Rose Theatre revived

The uninspiring frontage of the new exhibition

Members of the Shakespeare in Love cast visited Bankside this month for the opening of a permanent Rose Theatre exhibition.

The action of the hugely successful Oscar-winning film is set in the Rose which opened in 1587 and predates the original Globe built on the opposite side of Park Street twelve years later.

The theatre's remains were discovered in 1989 by archaeologists carrying out a routine excavation on the site of a proposed office block. The dig soon became the focus for a star-studded international campaign to Save the Rose. Eventually the developers agreed to redesign the new building to include basement display space for the remains.

Dr Clare Graham of the Rose Theatre Trust says: "This exhibition is intended to reawaken public interest in the Rose and to help raise the funds needed for long term plans for its re-excavation and permanent display." Tickets will cost £3 (conc £2.50).

The exhibition centres around a light and sound presentation narrated by Sir Ian McKellen who has been a loyal supporter of the Rose preservation plans. The new technology show is the work of theatre designer William Dudley who says that he finds the exhibition space itself a strong source of inspiration. "It has a haunting atmosphere at once primitive and timeless" he claims. "The pool of water which protects the theatre's remains is especially magical."

Culture Secretary Chris Smith officially opened the exhibition on Tuesday 13 April and the public will be admitted 362 days a year.

  • The Museum of London report on the excavations is available via
  • Attractions & Museums: Rose Theatre Exhibition

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