Sir Ian McKellen Hospitalised After Fall Off Stage In London Play

Sir Ian McKellen Hospitalised After Fall Off Stage In London Play
Image: Ian McKellen speaking at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con International. Image: Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Multi-award winning actor, gay icon and LGBTQI+ activist Sir Ian McKellen was rushed to hospital on Monday after falling from the stage at London’s Noel Coward Theatre.

The 85 year old was taking part in a battle scene in modern Shakespeare adaptation Player Kings when he fell and cried out in pain.

Two doctors in the audience attended to him, whilst other theatre-goers were evacuated.

While the fall reportedly startled theatregoers, the iconic actor is said to be in recovery and “in good spirits”. 

Performances cancelled while McKellen recovers

McKellen is expected to recover in full. 

However, Tuesday’s performance of Player Kings has been cancelled.

Freya Cowdry, speaking for the producers of Player Kings, said in a statement:

“Thank you to our audience and the general public for their well wishes following Ian’s fall during this evening’s performance of Player Kings.

“Following a scan, the brilliant NHS team have assured us that he will make a speedy and full recovery and Ian is in good spirits.

“The production has made the decision to cancel the performance on Tuesday 18 June so Ian can rest. Those affected will be contacted by their point of purchase as soon as possible tomorrow.

“Thank you to doctors Rachel and Lee who were on hand in the audience and to all the venue staff for their support.”

McKellen “seemed to trip” off of stage

Audience member Paul Critchley told the PA news agency: “Sir Ian seemed to trip as he moved downstage to take a more active part in the scene.

“He picked up momentum as he moved downstage which resulted in him falling off the stage directly in front of the audience.”

Audience member Sandro Trapani told the BBC the incident was “very shocking”.

“I really hope that he is going to be alright.

“As far as I saw, he was conscious because he was asking for assistance.”

Sir Ian McKellen’s legacy on stage and screen

McKellen plays the character of John Falstaff in Player Kings, a modern adaptation of Shakespeare’s history plays Henry IV, Part 1 and Henry IV, Part 2.

The production is adapted and directed by Robert Icke, and began a 12-week run in April 2024.

McKellen lost his footing during a battle scene with the Prince of Wales and Henry Percy.

The actor is best known for his work in The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and X-Men film franchises, but is outspoken about his love for live theatre. 

He has performed in many productions of Shakespeare, including the titular roles of Hamlet, King Lear and Richard III.

He has won a Tony Award for Amadeus, several Laurence Olivier Awards, has been nominated for two Oscars, and several BAFTA Awards.

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