A GLANCE at the Eastgate Theatre’s recently-launched winter programme reveals a host of exciting drama for the New Year – including major names from stage and screen.

And they don’t come much bigger than Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart who, following a hit run on Broadway, return to the West End in No Man’s Land, one of the most brilliantly entertaining plays by Nobel Prize laureate Harold Pinter.

Screened on January 19 in a National Theatre (Encore) relay, the play revolves around two ageing writers, Hirst and Spooner, who, having met at a Hampstead pub one summer evening, continue their drinking long into the night at Hirst’s nearby stately home.

As the pair become increasingly drunk, and their stories increasingly unbelievable, the lively conversation soon turns into a revealing power play, further complicated by the entrance of two sinister younger men, played by Owen Teale and Damien Molony.

The drama moves rather closer to home on January 21 when Ideoms Theatre Company presents Willie Wastle’s Account of his Wife. The play, starring John Nicol, represents Willie Wastle’s riposte to Burns following the Bard’s insult to his wife, Kirsty, in the song Willie Wastle Dwalt on Tweed.

Originally created by Rowan Tree Theatre Company, the play is based on John Wilson’s Tales of the Borders. Fast and very funny, it also gives a wonderful insight into 18th Century Borders life.

And Willie Wastle’s amusing comeback to the Bard sets audiences up nicely for Songs of Robert Burns an’ a’ That on January 25 – a celebration of Burns’ seminal role in Scottish culture, arranged for harp and tenor by local harpist Esther Swift and Ayrshire tenor David Douglas.

Then, on February 2, Fair Pley brings us right up to date with The Cause of Thunder. Set two years after the Scottish referendum, the play explores the No vote, Brexit, the refugee crisis, and the many other issues on the mind of one Bob Cunningham.

All the thinking puts Bob – played by David Hayman – in story-telling mood as he tries to fathom what to do about the onset of old age, and whether he can come to terms with his, and his country’s, past and present.

National Theatre’s No Man’s Land is at 7pm on January 19 - tickets £14, £10 schoolchildren.

Willie Wastle’s Account of His Wife on January 21 starts at 7.30pm. Tickets £12.

Songs of Robert Burns an’ a’ That on January 25 is at 7.30pm, with tickets £14.

And the Cause of Thunder on February 2 is at 7.30pm - tickets £14.