Ian McKellen Stage
Entry into Harfleur, Ian McKellen (centre) with other members of the cast.
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Next Play:
UNDER MILK WOOD

HENRY V (1963)

Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Robert Chetwyn
Ian McKellen in the role of King Henry
Arts Theatre, Ipswich, Suffolk
5 February 1963 - 23 February 1963

Words from Ian McKellen

We had very few soldiers. So I imagined that the army were in the audience and I knelt down at the front of the stage and whipsered, "Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more / Or close the wall up with our English dead." I was able to get just as much passion into that and bravado and patriotism by whispering as I could by shouting. In fact I think I got more because it felt more real.

This was my second go at Henry V, after a school production in 1957.

Robert Chetwyn, our director, had acted in the recent Birmingham Rep production, with Albert Finney as King Henry - I suspect he filched a few production ideas including addressing the audience as the English troops.
Comments and Reviews
First professional leading role in a play by Shakespeare.