Sir Ian McKellen on Stage
with Shakespeare, Tolkien and You
We know all too well about the damage and devastation that has hit Christchurch over the last few years. Buildings remain dilapidated, and large sections of the city are still uninhabitable. Sir Ian McKellen, who’s been in and around New Zealand for the past decade filming the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit, has found himself back in Christchurch with a hard hat on. After performing in the Isaac Theatre Royal in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, Sir Ian’s love for this theatre has grown. Going back there now is heartbreaking, with the roof in tatters and rubble strewn throughout the 104-year-old theatre. McKellen has taken it upon himself to restore the theatre as soon as possible, using his own name and skills in the best way he can – theatre.
In May and June McKellen will undertake a tour of New Zealand, including main cities and small towns. The show will be exciting and fun. It will be set out more like a meet-and-greet than a classic theatre show. The audience will be taken on a journey through the great man’s life as he recalls stories and recites passages from his favourite works. Fans of McKellen should hold onto their hats for the next part – throughout the show, audience members are encouraged to ask questions about his life. He will be an open book! Whether you’re interested to hear about how cool it was working with Peter Jackson or more about McKellen’s personal life, all will be revealed in this audience-led piece. We, the audience, can guide the performance in any which way we want and may even have the opportunity of acting on stage with him. For any theatre nerds out there, that has got to get your juices flowing. Sir Ian McKellen. Just hanging out. In a theatre. And you can ask him ANYTHING. I’m just gonna let that sink in for a while…
Sir Ian is managing to fit his whole tour around filming The Hobbit during the week, with shows happening on Saturday nights or Sunday afternoons. All proceeds go towards the restoration of the Isaac Theatre Royal. Venues are even offering up free hire so that all the money can be given to Christchurch instead. It’s a fantastic effort all round to keep this kind of fundraising work going after such a long time, and must have taken a lot of hard work and dedication from a lot of people. Kudos!
Although the tour is not gracing our fine city, surely McKellan can be forgiven. He’s Gandalf, for God’s sake! The closest shows will be in Christchurch and Wanaka. Check it out, this can’t be missed! How many times do you get to hang out and chat with Magneto? Yeah, exactly.