Ian McKellen in Player Kings

Robert Icke is to direct Ian McKellen as Falstaff in an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2.

Called Player Kings, the plays have been adapted by Icke. The production will run at the Noël Coward Theatre from April 1 to June 22, 2024, with previews at New Wimbledon Theatre, from March 1 to 9 and Manchester Opera House, from March 14 to 23.

McKellen stars as John Falstaff, with further casting to be announced.

Icke said: “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.”

McKellen added: “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.”

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

The show is produced by Ambassador Theatre Group Productions, Gavin Kalin Productions and No Guarantees.

Tickets are available to book via www.playerkingstheplay.co.uk