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No.1 at 80! (Your News)

No.1 at 80! (Your News)

By Paul Johnson

One of amateur theatre’s biggest supporters, Sir Ian McKellen, has topped The Stage 100 2020 power list for his extraordinary nationwide tour, raising the profile of UK local theatres and more than £4 million towards arts projects across the country.

Ian McKellen, who came 24th in the 2019 list, has been propelled to the top of The Stage 100 after embarking on one of the most extraordinary undertakings of an already extraordinary career.
Sir Ian McKellen is the first actor ever to top the list!

His one-man show, Ian McKellen On Stage, saw the actor traverse the whole of the UK with an 80-date tour to celebrate his 80th birthday. The tour and subsequent West End run raised more than £4 million for theatres across the UK and theatre charities. All box office fees were kept by the host theatres, with McKellen giving his own time for free and encouraging them to spend that money on specific projects.

Sir Ian told us, “It’s been a joyful year taking my show to eighty-seven theatres up and down the country and meeting audiences of all ages, who relish live theatre as much as I do. All profits have stayed with the local theatres and finally, at the Harold Pinter Theatre, we’ve contributed to national theatre charities, from the National Youth Theatre to Denville Hall, where old colleagues end their days. I thank The Stage for putting me at the top of their list for 2020, an honour I share with the brilliant production team from ATG.”

Editor of The Stage Alistair Smith added: “It is hard to imagine another performer who could have pulled off such a feat, nor one who would have even thought of trying to. The tour was more than a celebration of Ian McKellen’s illustrious career, it was a love letter to theatre itself, and more specifically to local theatre. It was also an act of supreme generosity – the money he has raised will leave a very tangible legacy. While the argument of whether McKellen is the greatest actor of his generation is a moot point, it seems inarguable that his devotion to theatre – especially outside London – is unparalleled. Certainly, he has done more for theatre around the UK in 2019 than anyone else. We are very lucky to have him.”

Other figures featured in The Stage 100 2020 include Sonia Friedman, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Mackintosh – all of whom have held the top spot in previous years.
Maggie Smith (no.50) also makes the list thanks to her first stage performance in more than a decade, while pantomime star Julian Clary (51) is featured for the first time thanks to his headlining performances at the London Palladium.

The tour started a year ago at The Space, McKellen’s local arts centre on London’s Isle of Dogs on 25 January, and finished at the Orkney Theatre in Kirkwall on 28 August, more than 700 miles away. McKellen then added on a not-insignificant 80-date West End run at the Harold Pinter Theatre, which finished on 5 January 2020.

By the end of the tour and West End run, more than £4 million had been raised to help fund theatre charities and projects ranging from improved seating at the Albert Halls in Bolton (near where McKellen grew up) to supporting a three-week run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream designed for children on the autistic spectrum, produced by Flute Theatre and staged at London’s Bridge Theatre.

Ian McKellen On Stage featured the actor delivering speeches from some of the Shakespearean roles he has played on stage, complemented with other parts he has made famous (from Gandalf to Widow Twankey!) and some more off-beat personal selections (a recitation of a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins). All this was interspersed with anecdotes about his life in the theatre and his experience as an activist for gay rights.

Other recent stage performances by Ian McKellen have included King Lear (2018), No Man’s Land (2016), The Syndicate (2011), Waiting for Godot (2009), The Seagull (2007), King Lear (2007).

The Stage 100 reflects the 100 most influential people working in the theatre and performing arts industry. It is considered from the point of view of The Stage as a trade publication and so focuses on theatre both as a business and an art form. Inclusion and ranking is weighted towards achievements in the past 12 months, but also takes into account continuous achievement.

High risers in this year’s list include: Cyrano de Bergerac and Pinter at the Pinter director Jamie Lloyd (no.9 – up 23 places); Sharon D Clarke (19 – up 58), following her critically acclaimed performances in Death of a Salesman and Caroline, or Change; and Emilia producer Eleanor Lloyd (35 – up 47 places).

THE STAGE 100 – 2020… full list:

01. Ian McKellen, actor
02. Sonia Friedman, producer
03. Andrew Lloyd Webber, Really Useful Group/LW Theatres
04. Cameron Mackintosh, Cameron Mackintosh Ltd/Delfont Mackintosh Ltd
05. Rufus Norris and Lisa Burger, National Theatre
06. Mark Cornell, Michael Lynas, Adam Kenwright and Adam Speers, ATG
07. Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer, Nimax Theatres
08. Michael Harrison, producer
09. Jamie Lloyd, director
10. Rupert Goold, Denise Wood and Rebecca Frecknell, Almeida Theatre, London
11. Vicky Featherstone and Lucy Davies, Royal Court Theatre, London
12. Marianne Elliott and Chris Harper, Elliott and Harper Productions
13. Sarah Frankcom, Royal Exchange Manchester / LAMDA
14. Nick Starr and Nicholas Hytner, London Theatre Company / Bridge Theatre
15. Howard Panter and Rosemary Squire, Trafalgar Entertainment Group
16. Robert Hastie and Dan Bates, Sheffield Theatres
17. Matthew Bourne and Robert Noble, New Adventures
18. David Hutchinson and Phillip Rowntree, Selladoor Worldwide
19. Sharon D Clarke, actor
20. Kwame Kwei-Armah and Despina Tsatsas, Young Vic, London
21. Leonard Blavatnik and Danny Cohen, Access Entertainment
22. Kenny Wax, producer
23. Gregory Doran, Catherine Mallyon and Erica Whyman, Royal Shakespeare Company
24. Matthew Warchus and Kate Varah, Old Vic Theatre, London
25. Robert Icke, director
26. Edward Snape and Marilyn Eardley, Fiery Angel
27. Thomas Schumacher, Disney Theatricals
28. Alistair Spalding, Sadler’s Wells
29. Timothy Sheader and William Village, Regent’s Park Open Air
30. Alex Beard, Oliver Mears, Kevin O’Hare and Antonio Pappano, Royal Opera House
31. Indhu Rubasingham and Daisy Heath, Kiln Theatre, London
32. Tom Morris and Charlotte Geeves, Bristol Old Vic
33. Michael Grandage, Michael Grandage Company
34. Bill Kenwright, producer
35. Eleanor Lloyd, producer
36. Michael Longhurst and Henny Finch, Donmar Warehouse
37. Caro Newling and Sam Mendes, Neal Street Productions
38. Jonathan Sayer, Henry Shields and Henry Lewis, Mischief Theatre
39. Matthew Byam Shaw, Nia Janis, Nick Salmon, Playful Productions
40. David Byrne, New Diorama, London
41. Rachel O’Riordan and Sian Alexander, Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith
42. Nick Thomas, Qdos Entertainment
43. David Greig and Mike Griffiths, Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh
44. Nadia Fall and Eleanor Lang, Theatre Royal Stratford East
45. Nicholas Serota and Darren Henley, Arts Council England
46. Adam Penford and Stephanie Sirr, Nottingham Playhouse
47. Caryl Churchill, playwright
48. Lynette Linton and Lauren Clancy, Bush Theatre, London
49. Kate McGrath, Fuel
50. Maggie Smith, actor
51. Julian Clary, actor
52. Alan Lane, Slung Low
53. David Ian, David Ian Productions
54. Michelle Terry and Neil Constable, Shakespeare’s Globe, London
55. Andrew Miller, disability champion
56. Nikolai Foster and Chris Stafford, Leicester Curve
57. Fiona Allan, Birmingham Hippodrome
58. Emma Rice, Wise Children
59. James Dacre and Jo Gordon, Northampton Royal and Derngate
60. David Babani, Menier Chocolate Factory
61. Sarah Brigham, Derby Theatre
62. Tamara Harvey and Liam Evans-Ford, Theatr Clwyd
63. James Brining and Robin Hawkes, Leeds Playhouse
64. Daniel Evans and Kathy Bourne, Chichester Festival Theatre
65. Stuart Murphy, English National Opera
66. Steve Tompkins, Haworth Tompkins
67. Jenny Sealey, Graeae Theatre Company
68. Maureen Beattie, Equity
69. Emma Gladstone, Dance Umbrella
70. Julian Bird, Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre
71. Laura Wade, playwright
72. Lorne Campbell and Kate Denby, Northern Stage
73. Jamie Wilson, Jamie Wilson Productions
74. Tristan Baker and Olly Royds, Troubadour Theatres
75. Lolita Chakrabarti, playwright and actor
76. Simeilia Hodge Dallaway, Artistic Directors of the Future
77. Simon Friend, Simon Friend Entertainment
78. Sam Hodges, Nuffield Southampton Theatres
79. Joseph Smith and John Brant, Smith and Brant Theatricals
80. Anna Hermann and Róisín McBrinn, Clean Break
81. Julie Spencer, Arts Ed
82. Matthew Xia and Andrew Smaje, Actors Touring Company
83. Ellen McDougall and Lise Bell, Gate Theatre, London
84. Louis Hartshorn and Brian Hook, Hartshorn Hook
85. Tom Scutt, designer
86. Tarek Iskander and Rebecca Holt, Battersea Arts Centre, London
87. Paule Constable, lighting designer
88. Bunny Christie, designer
89. Joseph Houston, William Whelton and Katy Lipson, Hope Mill Theatre, Manchester
90. Daniel York Loh, campaigner, actor and writer
91. Douglas Rintoul and Mathew Russell, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch
92. Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood, Underbelly
93. David Mumeni, Open Door
94. Steven Kavuma, campaigner and director
95. Justin Audibert and Anneliese Davidsen, Unicorn Theatre
96. Elizabeth Newman and Kris Bryce, Pitlochry Festival Theatre
97. Chris Sonnex, Bunker Theatre, London
98. Cassie Raine and Anna Ehnold-Danailov, Parents & Carers in Performing Arts
99. Chris Symons, BH Live
100. Jasmine Lee Jones, playwright

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