Sir Ian McKellen to celebrate 80th birthday with 80-date tour in 2019

The veteran actor is showing no signs of slowing down

Sir Ian McKellen will celebrate his 80th birthday next year by embarking on a huge solo tour of 80 venues across the UK.

The veteran actor will reach the milestone on May 25 – and he’ll spend the evening of his 80th birthday performing at Bolton’s Albert Halls Theatre as part of the tour.

Titled ‘McKellen on Stage 2019’, the Lord of the Rings star is currently developing a new solo show and will bring it, in McKellen’s words, “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,” he said in a statement which accompanied the announcement of the tour.

Sir Ian McKellen and Elijah Wood in 'The Lord of the Rings'
Sir Ian McKellen and Elijah Wood in The Lord of the Rings

“Live theatre has always been thrilling to me, as an actor and in the audience,” he continued. “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 National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Prospect Theatre, the Actors’ Company, as well as with commercial productions. Sean Mathias, the director and I have worked together for stage and screen, many happy times.”

McKellen assured his fans in a subsequent interview with The Evening Standard that this wouldn’t be a farewell tour, quipping: “It’s more like, ‘Oh, hello again!'”

You can see the full itinerary for ‘McKellen on Stage 2019’ below.

January 2019
25-26 The Space, London
28 National Theatre, Lyttelton, London
30 Young Vic, London


3 Bridge Theatre London
4 Richmond Theatre London
6 Above The Stag Theatre London
10 Hampstead Theatre London
11 Arts Theatre London
12-13 Theatre Royal Windsor Windsor
17- Old Vic London
19-20 Bristol Old Vic Bristol
21 Royal Court London
24-25 The Queens Theatre London
26 RADA (Students only) London

1 Donmar Warehouse (Students only) London
3 Lyric Hammersmith London
4 Questors Ealing London
7 Duke of York’s Theatre London
8-9 Ipswich New Wolsey Ipswich
1 Theatre Royal Stratford East London
13 Swansea Grand Theatre Swansea
14-15 Aberystwyth Arts Centre Aberystwyth
16 The Hafren Newtown
18-19 Theatr Clwyd Mold
24 Theatre Royal Bath Bath
29-30 Maddermarket Theatre Norwich

Sir Ian McKellen

2 The Leas Cliff Hall Folkestone
5 Chichester Minerva Theatre Chichester
12-13 Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds Bury St Edmunds
14 Royal & Derngate Northampton
17-18 Colchester Mercury Colchester
20 Belgrade Theatre Coventry Coventry
24-25 Norwich Playhouse Norwich
27-28 St George’s Guildhall King’s Lynn
30-1 May Oxford Playhouse Oxford

3-4 Jersey Opera House Jersey
6 Aylesbury Waterside Theatre Aylesbury
7-8 Cheltenham Everyman Theatre Cheltenham
10-11 Cambridge Arts Theatre Cambridge
13-14 Wigan Little Theatre Wigan
15 The Forum Theatre Romiley Stockport
17-18 Liverpool Playhouse Liverpool
19 Warwick Arts Centre Coventry
20 Blackpool Grand Blackpool
25 Albert Halls Theatre Bolton
28 The Dukes Lancaster
31 Buxton Opera House Buxton

1-2 Curve Theatre Leicester
3 Sheffield Crucible Sheffield
4 Theatre Royal Wakefield Wakefield
5-6 HOME Manchester Manchester
9 Forum Theatre Billingham Stockton-on-Tees
11 The Civic Barnsley
12 CAST Doncaster
14 The Georgian Theatre Royal Richmond
16 Hull New Theatre Hull
17 Grand Opera House York
21-22 Birmingham Rep Birmingham
25-26 Nottingham Playhouse Nottingham
27-28 Cardiff New Theatre Cardiff

1 Northcott Theatre Exeter
2 Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre For The Arts Poole
3 Marine Theatre Lyme Regis
5 The Watermill Theatre Newbury
9 Princess Theatre Torquay
15-18 Theatre Royal Brighton Brighton
21 RST & Swan Theatre Stratford upon Avon
25-26 Lyric Belfast
27 Waterside Derry
29 The Braid Arts Centre Ballymena
31-1-Aug Theatre at The Mill Newtonabbey

9 Dundee Rep Theatre Dundee
11 Pitlochry Festival Theatre Pitlochry
12 Eden Court Inverness
14 Tivoli Aberdeen
18 Newcastle Theatre Royal Newcastle upon Tyne
20 Theatre by the Lake Keswick
22-25 Edinburgh International Festival Edinburgh
28 Orkney Arts Theatre Orkney

15 National Theatre, Olivier London

McKellen is also set to appear in a forthcoming film adaptation of the musical Cats, and it’s been reported that he’ll star alongside the likes of Taylor Swift and James Corden in the movie.