McKellen blasts acting standards

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The Independent Culture

Britain's reputation for world-class theatre is being jeopardised by declining acting standards, according to Sir Ian McKellen.

The Olivier Award-winner blames this on the demise of amateur dramatics and the increasingly competitive culture in drama schools. "Amateur theatre has underpinned all theatre in this country and the chance to act with others is useful," he told The Observer.

McKellen argued that many young actors are driven by fame and money, rather than a love of their profession: "Standards of performance are being reduced. Once someone declares they are a professional actor, they can now perform wherever they want. There is no system any more."