Remembering when Sir Ian McKellen visited Cotswold Playhouse

He visited in October 2009 to open the new extension to the Cotswold Playhouse, before watching its production of Chekhov’s The Seagull.

Sir Ian, who came to Stroud as patron of the Little Theatre Guild, unveiled a plaque, toured the building, mingled with guests and congratulated the play’s cast and crew.

Speaking on the evening he said: “I would like to say how magnificent the extension and alterations are.

“The building seems so seamless – it seems to have come together so beautifully.”

Sir Ian also reassured the Cotswold Players that although he had acted in The Seagull several times, he was ‘in the worst production there has ever been of the play at the Royal Shakespeare Company’.

Sir Ian McKellen during his speech at the Cotswold Playhouse in Stroud where he opened new extension in 2009

Sir Ian McKellen during his speech at the Cotswold Playhouse in Stroud where he opened new extension in 2009

Patrick Howell, former chairman of the Cotswold Players who invited Sir Ian to open the extension, reported afterwards: “The evening Sir Ian spent at the Playhouse was a huge success.

“He toured the theatre, chatted to members and invited guests, signed autographs and posed for any number of photographs.

“Sir Ian has, over the years, played three different characters in various productions of The Seagull so was keen to go backstage to meet director, cast and crew – a great thrill for them all.”

Following a closure of almost 18 months, the Playhouse is set to reopen in July. The Players are heavily involved in three productions, all in socially-distanced rehearsals.

Sep 10 – 12

Well That Was Different, two short plays written by CP member, Philip Douch, as part of the 75th anniversary of Stroud Theatre Festival

Sep 20 – 25

Peace in our Time by Noël Coward, in association with Stroud Choral Society and the Capriol Chamber Orchestra. This will be performed on Sep 20/21 at St. Laurence Church and then Sep 23/25 at the Playhouse.

Nov 18/20 and 24/27

Nell Gwynn by Jessica Swale. This production reached its Dress Rehearsal the day before the first Covid lockdown was announced in March 2020.

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