THE leading actor Sir Ian McKellen, known for his big-screen fame as Gandalf and Magneto as well as his Shakespearian prowess, is to perform at the Edinburgh International Festival next year.

Sir Ian will perform in a new production that marks his 80th birthday.

It is part of a new 80-date tour he is embarking on, across the UK, a tour which is also designed to raise funds for local theatres and drama provision.

In Edinburgh, this will include raising money for equipment and refurbishment for the Leith Academy drama studio.

He will also raise money for a bursary for a young person from Edinburgh to study performance.

Ian McKellen On Stage will play at Edinburgh’s Assembly Hall from 22 to 25 August next year.

He said: "I’m celebrating my 80th birthday by touring a new solo show to theatres I know well and a few that I don’t.

"The evening 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 open at my local arts centre in January and end up by August in Orkney."

He added: "Live theatre has always been thrilling to me, as an actor and in the audience.

"Growing up in Lancashire, I was grateful to those companies who toured beyond London and I’ve always enjoyed repaying that debt by touring up and down the country myself, with the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Prospect Theatre, the Actors’ Company, as well as with commercial productions.

"At the Edinburgh International Festival in 1969 I played Edward II and Richard II together at the Assembly Hall.

"My return is a chance to remember the old days and reprise Shakespeare and others."

The production of Edward ll was radical in its portrayal of the monarch’s homosexual relationships, "challenging public prejudice of the time and provoking controversy in a ground-breaking moment for the International Festival," the EIF said in a statement.

Sir Ian, who was born in Burnley and who grew up in Wigan and Bolton, returned to the International Festival throughout the 1970s, most notably with his newly formed cooperative, The Actors’ Company, in 1972.

Performances of Ruling the Roost and ‘Tis A Pity She’s A Whore featured Sir Ian and Felicity Kendal in supporting roles as a page and a maid, allowing fellow company members to take the starring roles.

Sir Ian has had a varied and lauded career on stage and screen.

He gained renown for his Shakespearian performances, including as Richard II, Macbeth (with Judi Dench), Coriolanus, Iago, Richard III (also on film) and most recently as King Lear. He was in the first of Martin Sherman’s Bent and premieres of plays by Arnold Wesker, Peter Shaffer, Michael Frayn, Alan Ayckbourn and Mark Ravenhill.

Recently he has been Widow Twankey in the Old Vic’s Aladdin pantomime and toured Waiting for Godot and No Man’s Land with Patrick Stewart.

McKellen has also made popular films: he portrayed Magneto in the X-Men films and Gandalf in Tolkien’s Middle Earth films.

He won his first Oscar nomination as Best Actor, as the film director James Whale, in Bill Condon's 1998 Gods and Monsters.

Since he has starred in The Da Vinci Code, Mr Holmes, and Beauty and the Beast.

His television work stretches from Rasputin to Coronation Street, from Extras with Ricky Gervais to Vicious with Derek Jacobi.

In 1991, Sir Ian was knighted for services to theatre in UK.

He was co-founder of Stonewall UK, which lobbies for legal and social equality for gay people.

In 2008, the Queen appointed him Companion of Honour (CH), for his services to Drama and to Equality.