As it makes a triumphant return to York at the foot of historic Clifford’s Tower, SHAKESPEARE’S ROSE THEATRE – the award-winning pop-up Shakespearean theatre – was last week honoured with three awards at the prestigious Visit York Tourism Awards 2019, with producer and CEO of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions and founder of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, James Cundall MBE receiving the distinguished Tourism Champion award, and the theatre winning in the categories Innovation in Tourism, and Newcomer of the Year.
The York season of SHAKESPEARE’S ROSE THEATRE will run from Tuesday 25 June – Sunday 1 September 2019, with four new productions: Hamlet, Henry V, The Tempest and Twelfth Night. Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre is also expanding this year to a second site in the UK, in the grounds of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, with a nine week season from 8 July – 7 September, where two companies will be performing the repertoire of plays from the first season in York: Romeo & Juliet, Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth
SHAKESPEARE’S ROSE THEATRE will be officially opened tomorrow at 11am by the York Town Crier and the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, along with James Cundall and the cast of Hamlet, who will be performing in the first show of the season that evening. Also joining the ribbon cutting will be Damian Cruden, Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre and Brian Turner, the Yorkshire-born celebrity chef and Sally Tierney, the award-winning Yorkshire Garden Designer.
James Cundall MBE, said “I am personally overwhelmed to be acknowledged for my company’s contribution to the tourism industry in York and to receive two further awards, including innovation, is superb. We have strived hard to bring new ideas to this glorious city for nearly 15 years now, and we are thrilled that so many people enjoyed the theatre last year. We hope to welcome everyone back and encourage those who haven’t yet experienced the event to see a show in this historic setting or just enjoy a drink and some food in our free to enter village.”
The pop-up Shakespearean theatre is constructed using state-of-the-art scaffolding technology, corrugated iron and timber. Inspired by the Rose Theatre of 1587 in London’s Bankside, which was built from timber, with a lath and plaster exterior and thatch roof, SHAKESPEARE’S ROSE THEATRE houses an audience of 900, with 560 seated in three covered tiers around an open-roofed courtyard with standing room for 340 ‘groundlings’.
As before, the theatre is located within a Shakespearean village, bringing an authentic Elizabethan ambience and theatricality to the event, and features:
- ‘wagon’ performances of Elizabethan-style entertainment, including comic mini-plays and speeches
- the best Yorkshire food and drinks, housed in the oak-framed and reed-thatched Bear Arms pub
- an Elizabethan garden created by Yorkshire garden designer Sally Tierney, with ornate box-edged beds of roses, cottage flowers and herbs as well as a water fountain. Mrs Tierney is the winner of a Silver-Gilt medal at the Royal Horticultural Society’s renowned Chelsea Flower Show, and created the Elizabethan garden for SHAKESPEARE’S ROSE THEATRE in York last year to great acclaim.
- tables and benches around the village, enabling visitors to enjoy the historic atmosphere.
Grand Central Rail, an established train operator on the East Coast line linking York to London, returns in 2019 as title sponsor of SHAKESPEARE’S ROSE THEATRE in York. Other returning sponsors are Fenwick luxury department store; the Grand Hotel and Spa, York’s only five star hotel; and Yorkshire’s daily national newspaper, The Yorkshire Post, back on board as official media partner.
McArthurGlen Designer Outlet, who join as a sponsor for 2019 and who hosted the rehearsal village for the full company over seven weeks, are also hosting an exhibition of costumes and props from SHAKESPEARE’S ROSE THEATRE. The items from the 2018 plays of Richard III and Romeo and Juliet can be viewed all summer in Unit -29 at the South Atrium.
The previously announced cast for York includes Maggie Bain (Netflix’s Black Mirror, The End of the F***ing World, film Dark Sense and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe) as ‘Henry V’; ITV’s Victoria star David Oakes as ‘Hamlet’; Sam Callis (Game of Thrones, The Bill) as ‘Prospero’ in The Tempest; and returning from last year’s SHAKESPEARE’S ROSE THEATRE, Olivia Onyehara as ‘Viola’, Mark Holgate as ‘Orsino’, and Leandra Ashton as ‘Olivia’ in Twelfth Night.