Latest Press Releases


Ambassador Theatre Group presents
Tolkien, Shakespeare, others …and you!

Sunday 21 July 2019
Swan Theatre, 2.30pm
Royal Shakespeare Theatre, 7.30pm

Public booking opens at 10am on Wednesday 14 November. 01789 331111

Tickets from £10


Ian McKellen is to celebrate his 80th birthday in 2019 by raising funds for theatres, with a new solo show which will play on 80 stages across the UK.  Ian McKellen on Stage will visit the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon on Sunday 21 July. There will be two performances: one in the Swan Theatre at 2.30pm, and one in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at 7.30pm.

Celebrating 80 years, this intimate show is a mixture of anecdotes and acting, including Tolkien, Shakespeare, others...and you the audience.

Ian has a long association with the Royal Shakespeare Company where his work has included title roles in Trevor Nunn’s productions of Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and King Lear.

All proceeds from the performances at the RSC will go towards the Company’s Stitch in Time campaign to restore and redevelop the RSC’s Costume Workshop.

The show will begin its journey around the UK with a tour of London.  Then, across the country, Ian will visit theatres large and small with which he has personal connections and happy memories, including amateur groups he knew as a child and notable playhouses he has played in as a professional actor over the past half-century.

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 RSC, the National Theatre, Prospect Theatre, the Actors’ Company, as well as with commercial productions.

“I first came to the old Memorial Theatre in Stratford (now the Royal Shakespeare Theatre) as a schoolboy, camping at Tiddington and queuing through the night for half a crown standing places at the back of the stalls. There I saw the theatre giants of my youth.

“In 1976 for the RSC I was Romeo, Leontes and Macbeth (with Judi Dench). Most recently I was King Lear in The Courtyard Theatre (the RSC’s temporary theatre whilst the Royal Shakespeare Theatre was redeveloped), followed by a world tour. So it’s with gratitude and excitement that I’ll be making my debut in the Swan Theatre, and on the same day be back on the main stage where I last performed with Prince Charles as part of Shakespeare Live! From The RSC - which marked the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death - in 2016.

“In my new solo show I can share memories of Stratford and reprise Shakespeare. There’ll also be a chance for you to get onstage with me. All profits will support the Stitch In Time campaign, restoring and redeveloping the RSC’s costume workshops. See you there, I hope!”

Gregory Doran, RSC Artistic Director, said: “I am thrilled that Ian will be bringing his one man show to Stratford to play in both the Swan and Royal Shakespeare Theatres.  We are grateful that the proceeds from the performances will go towards Stitch in Time, our public fundraising campaign to restore and redevelop our Costume Workshop, which has £250,000 left to raise.  The RSC has the largest in-house costume-making department of any British theatre, but the current workshops are in urgent need of attention to create modern-day costume-making facilities.”

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

For more press information please contact:
Dean Asker, RSC Press Officer
01789 412660, 0778 9937759



Box Office: 01789 331111,

Tickets will go on sale:

Monday 12 November, 10am
Artists Circle, Major Supporters and Patrons

Tuesday 13 November, 10am
Members and Subscribers

Wednesday 14 November, 10am
Public Booking

The restoration and redevelopment of the Costume Workshop is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, with additional support from the Garfield Weston Foundation, Lydia and Manfred Gorvy, The Foyle Foundation, The Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation and other generous supporters.


Coats - Official Thread Supplier to the RSC


About Arts Council England

Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, we plan to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.


About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Heritage Grants applications are assessed in two rounds.  A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.


Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported


About the Royal Shakespeare Company

The Royal Shakespeare Company creates theatre at its best, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world.  We produce an inspirational artistic programme each year, setting Shakespeare in context, alongside the work of his contemporaries and today’s writers.  


Everyone at the RSC - from actors to armourers, musicians to technicians - plays a part in creating the world you see on stage.  All our productions begin life at our Stratford workshops and theatres and we bring them to the widest possible audience through our touring, residencies, live broadcasts and online activity. So wherever you experience the RSC, you experience work made in Shakespeare’s home town.  


We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers and we continue to nurture the talent of the future. We encourage everyone to enjoy a lifelong relationship with Shakespeare and live theatre.  We reach 530,000 children and young people annually through our education work, transforming their experiences in the classroom, in performance and online.  Registered charity no. 212481





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