One of the greatest Shakespearean actors of our time is set to follow in the footsteps of the Bard himself when he takes to the stage at King’s Lynn’s Guildhall next year.
Sir Ian McKellen is going to appear at the historic venue as part of a new three-day Shakespeare Festival in April.
The event has been organised by fellow Shakespearean actor Andrew Jarvis who moved to King’s Lynn from London three years ago, and was thrilled to discover that Shakespeare probably performed at the Guildhall in 1592.
Mr Jarvis said: “Making this discovery was amazing – just extraordinary. He has been the man at the centre of my life so it’s amazing to think he might have been at the Guildhall performing.
“The impetus to hold a Shakespeare Festival fully materialised when I became aware of evidence which might lead us to believe that Shakespeare, the man, the player and the writer, has a very specific and personal relationship with the town.”
The festival to be held on April 26, 27 and 28, will be a celebration of the works of Shakespeare.
There will be special performances, professional acting workshops and seminars where five leading scholars will explore the nature of Shakespeare’s theatre, specifically his possible appearance in Lynn.
There will also be a Shakespearean acting workshop for young people aged 16 plus.
Mr Jarvis said: “During these three days we wish both to celebrate the work of the greatest dramatic poet the world has ever known, and we also strive for the fullest exploration that the known evidence will allow, to trace and to understand our town’s possible connection with the man and his work.”
Sir Ian is to perform his new show called 80 Stages – a celebration of his 80th year covering 80 theatres.
Mr Jarvis said: “It’s amazing. What’s brilliant about it is Ian is doing this tour as an act of pure altruism. He is trying to help theatres.
“Ian will be talking about theatre spaces and how important they are.”
Sir Ian achieved worldwide fame for his film roles including Richard III, Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies and Magneto in the X-Men films.
He is due to announce details of his tour on the Graham Norton show on BBC1 this evening.
For booking information and further details of the festival go to www.kingslynncornexchange.co.uk
Mr Jarvis hopes the festival will become an annual event and said: “I would like Shakespeare to be a continuing cultural event in King’s Lynn.”