In 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic struck, the Rose Theatre was built in the grounds of Blenheim Palace for performance of Shakespeare plays.

In July two years ago, the Duke of Marlborough opened Europe’s first ever pop-up theatre at the Woodstock stately home.

Oxford Mail:

It was a huge enterprise which involved a temporary theatre being built from scratch in the grounds.

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The first audiences at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre enjoyed performances of Macbeth.

Oxford Mail:

The full-scale pop-up version of the Elizabethan playhouse was recreated for a nine-week season, showcasing four of the Bard’s greatest plays.

Oxford Mail:

A palace spokesman said at the time: “Audiences will also be able to enjoy revived productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth as well as new productions of Romeo & Juliet and Richard III all performed in the 13-sided theatre.”

Inspired by the famous London Rose Playhouse which was built in 1587, 12 years prior to The Globe, Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre accommodated an audience of 900, with 560 seated on three tiered balconies around an open-roofed courtyard with standing room for 340 ‘groundlings’.

Oxford Mail:

Food and drink was served in the oak-framed and reed-thatched Bear Arms pub, and there was a village pond, farm wagons and carts, and an array of vintage farming implements, evoking a bygone rural age.

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At the moment, new shows at theatres including those in Oxford are going on sale with a smaller than usual capacity and with staggered arrival times for members of the audience to keep auditoriums Covid-safe.

Theatre managers are keen to be able to return to full capacity audiences when they are able to as revenue has been lost during the lockdowns.

Many arts organisations have been forced to apply for government grants to help them keep going.