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Tue 14 Aug 2007

Where: St James Theatre, 77-87 Courtenay Place, Wellington

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Listed by: SWPR Ltd

“Trevor Nunn has scored a direct hit with a Seagull suffused in romantic melancholia and darkened by middle-aged sexual scheming... Romola Garai’s Nina is a revelation... The supporting performances reach superlative heights” - Evening Standard

“Nunn directs an unexpectedly rollicking production…Frances Barber sets the tone as a hilarious Arkadina…Again and again in this show … Nunn and his company combine wild laughter with bitter tears” - Daily Telegraph

Internationally-acclaimed actor Ian McKellen, will lead the renowned Royal Shakespeare Company in two new productions of classic theatre for a limited season at the Westpac St James Theatre, Wellignton in August.
The Westpac St James Theatre presents The Royal Shakespeare Company's productions of Shakespeare's King Lear and Chekhov's The Seagull from August 11-14 for four perfomances only as part of the Museum Hotel International Winter Season.
The Royal Shakespeare Company's productions of King Lear and The Seagull reunite Ian McKellen and director Trevor Nunn, two of the towering figures of British theatre, with the RSC for the first time in 17 years. Their work together at the celebrated company during the 70s and 80s, with McKellen starring and Nunn directing, was considered a golden period.
"To play King Lear is the greatest of acting challenges. I am fortunate to be with such talented old and new colleagues who relish the play as much as I do. Bringing our production, along with The Seagull, to Wellington will only add to the excitement of being back with the Royal Shakespeare Company in the job of a lifetime," says McKellen.
And McKellen adds he is looking forward to returning to New Zealand. "I made few requests in planning the tour, but one was that the RSC should return to the welcome of New Zealand, where I spent one of my happiest and most fulfilling years as an actor filming Lord of the Rings."
Although McKellen has appeared in two previous productions of King Lear it has never been in the title role. Says Nunn, "I have been looking forward to the fulfilment of the vow Ian McKellen and I made that one day we would do King Lear together."
Described by the Mail on Sunday (UK) as "one of the leading creative artists of our time," McKellen has had a stellar career on stage and, more recently, screen. Most widely known as Gandalf in the blockbuster trilogy Lord of the Rings, McKellen's other film credits include the X-Men trilogy, The Da Vinci Code, Gods and Monsters and Richard III.
Trevor Nunn was one of the RSC's most visionary and creative artistic directors during his period at the company from 1968 to 1987. Apart from the landmark seasons of Shakespeare, Nunn was also responsible for the brilliant production of Dicken's Nicholas Nickleby, which he co-directed with John Caird. He went on to be a director at the National Theatre in London, and has had an extremely successful transition to the commercial sector with Cats (1981) and the first English production of Les Mis鲡bles (1985). His recent credits include Tom Stoppard's new play Rock ?n' Roll, currently playing in London's West End, and Porgy and Bess which opened at the Savoy in London in November 2006.
In The Seagull McKellen plays Sorin, a role he will alternate with well-known theatre, film and television actor William Gaunt. The lead role of Arkadina will be performed by Frances Barber and the cast also features Romola Garai, currently starring in the film Amazing Grace, as Nina.
This much anticipated season of King Lear and The Seagull debuted at the RSC at Stratford-upon-Avon in March. The production comes to New Zealand direct from England via Singapore and Melbourne prior to a debut season in New York.
Tickets for The Royal Shakespeare Company's productions of King Lear and The Seagull are on sale through Ticketek.

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