In Back at the Belgrade, McKellen will recall his time in Coventry and his subsequent career on stage and screen and answer questions from the audience. Tickets for the event will be priced at just £19.61 to acknowledge the year of his professional acting debut.
Above: Ian McKellen in End of Conflict at the Belgrade in 1961-62. Below (far left): In Mr Pickwick in 1961.
After that first-ever role in A Man for All Seasons, McKellen was seen in 15 more Belgrade productions before moving to other repertory companies including the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company and finding international success on screen in the likes of X-Men and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
McKellen is currently back on stage in The Syndicate, which is at Chichester Festival until 20 August 2011 and then tours, until 17 September, to Malvern, Cambridge, Bath and Milton Keynes.
McKellen is on a long list of Belgrade alumni who have gone on to forge successful careers in the performing arts, including actors Clive Owen, Richard Briers, David Suchet and Rosemary Leach and directors such as Trevor Nunn and Michael Boyd.