Park Theatre presents the World Premiere of

Ian McKellen with
Shakespeare, Tolkien, Others & You

Ian McKellen – Biography

I have been acting professionally for 55 years. After reading English at Cambridge, I worked in regional civic theatre in all sorts of plays. My London debut was in A Scent of Flowers (1964) at the Duke of York’s Theatre. Then followed more new plays and classic drama in London and on tour, for the National Theatre, Prospect Touring Company, The Actors’ Company and the Royal Shakespeare Company. 

By 1980 I was on Broadway for a year as Salieri in Amadeus. Since then I’ve enjoyed acting in New York and across the States, most recently as King Lear for the RSC, and in the Waiting for Godot / No Man’s Land season. 

In between long and short runs in the West End and on UK tours, I’ve regularly fitted in films and television appearances. Walter was the first Film on 4: The Keep has become a cult classic: Gods and Monsters was one of the first grown-up gay movies: the X-Men movies introduced me to a wider audience. And then there was Gandalf in six Middle Earth films. My proudest screen achievement was to co-produce, adapt and act in Richard III, recently re-released worldwide for the British Film Institute’s “Shakespeare on Film” seasons. 

My most recent job in the theatre was in No Man’s Land with old partners Patrick Stewart , Owen Teale and Sean Mathias, who has directed me before as Uncle Vanya (NT), the Captain in Dance of Death (Broadway and the West End), Gogo in Waiting for Godot (a score of theatres worldwide), in Bent (on stage and screen) and as Widow Twankey, twice, in the Old Vic’s Aladdin. 

If I had to chose between the stage and screen I couldn’t! It would be like choosing between breakfast and dinner. I relish them both.I’ve just completed Disney’s new version of Beauty and the Beast and the final episode of Vicious with Derek Jacobi. 

My full biography, personal and professional, is on