More than 400 years ago, the first audiences for Shakespeare’s plays enjoyed an experience that was as intimate as it was exciting, crowded in close to the actors and the action, in a small theatre in the bustling city of London. In Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre an experience every bit as exciting, intimate and immersive will be offered to today’s audience. The dramatic playhouse setting will pop-up not only beside the iconic 13th century Clifford’s Tower in the heart of York but also in the glorious grounds of ‘Britain’s Greatest Palace’ at Blenheim Palace.
Inspired by the famous London Rose Playhouse built in 1587 (12 years prior to The Globe), the theatre combines state-of-the-art scaffolding technology, corrugated iron and timber with the historic 13-sided design of a 16th century Shakespearean theatre. It will house an audience of 900, with 560 seated on three tiered balconies around an open-roofed courtyard, and standing room for 340 ‘groundlings’.
Outside the theatre, visitors can experience a vibrant, free-to-enter Shakespearean village, offering the finest Yorkshire and Oxfordshire based food and drinks housed in oak-framed, reed-thatched buildings, an array of ‘wagon’ entertainment, minstrels and a stunning Elizabethan garden with ornate box-edged beds of cottage flowers, roses and herbs.
After such a successful season last summer in York, the Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre will not only be returning to the foot of Clifford’s Tower in York but also making its debut at Blenheim Palace. In York, the new repertoire of plays for 2019 will be Hamlet, Henry V, The Tempest and Twelfth Night. Down in Oxfordshire, the Blenheim Palace companies will be reviving the productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth as experienced in York last year and creating exciting new productions of Romeo & Juliet and Richard III. It’s an experience not to be missed!
The unique environment of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre connects actors and audience together in ways many people will never have experienced before. While an interactive experience awaits those closest to the stage in the courtyard, no seat in the theatre will be more than 15m from the action, providing plenty of breath-taking, spine-tingling, heart-stopping moments!
With grand battles, songful poetry, howling storms and comic confusion. Audiences can look forward to another summer bursting with hilarious heights and dire depths in a truly memorable Shakespearean theatre. The Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre will commence construction in York during June 2019 and in Blenheim during July 2019.
Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre is a temporary structure without air-conditioning or heating. All seats (560) are under cover with the groundlings area open air so please dress appropriately. Umbrellas are not permitted as they will impede the view of other patrons.