To celebrate his 80th birthday this year, Ian McKellen – best known for playing Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings – is touring to raise funds for 80 theatres across the UK.  The Lyric Theatre was one of the lucky venues to be chosen as part of the tour this July, and Ian is kindly donating all profits from the performances to the Lyric’s ambitious and vital fundraising campaign in support of our Creative Learning Department, New Playwrights Programme and our internship scheme.

IAN MCKELLEN ON STAGE. Photo credit Oliver Rosser, Feast Creative (1)

The Lyric Theatre is the creative hub for theatre-making and nurturing talent in Northern Ireland, and our mission is to create, entertain, and inspire the next generation of theatre-makers and theatre-goers.

This week, applications for an Assistant Director and a Production Intern at the Lyric have opened, both posts funded by the tour, giving a unique opportunity for the successful applicants to gain invaluable experience working in a full-time producing theatre.

Ian McKellen says about his sold-out show which takes place at the Lyric on 25th and 26th July:

“I’ve presented previous solo shows in Belfast, but this will be my début at the Lyric. I wanted to include Northern Ireland in the tour celebrating my 80th birthday as my ancestors lived close by 200 years ago. Profits will go towards a technical apprenticeship, the New Playwright mentor programme and a trainee director scheme.”

Executive Producer at the Lyric, Jimmy Fay commented:

“We are delighted that Ian has chosen the Lyric Theatre to be part of his 80th birthday tour and welcome the opportunity to continue nurturing local talent.  As Northern Ireland’s only full time producing theatre we strive to be a creative hub for theatre-making, nurturing talent, and promoting the critical role of the arts in society.  This funding has allowed us to create two new, exciting roles that will provide vital hands on experience for individuals hoping to work in theatre.”

Applications for the two new Lyric Theatre posts are now open, with applications to be submitted before Tuesday 16th July at 5pm.  Visit to find out more information and apply.

Performances run from 25-26 July.  For more information visit

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