Theatreland is full of little tribes and factions: You've got the Strallen dynasty of beautiful stage actresses, the insanely dedicated Wicked fangirl community, the soap star to stage star converts and the reality TV gang, to name but a few.
However, there's another group, one far more unexpected; the sci-fi/fantasy stars who also happen to be among the greatest stage actors of our time.
Don't believe me? Then let's look at just a few of the science fiction and fantasy megastars who just so happen to also be highly accomplished stage actors.
David Tennant played the tenth regeneration of Doctor Who's eponymous hero, The Doctor. Everyone knows that. However, as well as being a dab hand with a sonic screwdriver and knowing the difference between the cloister bell and a chameleon circuit, Tennant is also an incredible Shakespearean actor.
The scotsman describes theatre acting as his "default way of being". In 2007 he played Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon. The production later transferred to London's West End where Tennant suffered a prolapsed disc during previews. He returned to the role after treatment and won great critical acclaim (so much so, a picture of Tennant as Hamlet was featured on a stamp).
Tennant is currently appearing in a West End production of Much Ado About Nothing alongside former Doctor Who cast-mate, Catherine Tate. Once again, his performance is delighting critics.
Patrick Stewart has a pretty impressive nerd pedigree: He played Star Trek's Captain Jean Luc Picard and X-Men's Professor Xavier. Those are two of the most iconic characters in the science fiction world, not just any old pair of spandex-clad schmucks.
But there's far more to Mr Stewart than just playing an impressive range of super-folk, he's also appeared in an incredible range of stage productions. Between the early 1990s and 2005 he performed six one-man productions of Dickens' A Christmas Carol. In 1995 and 2006 he played Prospero in The Tempest, once on Broadway and once for the Royal Shakespeare Company. In 1997 Stewart played the lead in a racially reversed production of Othello and in 2007 he played Macbeth. Most recently he played King Claudius in the production of Hamlet which also starred David Tennant, winning the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor for his efforts.
Gillian Anderson, better known as X-Files' Special Agent Dana Scully, was the undisputed geek pin-up of the 1990s. An entire generation worshipped at the alter of the flame-haired FBI sceptic, but don't be tricked into thinking that Gillian Anderson is just the geeky man's Pamela Anderson; she's also no stranger to rather high-brow entertainment.
In 2003, Anderson was awarded the WhatsOnStage.com Award for Best Actress for her West End debut in a play titled What The Night Is For and in 2004 she appeared at the Royal Court Theatre in The Sweetest Swing in Baseball. In 2009, Anderson starred in a production of A Doll's House at the Donmar Warehouse. Her portrayal of Nora, a downtrodden wife, earned her another nomination for Best Actress, this time for the prestigious Olivier Awards.
Kate Mulgrew is best-known as the USS Enterprise's first female captain and the star of Star Trek: Voyager. Voyager ran for seven seasons and earned Mulgrew a Saturn Award for Best TV Actress. However, long before she donned that famous maroon jumpsuit, she was regularly treading the boards of Seattle and Los Angeles.
After Star Trek, Mulgrew's career really took off. She starred in a one-woman play called Tea at Five, a monologue performance baed on Katharine Hepburn's memoirs. The production was a smash hit and won Mulgrew two US theatre awards. In 2008 she appeared in the Broadway production of Equus. Since then she has been regularly performing in New York.
Gandalf AND Magneto, one of the greatest goodies in fantasy literature and the single most-powerful mutant in the entire Marvel universe. Ian McKellen has played both of those, and he has played them well. Best of all, he played Magneto opposite Patrick Stewart's Professor Xavier in X-Men 1,2 and 3, those were good times for the geek community.
When he's not playing the cinema's greatest characters, McKellen can generally be found being awesome all over stages around the world. Throughout the 1970s and 80s McKellen became somewhat of a regular at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre, where he played roles including the lead in Macbeth(opposite Judi Dench, no less) and Iago in Othello.
Fast forward to 2007 and McKellen was back with the RSC, this time to appear in King Lear and The Seagull, both productions were critical successes. In 2009 McKellen appeared in a phenomenally popular production of Waiting for Godot opposite none other than Patrick Stewart.
This guest post was produced on behalf of Show-and-Stay.co.uk, who specialise in London shows and theatre breaks.