Asked by The Scotsman recently whether more shows should premiere regionally, the veteran actor said: "Of course they should … Ian and I have often commented that our first experiences of the best of British theatre were seen in touring houses, he in Manchester and myself in Leeds or Bradford … We always saw the first-team cast.
“I understand that Calendar Girls has just gone into town after a very successful regional run. Perhaps that and Waiting For Godot will encourage actors and producers to do what we have done. Everybody is going to benefit."
Both Stewart and McKellen have loudly championed regional theatres in the past, with McKellen famously renouncing the West End to head for a season of “proper theatre” at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in 1998 (See The Goss, 28 Nov 2001).
Waiting for Godot opened at Malvern Theatres on 5 March and has visited Milton Keynes Brighton, Bath, Norwich, Edinburgh and Newcastle (See Show Pics, 23 Mar 2009). It opens at London's Theatre Royal Haymarket on 6 May (previews from 30 April).