News: Ian McKellen takes on Falstaff in Robert Icke’s Player Kings

Ambassador Theatre Group Productions have announced Player Kings, adapted by Robert Icke from William Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2. Icke directs Ian McKellen as John Falstaff, with further casting to be announced.

The production runs at the Noël Coward Theatre, 1 April – 22 June 2024, with previews at New Wimbledon Theatre, 1 March – 9 March 2024, and Manchester Opera House, 14 – 23 March 2024.

Robert Icke said today, “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.”

Ian McKellen also 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 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 or under exclusively for under 30s – with at least 60 tickets available for every performance located across all levels of the auditorium. Available to book from general on sale via

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.

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.

Find out more and sign up for priority booking access at

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