ELIZABETHAN England returned to Oxfordshire for the first time in more than 400 years as Blenheim Palace’s Shakespearean theatre opened its doors yesterday.

Actors performing Macbeth joined the Duke of Marlborough and other special guests to open the Rose Theatre, which will show four of the Bard’s greatest plays this summer.

Onlookers were treated to a sneak peak of Shakespeare's tragedy, which kicked off the nine-week season in the 900-capacity playhouse last night.

The Duke said he was ‘thrilled’, adding: “The extraordinary atmosphere that has been created will offer theatre-goers an immersive cultural experience.”

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The group also watched Elizabethan entertainment in a spectacular Shakespearean village, which sits next to the three-tiered, 13-sided theatre.

It has 560 seats on balconies around an open-roofed courtyard, which can hold 340 ‘groundlings’.

James Cundall, CEO of Lunchbox-Productions and theatre founder, said: “It’s an absolute privilege to build our wonderful theatre and perform four of the Bard’s greatest works in the shadow of one of Europe’s finest palaces.

“More than 400 years ago, William Shakespeare would have walked across our site on his way between Stratford-upon-Avon and London and I am sure he would have enjoyed seeing such a fine theatre portraying his works all these years later.”

Audiences can also enjoy a revived production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, plus new productions of Romeo & Juliet and Richard III until September 7. You can buy tickets at blenheimpalace.com/shakespearesRT