Written by Bernard Shaw
Directed by Terrence Hardiman
Ian McKellen in the role of King Magnus
ADC Theatre, Cambridge
28 October 1958 - 29 October 1958
Words from Ian McKellen
The Amateur Dramatic Club, with its own theatre in Park Street, admitted new members with an audition before the undergraduate Committee. My classical piece, picked from a list of suggestions, was Aaron cradling his child. I’d admired Anthony Quayle’s blacked-up Moor in the Brook/Olivier “Titus Andronicus”, with Vivien Leigh and the Royal Shakespeare Company. I may have adopted a cod accent as Aaron and the general marking of the Committee was negative. Then I did a speech of Archie Rice’s father from the current hit “Look Back in Anger” and somehow impressed John Barton, lay dean of King’s College and expert on Elizabethan theatre, who persuaded the rest into admitting me.
Once in, the new members were expected to appear in one of the six Nursery Productions, directed by 2nd or 3rd year members and presented on a couple of nights on the ADC’s stage. Our director, Terrence Hardiman, now a pro, gave me the peach of a chance to show off. Shaw can take over-acting, as long as the words are clear. I managed that. More accomplished I thought was Anthony Arlidge, now Queen’s Counsel at Middle Temple, as the American ambassador. — Ian McKellen, December 2006