Globe columnist Peter Grant on a Knight to remember – Sir Ian McKellen is coming to Liverpool in 2019.

Encore! Sir Ian McKellen is celebrating his long and successful career in sparkling thespian tradition with a two-day visit to Merseyside.

A five-month tour begins in January 2019 with dates at the National Theatre to the Theatre Royal Stratford East, as well as performances in the West End and Outer London.

Then he’s off across the country to visit theatres - large and small - with which he has personal connections, including amateur groups he knew as a child and notable playhouses he has played in as a professional actor over the last half-century.

He will be doing two "intimate" ‘Ian McKellen on Stage’ shows at the Liverpool Playhouse on May 17 and May 18 where, he says, the audience will be very much part of the evening.

Sir Ian says: ‘‘I am celebrating my 80th birthday by touring a new solo show to theatres I know well and few that I don’t.

"The show starts with Gandalf and ends with an invitation to act with me on stage.

‘‘Live theatre has always been thrilling to me as an actor and being in the audience.

Growing up in Lancashire I was grateful to those companies who toured beyond London and I’ve enjoyed repeating that debt by touring up and down the country myself.’’

His Liverpool date will be extra special.

He adds: ‘‘In my early days I worked at the Liverpool Playhouse as a director and actor. 

‘‘As a boy I saw productions there as my step mother had done before me. She remembered Michael Redgrave and Robert Donat in the repertory company and relished productions which toured beyond London in the North West as I am now doing with my new solo show.’’

Adam Speers of the Ambassdor Theatre Group, says he is very proud of this unique tour: ‘‘The UK’s regional venues are integral in supporting and developing artists and practitioners across all areas of the theatre, both on and off stage.

‘’All of us in this industry are united by a passion for the arts and love of what we do and this special show is a rare and excellent opportunity to celebrate what’s best in our industry while at the same time celebrating one of its greatest actors and raising vital funds to keep the lifeblood of theatre in this country flowing.’’

Accessibly priced tickets will be available everywhere.

All profits will benefit specific causes at each theatre.

For further information on Sir Ian’s mammoth tour, check the website: