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Queen’s Theatre welcomes Sir Ian McKellen who donates money from ticket sales to Hornchurch community venue

PUBLISHED: 10:00 26 February 2019

Sir Ian McKellen with executive director Mathew Russell and artistic director Douglas Rintoul at Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch. Photo: Mark Sepple

Sir Ian McKellen with executive director Mathew Russell and artistic director Douglas Rintoul at Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch. Photo: Mark Sepple

Mark Sepple

Sir Ian McKellen made two special appearances in the borough this week with money made through ticket sales being donated to the venue.

Sir Ian McKellen took time to have photographs with fans after his performance at Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch. Photo: Mark SeppleSir Ian McKellen took time to have photographs with fans after his performance at Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch. Photo: Mark Sepple

The legendary actor, known widely for starring in films such as X-men and Lord of the Rings, ventured to the Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch, on Sunday, February 24, and Monday, February 25, as part of his tour of Ian McKellen On Stage to mark his 80th birthday.

In a message to Havering residents, he said: “It’s high time I performed in Hornchurch. The original Queen’s Theatre offered me my first professional job in 1961 for £7 a week.

“Like many another young actor I was attracted by being part of a repertory company doing a different play every fortnight.

“However, I took a rival offer from the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry for £8 a week!

Sir Ian McKellen took time to have photographs with fans after his performance at Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch. Photo: Mark SeppleSir Ian McKellen took time to have photographs with fans after his performance at Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch. Photo: Mark Sepple

“My two performances in Hornchurch – at last – are a way for me to say thank you for that encouraging offer, long ago, and to benefit the QNew Transformation programme and support local artists.”

QNew is a programme of building improvements which will allow the theatre to make high quality theatre in developed spaces, work with more young people and community groups, offer an increasingly comfortable experience to audiences, be more open and accessible to D/deaf and disabled people.

Last month, Queen’s Theatre was one of five London theatres to receive £5,000 towards the project from the Theatre Trusts’ London Small Theatres Grants Scheme.

While on stage, Mr McKellen talked about how he got into acting, experiences he’s had on film sets and answered questions from members of the audience.

Following both shows, Sir Ian McKellen then took the opportunity to have a meet and greet.

Executive director Mathew Russell: “It was one of the highlights of the theatre’s illustrious history as Ian McKellen took to our stage to raise funds for QNew, and celebrate our last 65 years.

“We’re so proud that Ian chose us as a venue to perform his once in a lifetime ‘I was there’ event at, but even prouder that he came back to do the whole thing over again!”

For more information about QNew, visit https://bit.ly/2M2Awy2

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