After his record-breaking run at the 2018 Fringe Festival, Sir Ian McKellen will have an Edinburgh theatre named in his honour.
Following the veteran actor’s well-received performance as Hamlet at the 2022 festival, the Ian McKellen Theatre at Saint Stephen’s was given a name.
The 450-seat Ashton Hall at Saint Stephen’s, a new all-year performance space in the Scottish capital, was opened with the production, which combined dance and theatre.
Since the end of the Fringe, a second, 300-seat theatre bearing Sir Ian’s name has been built beneath the Ashton Hall.
A record-breaking 13,000 people saw Hamlet, which was selected Best Event Theatre at the Fringe by Theatre Weekly.
In the production, which was directed and choreographed by Peter Schaufuss, the actor appeared alongside the Edinburgh Festival Ballet.
While performing onstage as Hamlet alongside lead dancer Johan Christensen, Sir Ian delivered the play’s renowned speeches and soliloquies.
According to Sir Ian, “Peter Schaufuss’ distinctive contribution to Edinburgh’s cultural life, both during and outside of the annual festival, is now strengthened by his new theatre at St Stephen’s.”
“It will hold my name, and I am honoured by that.”
We were happy to have Ian lead our company in Hamlet, according to Schaufuss, who called him the best actor of his generation.
We sold every ticket at every performance starting with the first preview and were able to easily extend the run because of his involvement, making us the only genuine sold-out smash of the Fringe.
“He kindly led our group, and the beanie hat he wore for each performance of Hamlet was auctioned off following the performance, earning $12,000 to benefit a bursary fund in his honour at Edinburgh Festival Ballet School.
Now that Scotland has a new location for year-round performances, his relationship with our business will continue.
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