Stage legend hands boost to Rep fundraiser

Ian McKellen raises £140,000 for Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

Ian McKellen’s recent visit to Birmingham Repertory Theatre raised an incredible £140,000 giving the theatre’s REP First £1 million campaign a significant boost.

Ian McKellen brought his one-man show, Ian McKellen On Stage to the Rep on 21st and 22nd June, playing to three packed houses as part of his 80th birthday celebrations visiting eighty venues around the country raising vital funds for each theatre in the process.

Over 2,400 people bought a ticket to see Ian McKellen On Stage at The REP. Tickets sold out within 48 hours and due to popular demand an extra performance was added with all profits going to the Rep, which is currently aiming to raise £1 million.

Rachael Thomas, Executive Director at the Rep said: “Ian McKellen’s visit to The REP was not only an incredible spine-tingling demonstration of the power of live performance but a powerful awareness raising opportunity of the charitable case for the arts. We are extremely grateful to Ian for his wonderful generosity and support – the event and its impact on The REP will be remembered for many, many years to come. We are also extremely grateful to everyone who bought a ticket and by doing so played a vital part in supporting our REP First £1 million campaign”

Ahead of his visit to The REP Ian McKellen said: “The legacy of Birmingham Repertory Theatre is recognised by actors everywhere, which is why I wanted to present my new solo show here to celebrate my 80th birthday. All profits will benefit the REP First Campaign, nurturing new talent.”

REP First is a three year campaign which aims to raise £1 million in order to ensure that the Rep can continue to nurture the region’s talented young artists, commission exciting new works, welcome new audiences and reach out to the communities of Birmingham and beyond. Now in its third and final year, the REP First campaign has raised £830,685. The £140,000 raised through the Ian McKellen events will support the nurturing talent strand of REP First.

Supporting the next generation of theatre makers and performers is extremely important to Ian and is part of the Rep’s DNA. For over 100 years, the theatre has been a beacon of excellence, discovering and nurturing young talent.

In addition to the three performances by Ian McKellen, and to boost the amount of money raised, the Rep hosted two gala events transforming its studio theatre into an enchanted forest for the occasion. These fundraisers were attended by 530 members of the local business community, sponsors and individuals. Fundraising efforts were also furthered by Ian McKellen, who took part in a bucket collection after each performance in an attempt to help raise as much as possible.

The additional matinee performance meant that because of Ian’s willingness and generosity 100 people from participatory projects – Shifting the Dial, REP Foundry, Young REP and Furnace – were welcomed to the see Ian McKellen On Stage.

To date Ian McKellen On Stage has raised in excess of £1.5 million for theatre across the country, with the final total predicted to reach £2 million.