Written by Barry England

Directed by Anthony Richardson

Ian McKellen in the role of Simon Mason

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

27 November 1961 - 2 December 1961


Words from Ian McKellen

Only one week's run for this new play. But it gave me my first leading part with the company and I relished the responsibility. The Coventry Evening Telegraph summed it up: "The young officer, excellently played with the zeal and doggedness of youth by Ian McKellen, is posted to a detached unit in China and at once antagonises many of his fellow officers by opposition to Service practice."

I had been called up for my two years compulsory National Service in 1958, after leaving school at 19. I applied to be a conscientious objector (like my father and grandfather before me) and was given deferment until after my three years at university. By 1961, my age group was excused National Service, which by then was being run down.

Comments and Reviews

World premiere of army play. First time McKellen was seen by Elspeth Cochrane, later to become his first agent.


Banner photo: L to R: Richard Aylen, John Bryans, Ian McKellen, Mark Eden

End of Conflict was my first time in military uniform onstage. I learnt the basics of soldierly mien and drill, which have been constantly useful since.


Full Cast List