The Rose announces development project

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.

Plans for the future of The Rose

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

Arts Council and BBC create new online arts channel

Arts Council England (ACE) in partnership with the BBC are to launch a new online arts channel called The Space. The channel will contain work from theatres across the UK. The project will run from 1 May until the end of October 2012.

The Space is described by ACE as ‘an experimental digital arts media service and commissioning programme that could help to transform the way people connect with, and experience, arts and culture.’

53 applicants were successful in applying to create original commissions for The Space. Some of the notable entries include Pilot Theatre Company, Blast Theory and Bristol Old Vic. Two entries which will capture this summer’s Shakespearean festivities are The Globe, who will be documenting their Globe to Globe festival and the Royal Shakespeare Company, who are creating World Shakespeare Festival TV to capture the highlights from this summer’s performances.

Chief executive of ACE, Alan Davey said: ‘The Space is one of our most significant interventions of recent years and I’m delighted to be able to announce such exciting and imaginative contributions from artists and organisations. It will inspire a great generosity of spirit among the participating organisations, with each of them committed to documenting and sharing the journey they all are taking together.’

The Space will be accessible across four different platforms; PCs, internet connected televisions, smart phones and tablets. The resources will also be made available through video on demand on Freeview.

The project has been developed to coincide with the London 2012 festival and the many celebrations happening around the UK this year, including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympic Games.  Roly Keating from the BBC said: ‘We believe we can make something really special happen to celebrate 2012’s unique summer of arts.’

To find out more about the participating applicants visit the Arts Council website. The Space (www.thespace.org) will launch in May.