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Ian McKellen hospitalised after falling off stage during a performance of Player Kings at a theater in London

Veteran actor is to 'make a speedy and full recovery', according to a statement by the producers

Claire Moses London Published 19.06.24, 05:38 AM
British actor Ian McKellen

British actor Ian McKellen File picture

The actor Ian McKellen was hospitalised but expected to recover quickly after falling off the stage during a performance of Player Kings at a theater in the West End in London on Monday night, the producers of the play said.

After a scan, doctors at Britain’s National Health Service said that McKellen would “make a speedy and full recovery, and Ian is in good spirits”, according to a statement by the producers.


McKellen, 85, who has been nominated for two Academy Awards and has won a Tony, a Golden Globe and multiple Olivier Awards, is starring in the play, an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s two Henry IV plays, directed by Robert Icke. McKellen plays John Falstaff, a fictional character who appears in three Shakespeare plays.

The fall took place during a battle scene, according to Aleks Phillips, a BBC journalist who was in the audience on Monday night and described what he saw in an article. “It happened so quickly that at first it appeared to be part of the performance,” Phillips wrote. “But the actor cried out and staff rushed to help.”

After the fall, the performance was cancelled and the audience left the theatre. Tuesday night’s show was also cancelled, the producers said, but McKellen was expected to return to the stage for a matinee performance on Wednesday.

McKellen has often returned to the stage for Shakespeare plays throughout his six-decade career, including in recent years as King Lear and as an octogenarian Hamlet. He is also a fixture of the silver screen, including his roles as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, as well as Magneto in the X-Men series.

Player Kings is in its final week and runs at the Noël Coward Theatre till Sunday.

The actor also appeared in 10 episodes of the ITV soap Coronation Street as the scheming romance author Mel Hutchwright.

Five years ago, McKellen was forced to cancel a King Lear showing at London’s Duke of York theatre after sustaining a leg injury while running to catch a train, but ensured the audience was in for a good time, by sitting on stage and answering questions.

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