SIR IAN McKellen ‘shall not pass’ through Barnsley without making a difference.

The veteran stage and screen actor, who played the wizard Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Hobbit films, is coming to The Civic in June.

The tour is part of his 80th birthday celebrations and the Lancashire-born actor is making sure he can make a difference to local theatre up and down the country.

He is donating all the profits from his Barnsley performance of his show, Ian McKellen On Stage, to the Civic’s #Connect campaign. The campaign hopes to raise £5m to renovate the building and transform it into a world class arts destination by 2023. His sold-out charitable appearance at the theatre should help with that raising approximately £6,000 towards that target goal. And that total is set to double because of match funding provided by the Arts Council.

Sir Ian said: “My current UK tour with my new solo show is visiting many places I know well, but this is my first time in Barnsley. It’s a happy opportunity to celebrate my 80th birthday by raising funds for the Civic and the #Connect Campaign.

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“The show starts with Gandalf and will probably end with an invitation to act with me on stage. In-between there will be anecdotes and acting. I open at my local arts centre in January and end up by August in Orkney.”

Sir Ian performs in Barnsley on June 11.

“Live theatre has always been thrilling to me, as an actor and in the audience,” he added.

“Growing up in Lancashire, I was grateful to those companies who toured beyond London and I’ve always enjoyed repaying that debt by touring up and down the country myself, with the RSC, the National Theatre, Prospect Theatre, the Actors’ Company, as well as with commercial productions.”

The Connect campaign would see a third of the historic grade II listed building reopened for use.

The renovation would see the opening of an Eldon Street box office and cafe and three unused floors put into use as an extended gallery and new theatre space.

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