END OF CONFLICT
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.