THEATRE-GOERS will have the chance to celebrate one of Britain’s best-loved acting icons on his birthday at Lighthouse, Poole later this month.

A live broadcast of the UK premiere of McKellen: Playing the Part, will be screened at 3pm on May 27.

This fully authorised insight looks at Sir Ian McKellen’s life, from his upbringing living through the war, working through repertory and West End theatre, becoming a pioneering stage star, coming out and being a leader in the campaign for equality, to his mainstream film breakouts as Magneto and Gandalf.

The film features unprecedented access to private photo albums, and never-before-seen archive material including diaries written when he was 12, and unseen behind the scenes of theatre shows and films, alongside his personal thoughts on a life long-lived.

Sir Ian performed at Lighthouse in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Twelfth Night back when the building first opened as Poole Arts Centre in 1978. He made an impromptu return to the venue last year when he popped in to catch a performance of Remembering Fred starring Strictly Come Dancing professionals Aljaz Skorjanec and Janette Manrara.

“He said he remembered coming to Lighthouse and asked if I would show him the theatre during the interval of the show,” recalls Lighthouse chief executive, Elspeth McBain. “It was quite amazing to have him in our venue. He is theatre royalty so it was a real privilege to get to meet him and show him around.”

McKellen: Playing the Part, will be followed by a Q&A with the star hosted by TV broadcaster Graham Norton.