Sir Ian McKellen 'looking forward to returning to work' as he thanks NHS staff for help after falling off West End stage

18 June 2024, 20:37 | Updated: 18 June 2024, 21:09

Sir Ian McKellen was taken to hospital after he fell from the stage during a West End performance
Sir Ian McKellen was taken to hospital after he fell from the stage during a West End performance. Picture: Getty

By Emma Soteriou

Sir Ian McKellen has said he is "looking forward to returning to work" as he thanked NHS staff for their help after falling off stage.

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The 85-year-old actor was rushed to hospital after falling during a fight scene on Monday night.

He is currently appearing as John Falstaff in Player Kings - a production of Shakespeare's Henry IV - at the Noel Coward Theatre.

Sharing an update on Twitter, he said: "I want to thank everyone for their kind messages and support.

"Since the accident, during a performance of Player Kings last night, my injuries have been diagnosed and treated by a series of experts, specialists and nurses working for the National Health Service.

"To them, of course, I am hugely indebted. They have assured me that my recovery will be complete and speedy and I am looking forward to returning to work."

Sir Ian was circling a battle scene involving the Prince of Wales and Henry Percy, when he fell, it is understood.

He is said to have cried out in pain as the house lights quickly came up.

The incident occurred just 10 minutes before the interval.

Read more: Sir Ian McKellen 'in good spirits' and expected to make 'speedy and full recovery' after falling off stage

Sir Ian McKellen at the curtain call during the press night performance of "Player Kings"
Sir Ian McKellen at the curtain call during the press night performance of "Player Kings". Picture: Getty

A spokesperson for the theatre said on Monday: "Thank you to our audience and the general public for their well wishes following Ian's fall during this evening's performance of Player Kings.

"Following a scan, the brilliant NHS team have assured us that he will make a speedy and full recovery and Ian is in good spirits.

"The production has made the decision to cancel the performance on Tuesday June 18 so Ian can rest. Those affected will be contacted by their point of purchase as soon as possible tomorrow.

"Thank you to doctors Rachel and Lee who were on hand in the audience and to all the venue staff for their support."

The audience was evacuated from the theatre on Monday night, with the rest of the show being cancelled.

Read more: Dario G star Paul Spencer dies aged 53 following cancer diagnosis

Read more: Sir Ian McKellen rushed to hospital after falling off stage during West End performance

One audience member tweeted that they witnessed the actor "severely injure himself".

Audience member Paul Critchley said it was a "shock" to witness Sir Ian fall from the stage.

"Sir Ian seemed to trip as he moved downstage to take a more active part in the scene," Mr Critchley said. "He picked up momentum as he moved downstage which resulted in him falling off the stage directly in front of the audience.

"The house lights came up very quickly as the stage management and front of house team dealt with the incident. We were evacuated immediately so that Sir Ian could be treated in privacy.

"An announcement was made by theatre management that the show had been cancelled, that Sir Ian was receiving treatment and an ambulance had been called.

"It was a shock to witness his fall and I wish him a speedy recovery. My thoughts are also with his fellow cast members, stage crew and front of house team at the Noel Coward Theatre."

Sir Ian McKellen
Sir Ian McKellen. Picture: Getty

Another audience member, Charlie Johnson, told LBC News: "Sir Ian started screaming ‘help me, help me’ – he was clearly in a lot of pain.

"It became apparent that something really terrible had happened."

He said, initially, only the first two rows were evacuated before the whole theatre was emptied out.

People were seen in tears as they awaited updates on the situation.

Player Kings, a production of Henry IV, parts one and two, adapted and directed by Robert Icke, is due to move to the Bristol Hippodrome in July and will also be staged in Birmingham, Norwich and Newcastle.

Sir Ian's representatives have been approached for comment.

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