|Map of Bankside in 1593. The Rose is labelled "The play howse". On the right, you can see St Mary Overie (now Southwark Cathedral) and a bit of London Bridge.|
The Rose was similar in shape and structure to the more famous Globe but somewhat smaller. It was an octagonal building in which galleries for seated audience members circled a 'yard' in which other audience members could stand to watch the play. A thrust stage jutted out into the standing area with pillars holding a roof over it. The back wall of the stage included two doors, a curtained 'discovery space' and a balcony. There was no roof over the 'yard', so that this was a semi-open-air theatre.
|The reconstruction of Shakespeare's Globe theatre in London; the Rose looked similar to this but smaller. You can see the yard (standing area), the galleries for seating, the thrust stage, the stage doors and pillars, and the balcony. Click to enlarge. Photo by Matthew Kirkland|
The Rose was torn down in 1604. However, its foundations survived and were rediscovered in 1989 during the construction of an office block. After a public campaign, the building was redesigned to preserve the Rose, which can now be visited as a museum. In addition, the space is now used for theatrical performances which may perhaps tap into the spirit of the old playhouse. You can explore the neighborhood of the Rose site in the Google Street View window below.
- Andrew Gurr's The Shakespearean Stage, 1574-1642 (Cambridge University Press, 2009), 150-62.
- The Rose Theatre site
- Information on the Rose at ShaLT (Shakespearean London Theatres)
- CGI model of the Rose by Ortelia