On stage with a world acclaimed actor

By Bay News

Fancy acting on stage with a world acclaimed actor _ in your own town ? Then read on to find out more.

Tauranga residents will be able to see Hobbit star Sir Ian McKellen, who is downing his staff and pointy hat at weekends to perform a series of special one-man shows.

With support from ASB Bank, Sir Ian will tour 11 New Zealand centres to raise funds to restore Christchurch's earthquake-damaged historic Isaac Theatre Royal which was badly damaged in the series of 2011 earthquakes.

Although the 104-year old `Grand Old Lady' theatre survived the massive February 22, 2011, earthquake and subsequent considerable aftershocks, and is insured for the majority of reinstatement works caused by earthquake damage, policy excess and some very necessary heritage restoration and improvement works must be paid for by the Theatre Royal Charitable Foundation.

The not-for-profit organisation is now embarking on a challenging fund raising campaign to cover the additional costs of potentially $6 million.

Currently in New Zealand reprising his Oscar-nominated Gandalf in The Hobbit films, and direct from the Miramar studios, Sir Ian will spend his weekends in May and June performing Ian McKellen on Stage at local theatres around the country, including Baycourt Theatre, Tauranga, for one show only.

Ian McKellen on Stage is a new show, devised in part by the audience. In this unique fundraiser, you can ask any question at all about Sir Ian's work and life, as he retraces his journey from the north of England to the West End of London, to Broadway, Hollywood and to Middle Earth.

There will be chat, reminiscence, gossip and performances from his Shakespeare and Tolkien repertoire_ with maybe a song and a chance to act with him onstage.

``Basically it will be a party. Do come,'' Sir Ian says.

ASB Bank has agreed to support the New Zealand wide shows so that all income goes directly to fund the repair of Christchurch's Isaac Theatre Royal.

``The last time I was on stage in New Zealand was at the Isaac Theatre Royal in Waiting for Godot,'' Sir Ian says.

``I love this beautiful old theatre and want to help restore it as soon as possible.''

Sir Ian is at home on any stage, whether for the UK National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company or on tour worldwide in plays ancient and modern.

Since The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the X-Men movies, he has played in Strindberg, Beckett, Chekhov, Shakespeare, Mark Ravenhill, Eduardo De Filippo _ and as Widow Twankey in the pantomime Aladdin. In New Zealand he has toured as King Lear and as Gogo in Waiting for Godot. On television he was most recently seen achieving his ambition to act in Coronation Street.

For more information on the Isaac Theatre Royal go to www.isaactheatreroyal.co.nz 

Ian McKellen on Stage is at Baycourt Theatre, Tauranga 2pm, Sunday, May 13. Tickets are $50* adults and $25* students/children (*service fees apply) and are available from Friday, April 13 through Ticketdirect on 0800 224 224 or www.ticketdirect.co.nz.

The Tauranga performance is supported by the Tauranga Arts Festival. For full tour details visit www.mckellen.com-->-->-->-->-->

- Bay of Plenty Times

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