November 21, 2020

The Rose Playhouse


Click HERE for the link to the live event.

Join us for a play reading about the discovery of The Rose Playhouse and the fight to save it, introduced by Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Judi Dench.

Donations welcomed!

Featuring Dame Janet Suzman, Michael Pennington, Jeff Rawle, Lily Nichol, Jonathan Livingstone, Shane David-Joseph, Sir Simon Hughes, Jane Sidell and Christina Skaife. Written and directed by Ben Prusiner.

RALLY FOR THE ROSE  is a new play based on interviews from people who were at The Rose’s discovery in 1989 and participated in the demonstrations that saved it from destruction. Learn about The Rose’s Elizabethan history and its modern-day drama through the eyes of Joan Alleyn, whose husband Ned was The Rose’s star actor and whose stepfather Philip Henslowe was its general manager. The play draws on historical documents, including personal letters, Henslowe’s diary, privy council minutes and transcripts from Thatcher’s government.

The evening will be introduced by video testimonials from Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Judi Dench retelling their experiences of the battle to save The Rose. The live-streamed performance follows, led by Dame Janet Suzman (as Queen Elizabeth I and Margaret Thatcher) and Michael Pennington (as an historical puritan and an archetypal famous actor from the demonstrations). Both played key roles in the 1989 demonstrations.

Lily Nichol (RSC’s Imperium) will read Joan Alleyn, the strong, timeless narrator who takes viewers on a journey starting from her own experience of The Rose Playhouse in the late 1500s. We meet many Elizabethan theatre-makers along the way: Joan’s husband the actor Edward Alleyn (read by Jonathan Livingstone, who also played Alleyn in After Edward at Shakespeare’s Globe), her stepfather the theatrical manager Philip Henslowe (Jeff Rawle of The Durrells, Hollyoaks and Drop the Dead Donkey), playwrights Christopher Marlowe (Shane David-Joseph of Bristol Old Vic’s A Christmas Carol) and William Shakespeare, among others.

You will also hear verbatim testimony from archaeologists, actors and demonstrators from 1989, including chief conservator Jane Sidell and long-time volunteer Christina Skaife. Former MP for Southwark Sir Simon Hughes will be reading words he spoke in 1989 at the demonstration and in the House of Commons. These verbatim sections are the result of a nearly two-year-long interview and research process by writer/director Ben Prusiner and co-producer Fiona Munro.

Sir Patrick Stewart, who also helped save The Rose in 1989, has registered his support for the reading.

The Rose is an indoor archaeological site; it is advisable to dress warmly because there is no heating. There are no toilets, so please use those at Shakespeare’s Globe, which is 200 metres away.

Booking Information

Box Office

020 7261 9565