The new production will run at the festival from the 2nd to the 28th August.

It has been announced that Ian McKellen is set to play Hamlet, alongside dancer Johan Christiansen as part of Edinburgh Festival Ballet Company’s production of Shakespeare’s tragedy at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The actor has already played Hamlet in his distinguished career twice – in 1971 when he took the role on tour and in the West End and then last year, aged 81, he revisited it in a age, colour, and gender-blind production at the Theatre Royal, Windsor. 

This world premiere production, running at 75 minutes, will see McKellen performing Hamlet’s famous speeches, soliloquies alongside dancer Johan Christiansen. The production is directed and choreographed Peter Schaufuss and will also include performances from Luke Schaufuss, Stefan Wise and artists from the Edinburgh Festival Ballet.

Hamlet will launch the 400-seat Ashton Hall at Saint Stephens  Edinburgh, a new performance venue in the Scottish capital named after the famous choreographer, the late Sir Frederick Ashton.

Talking about being part of this production, Ian McKellen said: “At a crucial moment in ‘Hamlet’, Shakespeare describes in detail a dance, performed by the actors touring through Elsinore. Hamlet says: ‘What a piece of work is a man… how infinite in faculties, in form and moving, how express and admirable in action.’ The same could be said of Peter Schaufuss and his company of wonderful dancers. It’s inspiring to watch them and work with them.”

The creative team behind the production is also set to include original music by Ethan Lewis Maltby and production design by Ben M Rogers.

Hamlet will play as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from the 2nd to the 28th August. Tickets are on sale now.