mon01may6:30 PMmon7:30 PMCallan Davies: How to Play on Bankside: Beers, Bears and Roses6:30 PM - 7:30 PM View in my timeEvent Type :Online talk,Researching the Rose

Event Details

What might visitors to Bankside in the 1530s, 1580s or 1620s have expected from a good day out?

This talk will take you on a tour through the entertainment hub that developed on Bankside from the early 16th century, and explore the spatial, social and commercial contexts for an enterprise like the Rose, which was one of many local leisure enterprises. You will encounter riotous audiences who demanded ‘best of’ compilations from their favourite dramas, celebrity bears and giant, pyrotechnic roses. Join us to learn about where a single penny or two might have taken you 400 years ago, and how the fun on offer on Bankside drew from old May Game celebrations and innovative early theatrical projects elsewhere in London and beyond. Together we will discover how Henslowe’s Rose fitted into England’s dynamic entertainment scene.


Callan Davies works in early modern literary, cultural and theatre history. His new book, What is a Playhouse? England at Play, 1520-1620, is an accessible revisionist account of the ‘playhouse’ across early modern England (Routledge, 2023). He has also published numerous articles in leading journals (on subjects from ranging from pre-modern social mobility to bowling alleys and female proprietorship), as well as a monograph on ‘strangeness’ on the 17th-century stage (2021) and a co-edited collection on ephemeral artefacts (2023). He’s part of the Box Office Bears project (researching animal sports in early modern England), as well as the Middling Culture ( team examining early modern status, creativity, writing and material culture, and the Before Shakespeare team ( You can find out more about his work at

Tickets are £7/£5 (Friends and Students) and can be booked through TryBookingYou will receive a link to this Zoom event via email. Any additional contributions for The Rose Playhouse will be much appreciated and go towards funding the Rose Revealed Project.

Please note that booking for this event will close at 5.00 pm on 1 May.