Internet Shakespeare Editions


The excavation of the Rose

A diagram of the excavation of the Rose site.

The property on which the Rose had been built became available for excavation in 1988 with the demolition of the office building which occupied the site. Excavation began on 19 December 1988.

The exact site of the Rose was known from deeds dating back to the late 15th century, and from Philip Henslowe's lease.

The dimensions of the Rose

The Rose was smaller than the later theaters. Information obtained from the excavation includes these dimensions:

More information learned from the excavation.*


  1. Excavating information

    To date, we have learned:

    • that the floor was "raked" or sloped like a modern theater to allow a better view;
    • that the theater was almost round, rather than octagonal or twelve-sided;
    • that in this theater the stage was quite shallow, unlike the stage of the Fortune;
    • that the actor at centre stage would have been no more than 7 metres (22 feet) from the furthest spectator.

    Henslowe makes notes of repairs to the theater in 1592 which suggest that it was built of timber and plaster with a thatched roof.