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Shakespeare's Rose Theatre to open second venue at Oxford's Blenheim Palace

The Rose Theatre opened in York earlier this year

The 2018 Rose Theatre company in action
© Anthony Robling

The Rose Theatre, Europe's first ever pop-up Shakespearean Theatre, will create a second venue in Oxford next year following its initial run in York this summer.

Situated at Oxford's Blenheim Palace for nine weeks, the new theatre will be open at the same time as the York space (which will return in 2019), with both locations running simultaneously and hosting a total of eight Shakespeare plays.

The York Rose Theatre will run from 25 June to 1 September, while the Blenheim Palace Rose Theatre will run from 8 July to 7 September. Both theatres will be situated inside a specially created Elizabethan village, where there will be an opportunity to watch mini-plays, feast on Yorkshire and Oxfordshire food and drinks, and wander around an Elizabethan garden.

An artist's impression of the new Oxford theatre at Blenheim Palace

There will be two troupes of actors at each location, with the Blenheim Palace companies performing the repertoire of plays from the first season in York: Romeo and Juliet, Richard III, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Macbeth, while in York another four of Shakespeare's plays will be performed: Hamlet, Henry V, The Tempest and Twelfth Night.

Project initiator and CEO of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions James Cundall said: "We had such a wonderful response from our 80,000 visitors in York over the summer and an overwhelming number of requests to return – so not only are we thrilled to be coming back to York in 2019, but our expansion to the magnificent grounds of Blenheim Palace will enable us to bring this unique immersive experience of Shakespeare to an even wider audience."

Full details of the creative team and cast for both companies will be announced in due course.

A mock up image of the pop up Rose Theatre in York

The 2018 Rose Theatre was placed near Clifford's Tower in York, and is inspired by the Rose Playhouse which was built in 1587, twelve years before the Globe Theatre.

The theatre opened in June with productions of Macbeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Damian Cruden and Juliet Forster respectively and Romeo and Juliet and Richard III both directed by Lindsay Posner. An ensemble of 34 actors were divided into two companies, each of which will tackle two shows.

The theatres will be constructed from scaffolding, corrugated iron and timber, with 13 sides, in-keeping with the classic design of an original 16th century Shakespearean theatre. The theatre will house 950 people with 600 on balconies and standing room for 350 groundlings.