Sir Ian McKellen has unveiled a blue plaque to mark the site of the Rose Theatre in Bankside's Park Street.
Sir Ian unveils the plaque
Sir Ian speaks about the importance of the site
"...certainly I find it more interesting than the ersatz Globe or indeed the poor old Globe itself, buried under that grade II listed building so that we'll never actually know what's going on there, making this even more precious."
Members of New Renaissance Dancers entertained guests waiting for the ceremony, which was delayed by more than 40 minutes
Simon Hughes fends off reporters' questions about his likely candidacy for the leadership of the Lib Dems
Professor Stanley Wells said: "The Rose was an absolutely wonderful find when it was first excavated in 1987 and as you know a lot of theatrical people including Sir Ian and Dane Judi Dench and Peggy Ashcroft and Dustin Hoffman all protested against the idea that the further excavation might not be permitted. It was permitted and as a result we have learned a great deal about the theatre tradition."
Harvey Sheldon of the Rose Theatre Trust added: "Thanks to the financial contribution made by the London Borough of Southwark we are now ready to prepare an application to the Heritage Lottery Fund for money that will enable the remains to be displayed to the public and to be used as a venue for contemporary educational and cultural events. We hope to submit an outline bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund by the end of 2006."
Sheldon added that it was the trust's intention that by the time the 2012 Olympics come to London, the Rose will become again one of the leading cultural attractions.
• Sir Ian McKellen can currently be seen in Aladdin at The Old Vic
• Rose Theatre Exhibition