Work begins on Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre in York

There are less than four weeks to go until the Rose Theatre will be completed and ready to go in York, and we have the scoop!

Work has begun on the construction of Europe’s first pop-up Elizabethan Theatre, which is to present four of William Shakespeare’s greatest plays in a truly unique setting thissummer in the historic city of York.
Situated beside the iconic York landmark of Clifford’s Tower, the Rose Theatre will combine state-of-the-art scaffolding technology, corrugated iron and timber with the historic 13-sided design of an Elizabethan theatre. It will house an audience of 950, with 600 seated on threetiered balconies around an open-roofed courtyard and standing room for 350 ‘groundlings’.
A trial build of the Theatre was completed earlier this year at the premises of
Acorn Events, at Sherburn-in-Elmet just outside York, and three days ago 30 of their operatives began working on the construction of this unique project. Twelve articulated lorries delivered scaffolding, fencing, hoardings, generators and toilets to the site at the foot of 13th century Clifford’s Tower, within York’s ancient city walls, with a further 40 lorries expected over the next few days. To mark the occasion, the new Lord Mayor of York, Councillor Keith Orrell attended a ceremony at the site of the new theatre as one of his first public engagements. He joined James Cundall, the creator of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre and Chief Executive of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, as well as Leader of City of York Council, Councillor Iain Gillies.

It will take around three weeks for the theatre to be erected, after which work will start on installing the stage set and lighting, together with the buildings in Shakespeare’s Village, ahead of the first performance on Monday 25th June.

The original Rose Theatre was built in 1587 on the south bank of the River Thames in London. It was a slightly irregular 14-sided structure made of timber, with plaster exterior and a thatched roof, open in the centre to the elements. The success of The Rose Theatre paved the way for other theatres to be built in the area, including The Swan in 1595, The Globe Theatre in 1599 and The Fortune in 1600.
Four of William Shakespeare’s most popular plays, across the genres, will be performed in repertory by two companies of actors during the 10-week season, from Monday 25 June until Sunday 2 September 2018:
• A tragedy – Macbeth
• A comedy – A Midsummer Night’s Dream
• A tragic love story – Romeo and Juliet
• A history – Richard III
The traditional setting will host entertaining and challenging interpretations of these famous works. Romeo and Juliet and Richard III will be directed by the award-winning Lindsay Posner, while York Theatre Royal’s Olivier Award-winning Artistic Director Damian Cruden will direct Macbeth, and Associate Director Juliet Forster will be putting her stamp on A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Outside will be Shakespeare’s Village, and exciting plans for this free-to-enter attraction have been revealed. Yorkshire-born celebrity chef and food ambassador for the Village, Brian Turner (Ready Steady Cook, Saturday Kitchen, A Taste of Britain), is curating an array of the county’s finest food and drink with leading Yorkshire street food vendors, and Yorkshire garden designer Sally Tierney, winner of a silver-gilt medal at the Chelsea Flower Show, has been engaged to design and create an Elizabethan garden.
Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre and Shakespeare’s Village will be created and managed by the Yorkshire based Lunchbox Theatrical Productions.

Listing Information:
Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre
Tower Street, York, YO1 9SA
Monday 25 June – Sunday 2 September 2018.
Romeo & Juliet, Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth
Tickets from £12.50 (excluding booking/delivery fees)
For full performance schedule and ticket prices please visit