Money raised through Ian McKellen’s visit to Nottingham Playhouse will go towards schemes that make both participation programmes and theatre more accessible for the people of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
The sum of more than £50,000 was raised over two sold-out performances at the Nottingham Playhouse on 25 and 26 June. The money, which comes from ticket and limited edition brochure sales, and public donations, will be split between the theatre’s SHINE and 50:50 appeals.
The SHINE appeal aims to create and sustain free theatre-making opportunities and bursaries for young people across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.
50:50 is a scheme that donates tickets to charities and community groups. Just £10 can fund one ticket for someone who would not have the means to visit the theatre otherwise.
When talking about his show, Ian McKellen said: “I was part of the first company which opened the Playhouse in 1963, before I’d ever worked in London. It was thrilling to be back with my new solo show of anecdote and acting.”
Ian McKellen was part of the cast which opened the new Playhouse building in 1963, in Sir Tyrone Guthrie’s production of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus. He was also the first actor to play Saturday Night and Sunday Morning’s Arthur Seaton by acclaimed Nottingham playwright, Alan Sillitoe. He will now have a seat dedicated to him in the Playhouse’s main auditorium.
Stephanie Sirr, Chief Executive of Nottingham Playhouse, commented: “Not only have we enjoyed an unforgettable evening of great theatre but Ian McKellen has enabled hundreds of people across Nottingham to access drama classes and theatre tickets free of charge. He has really helped our charity to make a difference and we are tremendously grateful.”
Adam Penford, Artistic Director of the Playhouse, added: “It has been a real pleasure welcoming Ian McKellen back to Nottingham Playhouse. His stories of those early years were both entertaining and inspiring. Our theatre has always been home to great actors, writers and directors. Long may that continue.”
Ian McKellen’s visit to the Nottingham Playhouse was part of an acclaimed, nationwide tour of 80 venues to mark his 80th birthday. Ian McKellen on Stage has already raised over £1 million for causes related to venues across the country with the aim of earning £2 million by the time he reaches Orkney in August. It has recently been announced that the ground-breaking theatre journey will continue throughout the autumn with 80 more shows in London, all profits for which will be given to theatre charities in the hopes of earning a total of £3 million by the end of the tour and West End run.
Nottingham Playhouse Trust Ltd is a registered charity. To find out more about donating to the Playhouse’s SHINE and 50:50 appeals, go to: nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/support/.