Ian McKellen has become the first actor to top The Stage 100 list of the most influential people in British theatre.
Marking his 80th birthday, McKellen visited 80 venues of all sizes across the UK, culminating in a run at the Harold Pinter Theatre in London’s West End.
All profits were donated to the venues and theatre charities – with McKellen having raised more than £4 million across the tour and West End run.
McKellen said: “It’s been a joyful year taking my show to 87 theatres up and down the country and meeting audiences of all ages, who relish live theatre as much as I do.
“All profits have stayed with the local theatres and finally, at the Harold Pinter Theatre, we’ve contributed to national theatre charities, from the National Youth Theatre to Denville Hall, where old colleagues end their days.
“I thank The Stage for putting me at the top of their list for 2020, an honour I share with the brilliant production team from ATG.”
The Stage’s editor, Alistair Smith, said: “It is hard to imagine another performer who could have pulled off such a feat, nor one who would have even thought of trying to.
“The tour was more than a celebration of Ian McKellen’s illustrious career, it was a love letter to theatre itself, and more specifically to local theatre. It was also an act of supreme generosity – the money he has raised will leave a very tangible legacy.”
McKellen replaces theatre architect Steve Tompkins in the number one spot.
The second, third and fourth spots in The Stage 100 remain dominated by producers Sonia Friedman, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cameron Macintosh, respectively.
The number of entries featuring a woman make up exactly half the list, compared to 54% in 2019, while the number of top 20 entries featuring a woman remains at 10.
Others who have risen considerably include Cyrano de Bergerac director Jamie Lloyd, who has leapt up 23 places to position nine, and Emilia producer Eleanor Lloyd (35), who has propelled up the list by 47 places.
The number of figures from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds this year has risen to 14, compared to 13 last year.
Among these are new entrants Steven Kavuma, founder of the Diversity School Initiative, and activist, actor and playwright Daniel York Loh, both of whom are recognised for their work to improve representation within the industry.
Other new entrants in The Stage 100 include Sheffield Theatre’s Robert Hastie and Dan Bates (16), David Greig and Mike Griffiths at Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh (43), Fuel’s Kate McGrath (49), designer Bunny Christie (88), Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch’s Douglas Rintoul and Mathew Russell (91) and Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Elizabeth Newman and Kris Bryce (96).