What a Night!

A report from a local in New Zealand:

I travelled to Wellington to see Ian McKellen’s one man show in support of a theatre in Christchurch which miraculously survived the big quake but the 10,000 after shocks has left the building needing a lot of expensive repair. My sister lives in Wellington so I was staying with her and she was coming to the show with me. There were rumours that the cast of the Hobbit would attend but I tried not to get my hopes up.

We arrived at the theatre and positioned ourselves on the stairs so we could see who was arriving. First we saw Martin Freeman and shortly thereafter Richard Armitage. He had a quiet demeanour and although he greeted some friends was left alone by the people in the lobby. He has a bit more hair on top, dark, and the beard is as we have seen before, perhaps a bit bushier. I think he was wearing the Spooks series 8 jacket – the one with leather trim along the raised collar. He was also wearing a thick black long sleeved Tshirt and black jeans. He took his seat a few rows back from the rest of the cast which seemed to include most of the kiwis, and Aidan Turner, Billy Connolly, James Nesbitt and Luke Evans. I was in the circle and couldn’t actually see him from my seat.

The show started and it was a magical show. It was definitely an audience who knew their Shakespeare and of course NZers are as fond of Sir Ian as he is of NZ. The first half of the show began with a passage from The Hobbit, and then he talked about JRR Tolkein and previous Hobbit productions, and wielded his sword which is very large and very beautiful. He then admitted that there are 2 versions of the sword, an aluminum one for fighting and a heavier one for ceremonial occasions. The audience was then invited to ask him any questions they liked, and it was a very merry story telling session until intermission.

Spotted RA again (it is helpful that he is tall) but he did not stay in the lobby long.There were a lot of people in the lobby, and I was feeling rather shy myself, so didn’t approach him.

The 2nd half of the show was all about Shakespeare with soliloquies from a number of plays. The audience loved it and there were some spellbinding moments.

AND THEN he invited the Hobbit cast on stage. I’m sure you can guess who waited at the back of the queue as they all climbed the stairs to the stage, and there was quite a number. RA was holding a collection bucket, as were other cast members and I started to get a nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach. Members of the audience were then also invited on stage and Ian gave them some instructions we could not hear. What he was telling them to do was to fall down as if dead at a particular point in the next speech, which is what they all did. I took a video with my pretty poor camera which is now on You Tube. The One Ring Site has one with better audio, and the bows at the end, but mine has lightly more RA:

And then the show ended. We headed out to the lobby, and there were members of the cast with buckets collecting but no sign of RA. Luke Evans, James Nesbitt and Aidan Turner I spotted, but where was RA? After a bit of waiting we decided he must still be in the theatre stalls area, and headed in there. There was a large queue waiting to talk to Martin Freeman but only about half a dozen talking to RA. He was chatting to an expat English family while they all took photos with him. And then it was my turn. Summoning my courage I asked him if he would sign my book, a copy of The Hobbit of course. He said “Good book” and I said I had thought I should read it before the film came out. He asked me my name, and then said he would also put his character’s name after his signature in the book (being an unassuming chap he thought I wouldn’t already know-as if!). I asked if he had enjoyed his time in NZ, and he said he loved New Zealand. I said that I really enjoyed his performances and he said “oh bless you”. I then asked how much longer he would be Thorin and he said about a month. At this point (and yes, I did make a donation in the bucket while all this was going on) I was too shy to ask for a photo, but I was so thrilled to have had a short conversation with him that it felt like an imposition to ask him for a photo as well as the autograph. I wished him good luck with the rest of the filming, and moved on.

I think he may be very tired as they near the end of filming as he was very still. There was not an ounce of “movie star” in his manner. I wouldn’t say he was shy, but certainly not someone to push himself forward.


Thank you NZfan!

I feel the urge to start making grand pronouncements about this wonderful fellow we’ve all decided to follow, but I’ll try to refrain for now. Maybe our friend in New Zealand will be so kind as to fill us in on some things if we ask nicely. :D


  1. Thankyou, thankyou, NZfanofRA!!! It’s always fabulous to hear reports from people fortunate to have met Richard, since vicariously is the only way I’ll ever get to experience it. Congratulations on staying upright while talking to him! I would probably be reduced to a babbling puddle of goo at his feet!!!

  2. What a wonderful and magical evening you had, thanks for sharing. I love that Richard is not all “famous/movie -ish” I have a smile from ear to ear reading your story, thanks again ☺

  3. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I am sure Richard would not have minded having a photo with you. Maybe next time you see him you will not be so shy. Sounds like it was a wonderful evening. T hanks again for letting us in on your evening. :)

  4. Lucky, lucky woman! Love reading this! Thanks!

  5. Lovely! Thank you for sharing.

  6. Me again. Have now seen photos on twitter but he did not really look the way these show him. He was not tanned, or shiny. He has a beautiful skin, much paler than the photos suggest, and his eyes are paler but equally as arresting as Lucas North’s. He is also more slender than the photos or the video suggest. You have to look a bit harder with the beard, but he is beautiful.

  7. Beautiful report! The man really is an original! Certainly the most humble actor I’ve ever followed.

  8. […] back to the dwarf-obsessed (or at least those obsessed with a certain dwarf lord), here is an account posted by RAFrenzy from a NZ based Richard Armitage fan, and her own video […]

  9. Thanks for sharing your story with us NZfan. I also liked your further clarification of in person Richard vs how he appears in the photos that are appearing LOL.

  10. Awesome to read your account of it as well :D It certainly was an amazing night!! And thanks to you, I shall pay a lot more attention to Richard Armitage from now on… heheee ;)

  11. I’ll go out on a limb and say you will not regret it, Brionyjae. :D

  12. Heheee, I think you might just be right! ;) And also, I completely know how you felt, being too shy to ask him! I definitely almost was too shy to ask Martin Freeman, but I just HAD to, I would have been really sad with myself if I hadn’t xD :)

  13. This was so wonderful to read! I am very grateful to find out a bit more about RA in real life. I am always so pleased to hear that he is even better than I could imagine! :)

  14. […] gibt es unter anderem hier, hier, hier und hier. Einen ausführlichen AUgenzeugenbericht könnt ihr hier […]

  15. What a wonderful report, thank you for sharing it NZfan!

  16. Thank You for the raport NZfan! I love his lonely-wolf-attitude :thud:

  17. Thank you for sharing your experience. I don’t know why, but it brings tears to my eyes…

  18. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful report with us, NZfan!
    What an unforgettable night it must have been. Richard really seems to be one in a million- such talent, good looks and modesty are seldom found together. As you wrote that he seems to be tired- I really hope he finds some time for a holiday between the wrap up and the start of the publicity tour.

  19. I bet he’s exhausted! And he won’t have a lot of time for a break. He’ll be head to Comic Con directly after the end of shooting! He needs a nice long break to recuperate! Thanks so Much for sharing your experiences with us!!

  20. You know what? This made me tear up.

    I have no idea why except that the man’s humble heart really touches me profoundly.

  21. Thank you NZFanofRA for sharing your story with us. It sounds like it was a wonderful evening! And RA sounds every inch the gentleman. Sighhhh!
    And thanks to Frenz for providing you the space on her blog.
    Cheers! Grati ;->

  22. Thank you for sharing your experience with us NZfan and also brionyjae for sharing that brilliant video so we can all enjoy from afar. A wonderful night for all I’m sure.

  23. I love reading about Mr Armitage. It seems he has been away in NZ for a very long time. I am in England and quite used to seeing him regularly on the t.v but it seems he has been in NZ for such a long time. Thanks NZFanofRA for this report which confirms my thoughts about him being a lovely, gracious person who appreciates his fans and is willing to spend a little time out with them in what is probably a very hectic life. We love you Richard!

  24. THANK YOU! What a treat to read this, and especially “not an ounce of ‘movie star’ in him”. Gives me chills, thank you again.

  25. Thanks for sharing such a great story, NZfan! I loved that RA added “Thorin” to his signature–that tickled me no end. And thanks, RAfrenzy, for posting this account and the video. SO happy!

  26. Thank you for sharing the report!

  27. I forgot to mention that it is ice to see you back on the blog forum, Frenz. We at RAFN miss you tons!

  28. Thanks for writing this down for us!

  29. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. It’s lovely to think that he is such a kind, quiet, caring person. Certainly brought a tear to my eye! Just want to give him a huge hug!

  30. Thank you for letting us know this…
    What can I say… every day I fall in love more of the man!!!!
    a person so humble really deserves respectful faithful followers

  31. […] characteristic energy! If you have just crawled out from under a rock, check out a fan report at Frenz’s and make sure you read the comments that evaluate the accuracy of the pictures, as the discussion of what Richard Armitage is really like continues. If blog hits for that rather […]

  32. Wow, what a wonderful experience! Thanks for sharing your story, NZfanofRA.

  33. Thanks for posting this report of your night for us! And bless him, he really does sound like a very humble sweet guy!

    For the unfortunate people who did not have the pleasure to be there in person, it’s so nice that you tell us all about it instead!

  34. Thank you for sharing this with us! :)

  35. Thank you SO much for sharing your experience, NZ fan, and the video!! (I’ve visited your beautiful country twice and love it and the people.) I found it pretty emotional reading about your meeting with RA as it has once again confirmed what most of us believe – that he is as modest as he is beautiful, and with talent to spare! It was the next best thing to meeting him myself. When you told us he said, “oh bless you”, I have to admit it brought tears to my eyes.

  36. Bless you for sharing your wonderful experience with us,NZFan! It’s most appreciated! :)

  37. Ahhhh…he added “Thorin” signature…..*sigh*…my darling Richard.:*
    Thank you so much for the report, NZfanofRA and Frenz.<3

  38. Thanks for the written commentary and for sharing your evening with us in more detail. When the video went global – it was obvious that RA was still happy keeping to the background, he is not pushy for sure and one of those endearing traits we all admire so much. He exudes alot more than he allows himself credit for – less with RA is most definitely MORE! Very amore!

  39. Thank you so much for your report, NZfan. I really loved to read it. This again confirms what a beautiful and humble man Richard is. Reading the report makes me love him even more.

  40. Eeek! Finally a sighting of RA!
    I have to say, I love the fact that HE had to go on his tiptoes to see Ian.

    I like this fan, I can relate to her. I gotta say though, I don’t think I would even have the guts to go up to him to sign my book. I would just take a picture of him and go my own way – picture of him, not me AND him, not that brave o_O

  41. […] here to read RAFrenzy’s account, and see the video, of the cast joining Sir Ian Mckellan onstage […]

  42. Thank you, Jeannie. :) I’m trying to get back into the swing of things.

  43. This was fun! Next month Angie can catch up on what’s going on at Comic-Con.

  44. That should say “catch us up on what’s going on…”

  45. […] other humans, including fans who appear in appropriate venues and behave themselves. If we look at this report of a fan encounter last weekend, while Armitage was not shoving himself in people’s faces, there’s no indication that […]

  46. I love eyewitness accounts like this, Thanks for sharing, NZfanofRA! :D

  47. […] RAFrenzy has a first hand report from an audience member at Saturday night’s performance of Sir Ian McKellen’s show in Wellington, with an account of her chat with Richard and another video to watch. Thanks to NZfanofRA for sharing. […]

  48. […] wonderful encouragement to bask in what is happening and about to happen. She also has an enjoyable guest post about meeting RA which I hope you check it out if you haven’t already! Further thoughts from […]

  49. […] Photo from a fundraising event in NZ in 2012. Read about it here. […]

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