Actor Sir Ian McKellen will star in a a new play, which brings together parts one and two of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, written by Robert Icke. Player Kings will see the Hollywood star take on the role of John Falstaff, with the rest of the cast still to be revealed.

The play will debut at New Wimbledon Theatre, in London on March 1, before heading to Manchester Opera House on March 14 for a short run. It will then head to London's West End for a 12-week run. In Shakespeare, McKellen has previously triumphed as Richard II, Macbeth, Coriolanus, Iago, Richard III, and most recently as King Lear (twice) and as an 80 year old Hamlet in Sean Mathias’ upcoming film.

Tickets for the Manchester Opera House show are available to ATG+ members today, Wednesday, 15 November at 12pm; with general booking open from tomorrow, Thursday 16 November at 10am. Tickets can be purchased here.

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Ian McKellen commented: “I decided to become a professional actor at Cambridge in 1959, when I was in John Barton’s undergraduate production of Henry IV. Derek Jacobi played Prince Hal and I was the ancient Justice Shallow. Ever since, the plays have been among my favourite Shakespeare's, although through the years I’ve resisted offers to play John Falstaff. Robert Icke’s ingenious adaptation was irresistible.”

Sir Ian McKellen will star in a a new play, which brings together parts one and two of Shakespeare’s Henry IV

Robert Icke added: “It’s a genuine honour to work with one of our greatest Shakespearean actors, Ian McKellen, especially as he tackles one of the most iconic Shakespearean roles - and one he's previously never turned his hand to.

"It’s an exciting challenge to bring together two of Shakespeare’s plays into one production, and I’m so excited to share Player Kings with audiences in the West End and across the country. I'm also thrilled that we'll have at least 60 dedicated £30 tickets for those under 30 at every performance, including in some prime spots in the auditorium.”

The Lord of the Rings star last performed in Manchester as part of panto Mother Goose at The Lowry theatre this past Easter. Fresh from an acclaimed run in London last Christmas, the show starred Sir Ian McKellen as Mother Goose and comedian John Bishop as her husband as Vic Goose.

Ian attended Bolton School and began his acting at Bolton Little Theatre, of which he is now the patron. At the age of 18, he won a scholarship to St Catharine's College, Cambridge, where he read English literature, and, since 1961, has worked non-stop in the British theatre.

He went on to star in West End and Broadway theatre productions including the first production of Martin Sherman's sensational Bent and in debuts of plays by Arnold Wesker, Peter Shaffer, Michael Frayn and Alan Ayckbourn, amongst others. He is also recognised worldwide as Magneto in the X-Men films and as Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.

He has received various accolades for his performances, including a Tony Award, a Golden Globe Award and six Laurence Olivier Awards.

How to get tickets for Players Kings staring Sir Ian McKellen:

The production with preview at New Wimbledon Theatre, 1 March - 9 March 2024, and Manchester Opera House, 14 - 23 March 2024 before running at the Noël Coward Theatre, 1 April - 22 June 2024.

Across the three venues there will be 8,000 tickets at £30 or under exclusively for under 30s – with at least 60 tickets available for every performance located across all levels of the auditorium.

Tickets for New Wimbledon Theatre and Manchester Opera House are available to ATG+ members today, Wednesday 15 November at 12pm; with general booking open from tomorrow, Thursday 16 November at 10am. You can buy tickets here.

Tickets for Noël Coward Theatre will be available to DMT+ Priority on Monday 20 November at 10am, and those signed up for priority booking at 12pm; general booking opens Tuesday 21 November at 10am.