Sir Ian McKellen Will Not Return to 'Player Kings' After Falling Off Stage

Sir Ian McKellen suffered a fall while performing in a production of 'Player Kings' on June 17.

Sir Ian McKellen will not be returning to the national tour of Player Kings after suffering a fall during the show's run at the Noël Coward Theatre in London last month.

The 85-year-old actor was starring as John Falstaff in the adaptation of parts 1 and 2 of Henry IV on June 17, when, according to the BBC, he fell off the front of the stage and cried out for help after losing his balance. 

Following his fall, the theater was evacuated and the remainder of the show was canceled. Three days later, the production announced that actor David Semark would be "playing the role of Sir John Falstaff for the final three scheduled performances of Player Kings at the Noël Coward Theatre in London while Ian McKellen recuperates following his fall."

However, on Monday, the Player Kings social media accounts announced that McKellen would not be returning for the show's national tour -- set to take place over the next month -- and that Semark would continue in the role.

"Following Ian McKellen's injury during the West End run of Player Kings, his doctors' advice is to take time off from work in order to fully recover," the show's statement read, in part. "Ian continues to recuperate very well, but he needs the time to rest and ensure a complete recovery. We continue to send him our best wishes."

McKellen also shared an update in the show's statement, saying, "Two weeks after my accident onstage, my injuries improve day by day. It's with the greatest reluctance that I have accepted the medical advice to protect my full recovery by not working in the meantime."

"I had been so looking forward to bringing Player Kings to theatre-goers in Bristol, Birmingham, Norwich and Newcastle. But I can assure them that, with David Semark now playing Falstaff, Robert Icke's production and his acting company remain as dazzling as ever. Go see for yourself!"

Sir Ian McKellen in a production of 'Player Kings' at the Noel Coward Theatre on April 11, 2024 in London, England - Hoda Davaine/Dave Benett/Getty Images

ET spoke to Veronika Muzika, who was an audience member during the incident, and she said at first she thought McKellen's accident was part of the play.

"So he fell down the orchestra pit just in front of our eyes and he was screaming something like, 'Help,' and I thought it was part of the play because there were a lot of wounded people, like, you know, it's a war act, and yeah, it was quite shocking," she said.

She continued: "He seemed like he was moving pretty OK through the stage as normal. I didn't see any kind of tripping. Maybe there was some slippery sort of fabric or something and it must have been something really, really small because he was acting and walking naturally until the last step when he actually fell and that's why I thought it was staged."

The production team behind Player Kings told ET of McKellen's on-stage fall, "Thank you to our audience and the general public for their well wishes following Ian's fall during this evening’s performance."

"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 statement continued.