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Ian McKellen raises £70,000 for creative talent development

Posted on 28 April 2019

Stage and screen star Ian McKellen has helped to secure a promising future for a new generation of creatives in Coventry and Warwickshire, raising over £70,000 towards talent development from his recent performances at the Belgrade Theatre.

Visiting the Coventry venue on Easter Saturday as part of his 80th birthday tour, the acting legend donated all proceeds from ticket and souvenir programme sales to support the Belgrade’s work in the community. After the show, he also helped to gather donations from generous audience members excited to meet him in the foyer, raising over £2500 from post-show bucket collections alone.

Best known for his performances as Gandalf and Magneto in the hugely successful Lord of the Rings and X-Men franchises, Ian McKellen began his illustrious professional acting career at the Belgrade Theatre in 1961, performing in different shows each week as part of the newly formed repertory company.

Visiting more than 80 venues across the UK, his current touring show is a light-hearted look back at his life and work so far, using performance, conversation and audience participation to take audiences on a journey from childhood curiosity, through his youth in Cambridge and Coventry, and on to the bright lights of London and Hollywood.

Head of Development Helen Hotchkiss said: “We’re tremendously grateful to Ian and his team for the time and energy that they have devoted to raising vital funds towards our ongoing work nurturing new creative talent in the West Midlands.

“We’ve been overwhelmed not only by their incredible generosity, but also by that of all the audience members who donated extra money as well as purchasing tickets and programmes. As a registered charity, the Belgrade is reliant on the support of its Members, donors and audiences, so events like this make a huge difference to the work we’re able to do.

“With Ian having begun his own career here as a young actor in the 1960s, it feels fitting that the money we have made will go directly towards projects providing opportunities for new and emerging creatives to pursue their passions both on-stage and behind-the-scenes.”

The money provides us with a huge and much-needed boost to our current and ongoing work in the community as we prepare to direct our fundraising efforts towards our 2020 redevelopment project. Find out how you can Play Your Part in the campaign here.

The Belgrade Theatre Trust is a registered charity (number 219163). Find out more about our charitable work and how you can get involved please visit our Support Us page.