SIR Ian McKellen arrives in Poole next month with his new solo show as part of an 80-date tour to celebrate his 80th birthday.

The first half of his intimate show is a mixture of anecdotes from his career, an extract from The Lord of the Rings and a handful of poems.

The second half is focused solely on Shakespeare where Ian, with the help of the audience, lists all 37 plays and Ian revisits speeches from those in which he has performed.

“I’m celebrating my 80th birthday by touring a new solo show to theatres I know well and a few that I don’t,” he says. “The show starts with Gandalf and will probably end with an invitation to act with me on stage. In-between there will be anecdotes and acting.

“I was last onstage in Poole with the RSC’s small scale tour of Twelfth Night and Three Sisters 40 years ago. I’m delighted to be back as I revisit other theatres up and down the UK. All profits will benefit Lighthouse aptly named Poole’s centre for the arts.”

Ian McKellen is taking no payment for this performance and has asked for all the income from the show to go towards the Bright Sparks programme at Lighthouse that will enable and inspire talented people to develop professionally in a wide range of roles across the arts sector.

Developing young talent is not just about giving opportunities to artists, but also to the huge range of people that work hard behind the scenes. Bright Sparks will give opportunities to countless young people and will ensure that the arts in Dorset will continue to flourish.

In the last three years, Lighthouse has worked with more than 80 young people on learning initiatives.