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.
An experience every bit as exciting immersive will be offered to today’s audiences in a dramatic playhouse setting beside the iconic Clifford’s Tower in the heart of the historic city of York.
Inspired by the famous London Rose Playhouse built in 1587 (12 years prior to The Globe), the theatre will combine 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 950, with 600 seated on three tiered balconies around an open-roofed courtyard, and standing room for 350 ‘groundlings’.
Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre will sit within a Shakespearean village showcasing the best of Yorkshire’s food and drink, with free wagon performances and other forms of Elizabethan entertainment vying for attention.
Traditional in conception, yet fresh and fun in delivery, Romeo and Juliet and Richard III will be directed by the West End’s renowned Lindsay Posner, while York Theatre Royal’s Olivier Award-winning Artistic Director Damian Cruden and Associate Director Juliet Forster will be putting their stamp on Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
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 yard, no seat in the theatre will be more than 15m from the action, providing plenty of breath-taking, spine-tingling, heart-stopping moments!
And for those who want to get a little closer to the texts behind the performances, University of York academics will be hosting a range of talks and workshops to explore these Shakespearean in a little more depth.
With dramatic sword-fights, bubbling cauldrons, wayward fairies, passionate love scenes, gruesome murders, grand poetry and no shortage of fake blood, audiences will experience the comic heights and tragic depths of Shakespearean theatre in a memorable setting.