"Bolton School was such a large part of my life. I can safely say that I would not be doing what I do for a living if it wasn’t for the vibrant arts scene at the school and the encouragement that I was given."

Neil Eckersley, Former Pupil and Theatre Producer

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Sir Ian McKellen - Actor and Old Boy

I remember my days at school vividly and with great affection.  I used to love going back to school at this time of year.  Even now I think how excited pupils must be as they go back to school.  The school has a great tradition in the liberal arts and I spent a lot of my time performing drama.  All the other boys would be off playing football or cricket but I did an awful lot of acting - French plays, Greek plays, short plays - one a term and an annual production in the Great Hall.  The teachers were very enthusiastic and I learnt that acting was an honourable thing to do and not just something for oddballs.  I performed my first Shakespeare at Bolton School as Malvolio in Twelfth Night.  I've always acted for the love of it and this first love was inspired at Hopefield, which was the school's theatre at the time - an old Edwardian house on Chorley New Road.  If this drama studio has the spirit of Hopefield, then it is a wonderful asset.

Sir Ian McKellen addressing the boys when he returned to the School to name the boys' drama studio, The McKellen Theatre. Read the full story here.