Player Kings at Manchester Opera House

Kristy Stott, Theatre Editor
Player Kings at Manchester Opera House
Image courtesy of ATG Tickets.

Player Kings at Manchester Opera House, City Centre 14 — 23 March 2024 Tickets from £13.00 — Book now

The award-winning writer and director Robert Icke and the legendary actor Ian McKellen join forces for an incredible new version of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2. Boasting a phenomenal cast and creative team, Player Kings is a show that should most definitely be on your radar this year.

Player Kings brings together two of Shakespeare’s greatest history plays in a brand-new production.

Player Kings. Toheeb Jimoh (Hal) & Robert Icke (Director). Credit - Manuel Harlan.
Player Kings. Toheeb Jimoh (Hal) & Robert Icke (Director). Credit – Manuel Harlan.

Adapted by Robert Icke and starring Ian McKellen as the dissolute knight Falstaff, Player Kings brings together two of Shakespeare’s greatest history plays in a brand-new production. Robert Icke is well-known for excavating new meaning from classic works – so we’re eager to see what he does with The Bard’s text. The play will premiere at the New Wimbledon Theatre before reigning over Opera House Manchester for just nine performances this March, and then transferring to the West End from April.

Robert Icke is well-known for excavating new meaning from classic works – so we’re eager to see what he does with The Bard’s text.

Leadership crumbles and corruption fills the air in a hostile England. Hal wasn’t born to be king. Only now, it seems, he will be. His father longs for him to move away from his friends in the taverns of Eastcheap, most notably the infamous John Falstaff. The threat of war moves ever closer. But will Hal ever come good?

Player Kings. Toheeb Jimoh (Hal) & Ian McKellen (Falstaff). Credit - Manuel Harlan. 102 800x600 AW
Player Kings. Toheeb Jimoh (Hal) & Ian McKellen (Falstaff). Credit – Manuel Harlan.

Alongside Ian McKellan’s Falstaff, Player Kings boasts an all-star cast with Toheeb Jimoh (Ted Lasso; Romeo and Juliet, Almeida Theatre) as Hal and Richard Coyle (Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore; Ink, Almeida Theatre) taking the role of King Henry IV. This awesome cast line-up is completed by Raphael Akuwudike, Sara Beharrell, Samuel Edward-Cook, Geoffrey Freshwater, James Garnon, Alice Hayes, Henry Jenkinson, Nigel Lister, Annette McLaughlin, Mark Monero, Hywel Morgan, Joseph Mydell, Clare Perkins, Daniel Rabin, David Semark, David Shelley, Robin Soans, Tafline Steen and Perry Williams.

Player Kings. Richard Coyle (King Henry IV). Credit - Manuel Harlan. 020 800x600 AW
Player Kings. Richard Coyle (King Henry IV). Credit – Manuel Harlan.

Robert Icke told us, “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…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.”

Player Kings is a show that should most definitely be on your radar this year.

Ian 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.”

Player Kings at Manchester Opera House, City Centre 14 — 23 March 2024 Tickets from £13.00 Book now

Performances

Date
Time
Session Features
14 March 2024
6:30pm
15 March 2024
6:30pm
16 March 2024
6:30pm
18 March 2024
6:30pm
19 March 2024
6:30pm
20 March 2024
6:30pm
21 March 2024
6:30pm
22 March 2024
6:30pm
23 March 2024
2:30pm

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

Where to go near Player Kings at Manchester Opera House

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