McKellen wizardry for Christchurch theatre

CHRISTOPHER MOORE
Last updated 12:00 04/04/2012
Isaac Theatre Royal
DAVID HALLETT/Fairfax NZ

DAMAGED: The quake-damaged Isaac Theatre Royal on Gloucester St needs to raise $500,000 for its policy excess and $5.5 million to repair the building.

Sir Ian McKellen
Dean Kozanic
RAISING FUNDS: British actor Sir Ian McKellen is set to perform a series of shows around New Zealand, raising funds for Christchurch's quake-damaged Isaac Theatre Royal.
Ian McKellen
DAVID HALLETT/Fairfax NZ
RAISING FUNDS: British actor Sir Ian McKellen is set to perform a series of shows around New Zealand, raising funds for Christchurch's quake-damaged Isaac Theatre Royal.

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Sir Ian McKellen will exercise his wizardry to raise funds for the repair of Christchurch's historic Isaac Theatre Royal.

The British actor, currently in the country to film Sir Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, will take a one-man stage show throughout New Zealand in May and June.

He will play in Christchurch's Aurora Centre on June 2.

Proceeds will be donated to the earthquake-damaged Isaac Theatre Royal's fundraising campaign to cover the building's $500,000 policy excess and $5.5 million repair costs.

McKellen's The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit wizard character, Gandalf, will be in the limelight for the show's first half as the actor discusses how he became involved with the films. He will also hold an audience question-and-answer session.

In the second half, McKellen, one of the most acclaimed Shakesperean actors of his generation, will discuss the plays, films and roles he has been involved with, interrupted by the occasional speech and soliloquy.

The show will finish with members of the audience being invited to "play" dead French soldiers while McKellen delivers a stirring final speech.

Once the curtain falls, he has indicated, he might stand at the door with a bucket to collect impromptu donations for the Gloucester St building.

Signed posters and photos will be on sale.

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