To celebrate his 80th birthday, the legendary Sir Ian McKellen is embarking on a tour across theatres nationwide. When tour tickets were announced, being a life long fan, I was ecstatic and couldn’t wait to meet someone who had such a large impact on me growing up. When I say life long fan I mean it, I was watching him in ‘Lord of the Rings’ from the age of two, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gandalf was my first word! Tickets for Norwich sold out in one day, but I was lucky enough to get three, amazing seats for an evening I’ll never forget.
His most famous roles include Gandalf from ‘Lord of the Rings’, Magneto from ‘The X-Men’ and a life time of roles on stage. As well as being a huge advocate for the LGBT community there’s not much he hasn’t done in his long life. I won’t spoil the solo show, but the audience are transported through the worlds of Tolkien, Shakespeare, Ian McKellen’s life and all centred around his box of memoirs. The theatre was buzzing with energy when the show dramatically started, creating instant silence across the audience, this quickly led onto laughter after a cheeky punchline. There was so much of it, partly for me due to a near incident with a flying Easter egg, but with his captivating persona Ian McKellen could just as quickly cause a few tears from a meaningful poem or play. I have never considered myself as someone who enjoys old English literature such as Shakespeare, but I have never felt so captivated or inspired by something as simple as words. I even attended the event with people who don’t know much about Ian McKellen and they couldn’t take their eyes off of the stage. They were reciting ‘King Lear’ the following day, something I would never bet money on.
At the end of this remarkable performance was the announcement that Ian would be greeting every single person as they walked out of the theatre. I felt my heart stop beating. I couldn’t comprehend the idea of standing in front of someone who has provided entertainment that I love, let alone talk to him. A few years ago, I had the opportunity of meeting him at my high school and filming him for an event. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, I also assumed that would be my only chance but today was my lucky day. We walked out of the theatre and there he was, holding a yellow bucket to collect donations – all proceeds were given to the theatre to spend how they wish. I was lucky enough to have a brief chat with him, an autograph and even a photo which I will always cherish.
With this tour, Ian is kind enough to give back to his fans and show them a bit of his life. It was clear watching and talking to him that he is such a thoughtful and happy man, capable of putting a smile on your face in an instant. Some of his shows around the country still have tickets available, if you’re able to attend you should 100% do it!
Written by Faye Jarvis