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This week’s #MondayMemories come to us from none other than Sir Ian McKellen who brought his 80th birthday one-man show tour to Lighthouse last year in one of the most memorable nights our Theatre has ever hosted. After the show he remembered the first time he trod its boards... 

Just a couple of months after Poole Arts Centre opened, from 24 to 29 July 1978, it played host to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s small-scale tour featuring Twelfth Night directed by Jon Amiel, and Chekhov’s Three Sisters directed by Trevor Nunn, as well as And is There Honey Still for Tea?, an anthology of Englishness compiled by company member Roger Rees.   

In Twelfth Night Sir Ian had to make an entrance through the theatre, but even though he was in full costume an over-zealous usherette refused him entry – because he didn’t have a ticket! 

“When I played here forty years ago it was only a few weeks old. I played Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night with my great friend Edward Petherbridge as Orsino. As we left the stage I called out above the din: ‘We’ll be back’ and he looked at me and said: ‘Liar!’  

Well, it may have taken forty years, but I shall have to call Edward to tell him I made it back to Poole!” 

Published 27 July 2020