The world's first historic reconstruction of the stunning Shakespearian playhouse, The Rose, is now in its design and development phase. This jewel-like Elizabethan theatre will nestle on the edge of a wide meadow in the heart of Shakespeare & Company's 64-acre campus in Lenox, Massachusetts. The playhouse will be an English timber frame, plaster and thatch structure built by world-renowned craftspeople using traditional tools and building methods. Planned for completion in 2007, The Rose will accommodate an audience of about 700, mount a summer season of plays, and host year-round humanities and education programs.
The original Rose Playhouse was built by Philip Henslowe in 1587. It was the first theatre on the south bank of London's Thames River. The so-called Southward district was busy and notorious with colorful theatres, bear-baiting rings, taverns and brothels. The district also supported artisans, booksellers and produce vendors. The earliest plays of William Shakespeare were produced at The Rose, as were plays by Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Dekker and Thomas Kyd. A film set of The Rose Playhouse was constructed for the movie Shakespeare in Love.
A team of American and British architects, archaeologists, scholars, timber framers and artists, led by Shakespeare & Company's Artistic Director Tina Packer, is studying the evidence unearthed by discovery of the original Rose foundations in 1989. This remarkably well-preserved site underwent a ten-year excavation and analysis by the Museum of London, which is making its data available for the reconstruction in Lenox. Many of the British participants in this historic venture were key figures in reconstructing Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London. They are collaborating with American counterparts on the Lenox project. Two-time Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman serves as Honorary Lifetime President of The Rose Playhouse U.S.A. Board of Trustees.
An independent documentary film is underway to capture the entire Rose U.S.A. project from research through design, construction and reality. Academy Award nominee John Karol is producing the planned 90 minute film with theatrical, television and educational distribution in mind. Background on his production facility, Apertura, can be found at www.apertura.org. To learn more about The Rose Playhouse Film (working title), and how you can become involved, contact: