Ian McKellen Cancels Final Player Kings Performances After Fall

Ian McKellen Cancels Final Player Kings

Richard Coyle (L) and Sir Ian McKellen.
Hoda Davaine/Dave Benett/Getty Images

Ian McKellen will sit out the final three performances of Player Kings as he recovers from falling off the stage during a show on June 17.

McKellen, 85, was performing a battle scene when he lost his footing, according to the BBC. He was rushed to the hospital as the Noël Coward Theatre canceled the remainder of the show. Performances remained on hold until Thursday, June 20, when the theater announced that David Semark would replace him for the end of the show’s 12-week West End run.

“David Semark will be playing the role of Sir John Falstaff for the final three scheduled performances of Player Kings at the Noel Coward Theater in London while Ian McKellen recuperates from his fall on Monday 17 June,” the theater’s statement read. “We look forward to Ian returning to the production, which begins a national tour in Bristol on Wednesday 3 July, before visiting Birmingham, Norwich and Newcastle.”

The day after his fall, McKellen took to X to thank fans for their support and update them on his recovery.

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“I want to thank everyone for their kind messages and support,” he wrote. “Since the accident, during a performance of Player Kings last night, my injuries have been diagnosed and treated by a series of experts, specialists and nurses working for the National Health Service. To them, of course, I am hugely indebted. They have assured me that my recovery will be complete and speedy and I am looking forward to returning to work.”

Journalist Charlie Johnson, who was at the performance the night of McKellen’s fall, reported that the actor “could be heard screaming in pain as ushers rushed to his aid” and that it appeared he “severely” injured himself.

McKellen, who was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1991, is a veteran of British theater. A six-time Olivier Award winner, he is known for his roles in revivals of Shakespeare plays. This isn’t the first time one has led McKellen to injury, either. In 2018, he hurt his leg while running to catch a train en route to play King Lear at London’s Duke of York Theatre.

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When his leg injury rendered him unable to perform, McKellen instead conducted a Q&A with theatergoers.

Off the stage, McKellen has also made a name in film, playing major roles like Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings franchise and Magneto in X-Men.

McKellen expects to return to the stage when the Player Kings national tour begins in July.

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