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The Rose and the Globe: Playhouses of Tudor Bankside, Southwark Excavations 1988-91

The Rose and the Globe: Playhouses of Tudor Bankside, Southwark Excavations 1988-91 (Hardback)

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Synopsis

The excavation of two of the famous playhouses of Tudor London, the Rose and the Globe, provided the first concrete evidence for the size, layout and development of these playhouses, now presented in detail for the first time in 400 years. The remains of the Rose playhouse were revealed 20 years ago and aroused great interest throughout the world, far beyond the normal confines of archaeological discovery. To the scholarly world the Rose was famous through the survival of day-to-day accounts written by its owner Phillip Henslowe, and to the theatre world as the stage where many of Marlowe's plays were first performed; the investigations brought this history to life. The excavation of a smaller part of the Globe, the home of many of Shakespeare's plays, revealed less detail but was an important emotional, as well as archaeological discovery. This archaeological report will appeal to a wider audience of those interested in the history and development of the theatre.

The hundreds of individual elements found in the excavations, together with newly researched documentary sources, have been fully integrated into a narrative description and thematic discussions on every aspect of the playhouses, the plays and the audiences. The volume is lavishly illustrated with contemporary views, reconstructions and detailed drawings and photographs of structures and finds from the excavations.

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Staff Choice

Bankside playhouses witnessed a flowering of theatrical experimentation before disappearing as quickly as they came, their demise hastened by the rise of indoor theatre (staging more intimate dramas with a greater range of special effects, such as the storms of Shakespeare's The Tempest) and the 1642 Puritan ban on public plays. Playhouse structures were recycled at the time, one theatre being cannibalised to build another, so this report is a tribute to the skill of the archaeologists who retrieved so much from such fragmentary remains on the sites of the Rose and the Globe between 1988 and 1990.

One legacy is the New Globe Theatre, Sam Wanamaker's inspired project; another is the era of developer funded archaeology, resulting from the outcry over the threatened destruction of the Rose. The third is this volume, superbly revealing what new light archaeology brings to our knowledge of the playhouse and Tudor London.

Review reproduced with permission from www.archaeology.co.uk

Charing Cross Rd Bookshop - 22/02/2011

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