World-renowned actor Sir Ian McKellen’s Ballymena show is hailed a huge success

Sir Ian McKellen at The Braid

Ballymena welcomed Sir Ian McKellen to The Braid as part of his ‘Tolkien, Shakespeare, Others and You’ tour.

The world-renowned actor wanted to do something special to celebrate his 80th Birthday and there is no better way to celebrate than an 80-date UK tour.

Sir Ian had made the decision, prior to the tour, that all profits would be donated to specific causes relevant to each theatre that he performed in.

Mass cinematic fame has come from his role as Gandalf in Lord of the Rings but in this performance Sir Ian provided some theatrical magic of his own.

Standing on a bare stage he took the audience on the journey of his fascinating career, he opened up about his personal life and included the audience throughout with regular interaction.

Sir Ian McKellen with a fan at The Braid


Interestingly, Sir McKellen’s great-great grandfather, James McKellen, was a minister in Ballymena before leaving in 1840.

While his family have since settled in England, his visit to the Braid provided the perfect opportunity for him to discover his roots while also raising funds to support a community theatre programme in the Borough.

His intimate show at the Braid was a great success.

It was a personal yet magical performance as his biggest fans enjoyed an evening of warmth, wit and ‘wizardry’.

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