Sir Ian McKellen in hospital after falling off stage

Sir Ian is playing the role of Falstaff
Sir Ian is playing the role of Falstaff in Player Kings, an adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry IV

Sir Ian McKellen is in “good spirits” and is expected to “make a speedy and full recovery” after he fell from the stage during a West End performance, a theatre spokesperson has confirmed.

The Lord Of The Rings actor, 85, who is currently playing John Falstaff in a production of Player Kings at the Noel Coward Theatre, was in a fight scene when he lost his footing and fell from the stage during Monday evening’s performance.

“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,” a spokesperson for the London theatre said in a statement to the PA news agency.

“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.”

Sir Ian is expected to next appear in Wednesday’s matinee performance of the production.

The statement also thanked doctors Rachel and Lee who were “on hand in the audience” and to the venue staff “for their support”.

After the accident, audience members were informed that the remainder of the evening performance had been cancelled and they were evacuated from the premises.

A BBC journalist who saw the play said the veteran stage and screen actor was in a scene involving the Prince of Wales and Henry Percy when he fell off the front of the stage.

The actor was heard to cry out as staff rushed to help.

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

Audience members expressed their shock at the fall on social media.

Sir Ian as Falstaff in Player Kings
Sir Ian as Falstaff in Player Kings - MANUEL HARLAN

Paul Critchley, a Methodist minister from Downham Market, Norfolk, told the PA news agency: “Sir Ian seemed to trip as he moved downstage to take a more active part in the scene. He picked up momentum as he moved downstage which resulted in him falling off the stage directly in front of the audience.”

One audience member posted on Twitter: “Just witnessed an awful accident with Sir Ian McKellen tripping off the stage in London. We are all in shock and tears.”

Another wrote on the social media site: “Audience shocked by Sir Ian McKellen’s fall off stage tonight at Noel Coward Theatre. Staff working hard to help him. Thoughts with him, cast and crew.”

One member of the audience told the BBC the incident was “very shocking”.

“I really hope that he is going to be alright,” Sandro Trapani said.

Sir Ian’s career has spanned more than six decades and seen the actor perform at theatres around the country.

On screen he is most known for playing Magneto in the X-Men films and Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s fantasy trilogy, based on the books from JRR Tolkien.

On the stage he has played a number of Shakespearean characters including Richard II, Macbeth, Coriolanus, and King Lear.

His many acting credits have led to a number of accolades over the years including several Olivier Awards.

The actor was knighted in 1991 for services to theatre and was later appointed a Companion of Honour for services to drama and equality by the late Queen in 2008.

Five years ago, Sir Ian was forced to cancel a King Lear showing at a matinee performance at London’s Duke of York theatre after he sustained a leg injury as he ran to catch a train, but audience members were not disappointed as he treated them to an impromptu Q&A instead.

Sir Ian’s representatives have been approached for comment.