IT would appear there is little that Sir Lenny Henry cannot do. As well as being one of Britain’s best-known comedians, he is also an acclaimed writer, radio DJ, TV presenter, co-founder of Comic Relief and an award-winning actor.

But now he is returning to his first love: live performance with a new show, An Evening with Lenny Henry - Who Am I, Again?

It is not a conventional stand-up show; rather, Lenny aims to dazzle audiences with stories from his life.

In the first half, he treats us to a series of anecdotes - triggered by writing his recent memoir, Who Am I, Again? He recollects growing up in the Black Country, puberty, school, friendship, family secrets and unabashed racism.

He also remembers how – with his mother’s mantra of “H’integration” ringing in his ears – he did his best to overcome those obstacles and make his way in the world.

Lenny proceeds to regale the audience with memories of his stellar career. After he burst on to the scene in 1975 as a 16-year-old winner of the TV talent show, New Faces, he enjoyed enormous success on such TV shows as Tiswas, Three of a Kind and The Lenny Henry Show. Despite his huge popularity, however, Lenny could not help himself wondering at every stage: Am I good enough? Is this what they want?

In the second half, Lenny will be interviewed by friend, broadcaster and author Jon Canter, offering further insights into his life and career. There will be audience interaction throughout: perhaps their questions will help Lenny work out, “Who Am I Again?”

Lenny says he can’t wait to be back on stage.

“Live performance is just the best,” asserts Lenny. “Being in front of an audience is the best thing you can do. Films and telly are extra, but live is you unfiltered. It’s just you stood there talking to an audience.”

The performer, who has also starred in such sitcoms as Chef! and The Fosters, goes on to recall the greatest live show he ever witnessed. “What Morecambe and Wise did in front of a live audience was very different to what they did on telly. Their TV show was brilliant, but Eric was probably 20 times funnier on stage than he was on telly.

“I worked with him in Bournemouth in 1979, and it was one of the most extraordinary live experiences I have ever had. It was so funny and loose.

“I try to get to the same space when I perform live, create real sense that this is unmediated and unmitigated. I attempt to communicate to the audience that ‘We’re gonna have a great time for the next 90 minutes, and then we’re all off home! HOORAY!’”

An Evening with Lenny Henry - Who Am I, Again? will be bolstered by the presence of his legions of loyal fans, who have followed him up and down the country for the last four decades. The performer, 61, who has also appeared in top-class dramas including Broadchurch, The Long Song and Hope and Glory, reflects on the amazing rapport he has with his audience.

“People show up – sometimes not all at the same time!” he said. “To be honest, it is a long time since ‘Katanga, my friends!’ or ‘OOOOOKAAAAY!’, but it seems that people still want to come and see the show and be entertained.

“What is lovely is that my audience has grown with me over the years, they get me – and what I’m trying to do – I really cherish that.”

The other aspect of live performance that he adores is that he can improvise - live and direct in the moment. Lenny, who has also given memorable stage performances in Othello, The Comedy of Errors, Fences, Rudy’s Rare Records, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Educating Rita and King Hedley II, reveals: “With this show, the audiences are not just going to get a prepared, scripted presentation, but the bits in between, too.

“My favourite comedians are the ones that have not only put in the hard work on their show, but they can also (once the show is up and running), swim between sections of their script and fool around.

“Those are my favourite performances: where you’re allowed to improvise right then and there, and the audience gets that. That’s what’s really exciting about live performance; you’re not watching a robot; you’re watching a human being. If you come to play, the audience really appreciate that.”

Even though his live show is tied to the recent publication of his memoir, the performer is swift to point out that the show is very far from a conventional book tour.

He said: “I thought, ‘I’m not going to do the normal book tour thing.’ How can I do that? I’m not sure comedians are supposed to do book tours in the way other people do them.

“There is a weight of expectation about a book tour, and people would be severely disappointed if a comedian started to navel gaze and talk about how his parents beat him viciously as a child. People are not going to get therapy on stage from me. They will get stories, character stuff and songs. I’m sure he’s a great guy, but it’s not going to be a Julian Barnes-type evening,”

As he looks back on his early years in the business, Lenny underscores how valuable they have been in forming him as a comedian.

“If you write a book about your early years, there is a palpable sense that the past is another country and that you’re looking at yourself from 1,000 miles away.

“You write with these words indelibly printed on your brain: ‘Well… that was a very interesting time… these were interesting experiences… they probably made me who I am today.’ This kind of reflection can make you realise why you are the way you are in the present day - I’ve noticed that I now stick up for myself and also want to be an integral part of the creative process, which all stems from the experience of my first 10 years in the business.”

Lenny closes by emphasising that the show should not only be entertaining but also provide insight into his true identity.

“I hope people enjoy their evening out with me – but I also want them to feel at the end, that they’ve learnt something about who I am and how I got there,” he said. “This is a Len they’ve never met before.

An Evening With Lenny Henry, The Lowry, Salford Quays, Monday, November 4. Details from His autobiography Who Am I, Again? is published by Faber, priced £20