Playing For Sir Ian McKellen’s 80th Birthday Celebrations!

by Deb Lyons

Famously educated at Bolton School and forever proud of his north west heritage having been born and raised in Burnley, Wigan and Bolton, legendary actor Sir Ian McKellen is currently in the middle of a nine month sell-out tour of UK theatres from January through to September to celebrate his 80th birthday and 80th birthday year. On Friday evening May 24th, the eve of his actual 80th birthday the following day, Sir Ian is Guest of Honour at a Gala Dinner being held at Bolton School, where he made his acting debut nearly 70 years ago and as part of the celebration there will be an hour long set of brass band music performed by Eagley Band as well as playing Happy Birthday for Sir Ian arranged especially by our MD!

From The Royal Shakespeare Company and Coronation Street to X-Men and all six Lord of The Rings films, Sir Ian McKellen is known throughout the world as an acting legend of classical stage, screen and television. The exhaustive and extraordinary list of his A-list friendships reads like a Who’s Who of the world’s leading actors, celebrities and personalities of the past and present and we have been booked for this gala event for many months! Sir Ian plays Bolton Town Hall the following night, on his actual birthday of Saturday May 25th, because he considers Bolton to be his acting home and it is therefore the centrepiece of his nine month national tour. Sir Ian also particularly likes brass and wind band marches as his very first choice for the iconic BBC Radio 4 ‘Desert Island Discs’ programme highlighted some years ago, “Stars And Stripes” by J.P. Sousa.

Sir Ian’s 80th birthday tour of 80 dates completely sold out within days of the tickets going on sale and such was the advance demand for tickets that certain venues only sold tickets via ballot!