” starring Kelsey Grammer; the West End transfer of Robert Icke’s “Hamlet”, starring Andrew Scott and “Oresteia” starring Jessica Brown Findlay and Lia Williams in co-productions with the Almeida Theatre and Sonia Friedman Productions; and the London production of Tony Award-winning play by JT Rogers, “Oslo”, starring Toby Stephens and Lydia Leonard which opened at the National Theatre and then transferred directly to the Harold Pinter Theatre last year.

ATG Productions has a commitment to presenting high quality work across the UK. In 2019 ATG will open national tours of “Abigail’s Party” starring Jodie Prenger, Daniel Casey and Vicky Binns as well as “Glengarry Glen Ross” starring Mark Benton and Nigel Harman. Recent touring plays include “Strangers on a Train”, Victorian thriller “Gaslight”, starring Kara Tointon, Keith Allen and Rupert Young, Noël Coward’s comedy “Private Lives”, starring Tom Chambers and Charlotte Ritchie and “East Is East” starring Pauline McLynn. Recent musical productions and co-productions include the multi-Olivier Award-winning musical, “Sunny Afternoon”, with music and lyrics by Ray Davies, book by Joe Penhall and direction by Edward Hall in a co-production with Sonia Friedman Productions; “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”, Monty Python’s “Spamalot” and “Jersey Boys”.

Other recent productions in the UK have consisted of a series of collaborations with the New Group including Sam Shepard’s gothic masterpiece “Buried Child”, starring Ed Harris in an Olivier Award-nominated performance; acerbic new comedy, “The Spoils”, written by and starring BAFTA, Golden Globe and Academy Award-nominated Jesse Eisenberg; as well as the playwriting debut of internationally acclaimed actor Matthew Perry (“Friends”, “The Odd Couple”) in the world premiere of “The End of Longing”.

ATG Productions also presented the phenomenally successful Jamie Lloyd Company (JLC) series at Trafalgar Studios and the Duke of York’s Theatre, which combined pertinent programming and accessible pricing with the aim of developing a new, more diverse theatrical audience. The radical reworking of classic works that were central to this season included “Doctor Faustus” (Duke of York’s) starring Kit Harington; “The Maids” starring Uzo Aduba, Zawe Ashton and Laura Carmichael; “The Homecoming” starring John Simm, Gary Kemp and Keith Allen; “The Ruling Class” and “Macbeth” starring James McAvoy; “East Is East” starring Jane Horrocks; “Richard III” starring Martin Freeman; “The Pride” starring Hayley Atwell; and “The Hothouse” starring Simon Russell Beale and John Simm (Trafalgar Studios).

West End musical productions have included the musical adaptation of “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” (Savoy Theatre and UK tour), directed by award-winning choreographer Jerry Mitchell, with book and lyrics by David Yazbek and Jeffrey Lane, starring Robert Lindsay and Katherine Kingsley. In 2015 ATG Productions reunited with Lane and Yazbek on the stage adaptation of “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” (Playhouse Theatre), Pedro Almodóvar’s 1988 film of the same name starring Tamsin Greig and Haydn Gwynne.


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