As theatres plan to reopen in the coming months, the 82-year-old actor is returning to the stage in , in which he will play the titular Shakespearean lead.
“This year has been very hard,” he said. “I think you’d get the same from Maggie Smith or Judi Dench – the thought of not working is horrifying.
“Because we’re getting to the end of our lives, to be robbed of the last few years of that capability is hard.”
McKellen received his Covid vaccine in December, describing his reaction as “euphoric”.
Under current government guidelines, theatres can reopen with social distancing in place from 17 May.
Capacity limits for indoor entertainment are yet to be announced. Before lockdown was reintroduced in December, theatres could operate at seating capacities of 50 per cent or 1,000 tickets, depending on which was lower.
Watch: How England will leave lockdown