2: We develop the stars of the future
Since first opening in 1958, the Belgrade has played an important role in developing creative professionals. In the ’60s and ’70s, Coventry was the place to be if you were an aspiring young actor. The work that we produce today is once again challenging the boundaries of British theatre and the actors that we are working with today will be the UK’s much loved and respected performers in 20 years’ time. We are heavily investing in the future of British arts.
Ian McKellen: It all started for Sir Ian McKellen in 1961 when he got his first job in a Belgrade production of A Man for All Seasons. He went on to appear in 15 Belgrade productions before moving on to perform in theatres around the country including the National Theatre and the RSC.
Throughout his career he has also appeared in numerous Hollywood blockbusters such as X-Men, Gods and Monsters, for which his performance was Oscar-nominated, and the multi-award winning Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Recalling his time at the Belgrade Theatre, Sir Ian said the Belgrade “offered me the highest salary of eight pounds and ten shillings a week to play as cast. I had a wonderful time; I relished having such a wide range of roles from Shakespeare and Agatha Christie to Chekhov, and working with some fantastic people like Leonard Rossiter.”