The Rose, one of Bankside’s first theatres, has unveiled its Rose Revealed project, which plans to develop the site for future use. The project proposes further archaeological excavation of the partly discovered theatre and development of the site’s facilities in order to enable better visitor access.
A number of supporters were in attendance at the announcement of the plans. Long time campaigners for the project included actor and director Michael Pennington, Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes and Chair of The Rose’s trustees Harvey Sheldon.
Sheldon said of the theatre: ‘Plays by Marlowe, Shakespeare, Jonson and Kyd were staged here between 1587 and 1603. The Rose Theatre is of international importance because of its association with these ground-breaking playwrights and their contributions to language and drama.’
The Rose is bidding for funding from the Heritage Lottery grant, to realise the theatre’s potential as a location for education and performance. If the theatre were to be successful in its bid for funding it would see the current space transformed into a much more interactive site with plans for a visitor and learning centre to be developed. A ramp would be installed to allow visitors to get as close to the site of an original Shakespearean theatre, educational workshops would also take place in this space. Future plans also include the installation of glass panels into the floor so to allow better observation areas for those visiting The Rose.
Trustee’s have been attempting to develop the theatre for almost 30 years, since The Rose’s remains were discovered in 1988 when the site was being developed to house a tower block. A campaign ensued to protect the remaining structure in 1989 with a number of high-profile actors showing their support including Dame Judi Dench, Sir Laurence Olivier, Michael Pennington and Dustin Hoffman.
Sheldon said: ‘We believe that the Rose Revealed project should be an important legacy of the World Shakespeare Festival and a focus of the forthcoming national celebrations planned to commemorate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth (2014), and the 400th anniversary of his death (2016).’
The Rose theatre is open to the public to visit. For more information about the Rose Revealed project and how to support it, as well as finding out about the other events and performances taking place at The Rose, visit www.rosetheatre.org.uk