Sheffield theatre to welcome knights of British stage

Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, who are co-starring on the Sheffield Lyceum stage in August
Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, who are co-starring on the Sheffield Lyceum stage in August
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Masters of British theatre Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart return to the UK stage in Harold Pinter’s masterpiece, No Man’s Land which opens its tour at the Lyceum Theatre in August ahead of a short West End run.

Patrick Stewart, famous worldwide as Captain Jean Luc Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation and as Professor X in the X-Men, said he had fond memories of the city and the Lyceum.

"Sheffield is very important to me, because it was at the old Sheffield Rep that I got my first full acting job. I'd been an assistant stage manager at Lincoln and then I got a call from Sheffield.

"I think I played the boyfriend in The Reluctant Debutant. I had a hairpiece. It was lovely. And I know the Lyceum as the location where I saw most of the pantomimes of my teenage years."

Patrick, who was born in Mirfield, West Yorkshire, plays ageing writer Hirst, who one sumer evening meets his friend Spooner, played by Ian McKellen, in a Hampstead pub.

They continue their drinking into the night at Hirst’s stately house nearby. As the pair become increasingly inebriated, and their stories increasingly unbelievable, the lively conversation soon turns into a revealing power game, further complicated by the return home of two sinister younger men.

Multi-award-winning Ian McKellen has had a 55-year career on stage and on screen, creating many great Shakespearean roles. He gained his first Oscar nomination for Gods and Monsters and his second for Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He is Magneto to Patrick Stewart’s Xavier in the X-Men movies and most recently starred on screen in Mr Holmes

Directed by Sean Mathias, this production of No Man’s Land received highly acclaimed reviews at the Cort Theatre in New York whilst in repertory alongside Waiting for Godot, also starring the duo and directed by Mathias

Ian McKellen said: "Playing Spooner to Patrick’s Hirst on Broadway was a constant joy, which is why I am delighted to be back with him.

"I love touring. It goes back to my youth. If you were brought up as I was in south Lancashire, there were local theatres doing plays but it was at the touring theatres in Manchester and Liverpool that I saw the leading actors of my youth.

"It's not so common now but I think it's so important. Actors are rogues and vagabonds, we should be on the road. And the welcome is always magnificent, people really appreciate it that you've come to their region."

No Man’s Land is at the Lyceum Theatre from Wednesday, August 3 to Saturday 13.

Tickets go on general sale from 10am on Saturday 19 March from the Sheffield Theatres Box Office in-person, by phone on 0114 249 6000 or online at sheffieldtheatres.co.uk