Lord of the Rings star Sir Ian McKellen to have Edinburgh theatre named in his honour

Lord of the Rings star Sir Ian McKellen is to have an Edinburgh theatre named in his honour, the Evening News can exclusively reveal.

The Ian McKellen Theatre at Saint Stephen’s follows the legendary actor’s acclaimed season of Hamlet, which was seen by a record-breaking 13,000 theatregoers at the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe.
The Ian McKellen Theatre at Saint Stephen’s follows the legendary actor’s acclaimed season of Hamlet, which was seen by a record-breaking 13,000 theatregoers at the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe.

The Ian McKellen Theatre at Saint Stephen’s follows the legendary actor’s acclaimed season of Hamlet, which was seen by a record-breaking 13,000 theatregoers at the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe.

Named Best Event Theatre at the Fringe by Theatre Weekly, Hamlet launched the 450-seat Ashton Hall at Saint Stephen’s – a new all-year performance venue in the Capital from the legendary dance producer, director and choreographer Peter Schaufuss, and named after the famous choreographer, the late Sir Frederick Ashton.

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No stranger to the city, McKellen made his Scottish début ​at the Edinburgh Festival in 1969, playing in productions of ​Richard​ II and Edward ​II.​

More recently, he ​brought his 80th birthday solo show in the Assembly Hall, where he​ was first introduced to city theatre-goers.

The 83-year-old icon, who also played X-Men's Magneto ​and ​Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings​, said: “Peter Schaufuss’ unique contribution to Edinburgh’s cultural life, during and beyond the annual festival, is now enhanced by his new theatre at St Stephen’s.

“I am honoured that it will bear my name.”

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Schaufuss, who directed and choreographed Hamlet, said: “Since the Fringe ended we have created a second 300-seat theatrem underneath the Ashton Hall, at St Stephen’s and I am delighted to announce that Ian has accepted our offer to name the venue in his honour – The Ian McKellen Theatre at Saint Stephen’s.

“Ian is the greatest actor of his generation and we were thrilled to have him lead our company in Hamlet.

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“Thanks to his involvement, we were the only genuine sold-out hit of the Fringe - we sold every ticket at every performance from the first preview and could have easily extended the run.

“He generously led our company and the beanie hat he wore in each performance of Hamlet was auctioned after the show, raising £12,000 to support a bursary fund bearing his name that will now help future young dance students at Edinburgh Festival Ballet School.

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“Now his involvement with our company will live on in this new all-year-round performance venue for Scotland.”

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Edinburgh Festival: Lord of the Rings star Ian McKellen as Hamlet will launch ne...