Coming Up Roses

Damien Gregory investigates the debate over the proposed excavation of the Elizabeth Rose Theatre.

It was a case of dramatic open-air theatre in London when, on May 15th, protestors, fronted by leading Shakespearian actors, including Dame Peggy Ashcroft and Ian McKellen, surrounded the Southwark site of the Elizabethan Rose Theatre to protect its remains from reburial by developers. Later that same day the government announced that the office development planned for the site was to be delayed, offering a breathing space of twenty-eight days for the further consideration of ways to preserve the remains adequately for posterity. The government allocated £1 million to the fund the delay. Since then, IMRI, the developers, after negotiating with English Heritage, have produced a revised plan which avoids piling through the excavated area of the theatre where the plays of Marlowe and Shakespeare were once performed.

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