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Jennifer Clapp

Bankside’s Rose Theatre to be recreated in the USA

In the United States, Shakespeare and Company of Massachusetts is currently in the process of building the first modern replica of Shakespeare's Rose Theatre.

The theatre, to be located in Lenox, Massachusetts, is stirring debate among scholars, theatre historians, and archaeologists as to how the theatre was originally built.

Mary Guzzy, who is overseeing the recreation, outlines some of the debate: "Some of the research has suggested the 1587 theatre may have been a far more flexible and experimental space than the Globe." Those debating and researching the structure are split over whether to recreate the Rose with its speculated moveable stage that would have accommodated more adventurous forms of entertainment, such as wrestling and bear baiting.

Another debate being held is over how to combine Elizabethan architecture with present day safety codes and weatherproofing methods. A team of carpenters and contractors are testing different types of timber and thatch to decide which will work best in the harsh New England climate. " We don't want a historically accurate theatre that is just going to fall apart," Guzzy said.

The new theatre, which will hold 600-700 people, including groundlings, will continue the tradition of keeping the audience and the players intimate. Tina Packer, who founded Shakespeare and Company 25 years ago, said, " In an Elizabethan space, you really get a transparent relationship between the actors and the audience that we have lost."

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