The Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch experienced a significant moment in its 65 year history this week, as Sir Ian McKellen graced its stage for two consecutive evenings to raise funds for the theatre’s QNew Transformation programme.

The evenings raised an incredible £46,000.

Regarded as one of Britain’s greatest screen and stage actors, Ian McKellen is best known for his history of Shakespeare stage roles as well as starring in films such as X-Men and Lord of the Rings. He performed his warm and humorous new solo show on Sunday, February 24, and Monday, February 25, as part of his Ian McKellen On Stage tour to celebrate his 80th birthday.

Ian McKellen presented a highly entertaining evening talking about his experiences on film sets, acting a selection of famous Shakespeare speeches and even performing a sketch as a panto dame. He then generously helped with a bucket collection post-show and spent time meeting with fans and taking selfies.

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Mathew Russell, Executive Director of the Queen’s Theatre, said: “It was one of the highlights of the theatre’s illustrious history as Ian McKellen took to our stage to raise funds for QNew, and celebrate our last 65 years. We’re so proud that Ian chose us as a venue to perform his once in a lifetime event, but even prouder that he came back to do the whole thing over again!”

QNew is an exciting programme of building improvements which will allow the theatre to make high quality theatre in developed spaces, work with more young people and community groups, offer an increasingly comfortable experience to audiences, be more open and accessible to D/deaf and disabled people, and keep the theatre alive as a safe and environmentally friendly community hub, well into the future.

For more information about the Queen’s Theatre or QNew visit