Sir Ian McKellen is to star in Henry IV adaptation Player Kings in London, the West End and Manchester.
Adapted by Robert Icke from William Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2, Icke directs Ian McKellen as John Falstaff with full casting to be announced.
A divided country, leadership crumbling, corruption in the air. Welcome to England.
Hal wasn’t born to be king. Only now, it seems, he will be. His father longs for him to leave behind his friends in the taverns of Eastcheap, most notably the infamous John Falstaff. War is on the horizon. But will Hal ever come good?
Player Kings with Ian McKellen tour dates and tickets
1 March 2024 - 9 March 2024
14 March 2024 - 23 March 2024
1 April 2024 - 22 June 2024
The production has design by Hildegard Bechtler, lighting design by Lee Curran, sound design by Gareth Fry, casting direction by Julia Horan and fight direction by Kev McCurdy.
Ian McKellen said: “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 Shakespeares, although through the years I’ve resisted offers to play John Falstaff. Robert Icke’s ingenious adaptation was irresistible.”
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.”