Sir Ian McKellen is returning to London’s West End as King Lear

At 78, the Lord of The Rings star will lead the cast in Johnathan Munby’s production of King Lear.

The celebrated actor will star alongside Sinéad Cusack as Lear’s loyal courtier Kent and Jonathan Bailey (Broadchurch, W1A,  American Psycho) as Edgar, who all reprise their roles from Munby’s sell-out Chichester Festival Theatre production last year.

McKellan, who was last in the West End in No Man’s Land opposite Patrick Stewart, returns to his Shakespearean roots 66 years after his first Shakespearean role when he was just a school boy.

His long and varied career includes numerous performances at the RSC and National Theatre, where he played several leading Shakespearean roles, including the title role in Macbeth and Iago in Trevor Nunn’s award winning production of Othello.

Notable film and television credits include And the Band Played On, a tv film about the discovery of aids, Six Degrees of Separation with Will Smith, Donald Sutherland and Stockard Channing, Gods and Monsters and more recently Vicious alongside Derek Jacobi.

However, he received world-wide fame playing Magneto in the X-Men film franchise and Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.

King Lear is designed by Paul Wills, with lighting by Oliver Fenwick, music and sound by Ben and Max Ringham, movement by Lucy Cullingford and fight direction by Kate Waters.

King Lear will play for a limited 16 week run from 12 July 2018 at the Duke of York’s Theatre.