Ian McKellen set for Ballymena stage

Sir Ian McKellen - coming to The Braid. (pic - Oliver Rosser, submited).
Sir Ian McKellen - coming to The Braid. (pic - Oliver Rosser, submited).

Sir Ian McKellen is looking forward to finding out more about his Ballymena roots as he prepares to embark on an 80-date tour of Northern Ireland and Britain.

The actor will celebrate turning 80 in May next year with a tour of theatres in major cities and also towns including Ballymena to which he revealed he has family links.

He said: “James McKellen left Ballymena in 1840, since then our family have been settled in England but I very much wanted to discover my roots during my UK tour celebrating my 80th birthday. It’s high time I made my debut here raising funds to support the work at The Braid. See you there, I hope!”

Tickets for the show are available at www.wegottickets.com/thebraidartscentre

All profits will benefit specific causes at each theatre.

His intimate show is a mixture of anecdote and acting, including Tolkien, Shakespeare, others...and the audience.

He said: “I’m celebrating my 80th birthday by touring a new solo show 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. I open at my local arts centre in January and end up by August in Orkney.”

Appearing on the Graham Norton Show last week, to talk about the tour he highlighted his Ballymena date.

His Northern Ireland performances are: Belfast’s Lyric Theatre on July 25-26, Waterside Theatre in Derry on July 27. Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena on July 29 and Newtownabbey’s Theatre at the Mill on July 31 and August 1.