BSC plans Shakespeare in Love’s Rose Theatre replica for northern base

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Touring theatre group the British Shakespeare Company is laying plans to use the full-size replica of the Rose Theatre featured in Oscar-winning film Shakespeare in Love as its new permanent home in the north of England.

The structure has been donated to the company by Judi Dench, who picked up an Oscar and a Bafta for best supporting actress for her role in the 1998 film.

BSC founder Robert Williamson hopes to rebuild the playhouse in a major northern city, and is currently in discussions with local authorities in Sheffield, York and Manchester about the idea.

He had initially planned for the building to be located in his home town of Leeds, but the plan was rejected after councillors said they could not afford to get involved with another theatre.

Speaking to The Stage, he said: "London has got the Globe, it's got Regent's Park, it's got the wonderful season by the Royal Shakespeare Company. In the Midlands they have got the fantastic series of theatres with the RSC that do some incredible work.

"But in the north of England there isn't anything as a centre for Shakespeare, or even a constant series of [Shakespeare] plays taking place indoors or outdoors. So the north is the place to have it. The Globe has been done, which is why we were looking at a copy of the Rose."

The company, whose patron is actor Ben Kinglsey, will now be launching a charitable trust to manage the project. Williamson explained that if the company secures sufficient funds and a site which is large enough, the development could also feature a museum and education centre dedicated to Shakespeare.

The deconstructed replica is currently being stored at a site in Suffolk and is to be sent to an oak specialist for assessment. It had initially been considered for a major £28 million development in London's Islington Green, on the site of Collins' Music Hall.

BSC was set up 15 years ago, and now tours productions of Shakespeare plays around the world. Its current season stars EastEnders actress Louisa Lytton and My Family actor Gabriel Thomson.

It had previously been in talks with McCurdy & Co - a consultancy that specialises in the repair and conservation of historic timber-framed buildings, which led the construction of the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on London's South Bank - about the possibility of building a replica of the Rose from scratch.

The original Rose Theatre was built in 1587 and was where several of Shakespeare's early plays premiered.