The Theatre Royal tried a month or two ago with the "Bolshoi Ballet" but, because of poor support, has apparently reverted to giving Bolton only what it deserves (showing this week is "Bride of the Monster," certified "X"). The secret of acting is to be as natural and relaxed as possible and to absorb yourself fully in the character.

Web design & engineering by Codebase Consulting. During that time, he appeared in many stage shows.

During this time, without any contact with the burgeoning gay rights movement, he was openly gay at home and at work. This converted Edwardian house had an auditorium for 50 adoring parents and a tiny stage for puppetry, one-act entertainments in French or translated from the Greek or written especially by the masters.

He walked to school, from the family four-bedroomed semi-detached house (circa 1929) opposite Mesnes Park and backing onto Wigan Cricket Club's grounds. View a gallery of photos of Sir Ian's visit here. Bolton School, where McKellen was a scholar, further encouraged the tyro actor at the Hopefield Miniature Theatre. The glamourof childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast.Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past.

Now I am nothing to the School but a face among 800 others on the four feet of photograph hanging in the corridor, a name set down in gold on the lasting pillars of the Monitors' Board.

The students performed admirably and Sir Ian congratulated them on their work. Perhaps the Hippodrome Company might begin to look around for a play as good as "Hindle Wakes" and "Rebecca" were in their own day. I remember the twice-yearly fair on the market place and the time I disobeyed my mother by going on the roundabouts when infantile paralysis was spreading in Lancashire. In the evening, he saw Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh, Charles Laughton, Edith Evans, Peggy Ashcroft, John Gielgud, Paul Robeson in Shakespeare and, round the camp-stove, learnt to express why not all the productions were good. So there is the annual delight of entering a new form each September. When Ian was of age to begin attending school, he made sure to get roles in all of the productions. The Christmas mornings with the Salvation Army band at the end of the street blowing away the cold and the quiet with "Christians Awake!".

I had far rather watch the play of my life than take the title role. At all his schools he acted, most crucially for Frank Greene, the senior English master who directed the annual, spring-term Bolton School classical play in the main hall, seating 800 people.

This converted Edwardian house had an auditorium for 50 adoring parents and a tiny stage for puppetry, one-act entertainments in French or translated from the Greek or written especially by the masters.

Others at Cambridge planning show business careers, were David Frost (with Ian in Nigel Dennis's Cards of Identity); Trevor Nunn(in Marlowe's Dr. Faustus at the open-air theatre of Stratford-upon-Avon 1960); Margaret Drabble (in Shakespeare's Cymbeline and Richard Cottrell's first play Deutsches Haus at the Arts Theatre, Ian's first appearance on the London stage).

He then regaled the boys with a whole host of tips on acting as did his companion for the day, fellow actor Antony Cotton (who plays Sean Tully in Coronation Street). The teachers were very enthusiastic and I learnt that acting was an honourable thing to do and not just something for oddballs.

), "In my case, it was my father and not my mother who played the piano. He and Margery Lois (nee Sutcliffe) already had a five-year-old daughter Jean.

I am infinitely jealous of those young boys because they have before them what I have now behind me.