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Home :: Archive :: 1990 :: October ::
Update from the Rose Theatre Site (61)
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 1, No. 85. Thursday, 25 Oct 1990.
 
Date:   Thu, 25 Oct 90 09:03:34 EDT
From:   
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Subject:  The Rose Theatre
 
25 October 1990
 
   [Personal correspondence deleted here.  The remainder of this
    note should be of interest to all members of SHAKSPER.  KS]
 
   For the Rose and Globe sites I do not have a great deal to report.
Last week I walked past the sites for the first time in weeks.  The
building site over the Rose is very active and the office block has
risen at least 12 levels above the site if not more.  But at least
the nearer to finishing, the sooner archaeologists may hope to
inspect the damage done in the past year (much worse than anything
done in the past 300+ years).
 
   Tuesday evening, 16 Oct, C. Walter Hodges, the artist currently
providing drawings for the Cambridge Shakespeare, gave an illustrated
talk to the Society for Theatre Research to a packed house at Queens
Square here in London.  He entertained listeners with accounts of his
struggle to turn the paltry visual evidence of the first London
playhouses into drawings that fill in the gaps.  This became
particularly interesting last year when the archaeological evidence
started altering things.  He even added an appendix to one of the
Cambridge editions of the Henry 6 plays (Part 1, I think) to
illustrate how the Rose discovery had altered his ideas with its
smaller, shallower stage.
 
   Especially difficult to reconcile was the IRREGULARITY of the
groundplan.  His crisp drawings of a regular 14-sided polygon suddenly
developed a curious bulge as the back mushroomed out when he began
incorporating the alterated foundations of 1592.  The latest drawings
have had to make sense of the fact that Henslowe seems to have had his
front entrance placed too close to the ditch running just before
Maid Lane.  And it seems that the Heavens with descending throne were
not present in phase one.
 
   Hodges paid great praise to Harvey Sheldon of the Greater London
Archaeological Unit of the Museum of London and the two young
archaeologists who unearthed our first physical evidence of the
early theatres in modern times, Julian Bowsher and Simon Blatherwick.
He lamented the fact that they were replaced on the project by
archaeologists more directly under the control of the government
minister.
 
   A book describing the Rose discovery, *The Rose Theatre* by
Christine Eccles is to be published today.  There is some hope that
information about the proposed museum for the Rose site will begin to
appear eventually, but I do not know when.
 
          Stephen Miller  
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          King's College London
 

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