London, UK- While studying abroad in London, Southeastern theatre students made a donation to the Rose Theatre Trust. The trust was created to fund further excavation and costs to preserve The Rose artifacts.
Built in 1557, The Rose is one of the oldest theatres in London. Two-thirds of it was uncovered in 1989 during the construction of a new office block. The Rose Theatre staff and supporters are now raising funds to pay for that area to be re-excavated and the final third to be dug up, which will cost approximately $14 million.
Jim Winter, theatre assistant professor and advisor of Southeastern’s chapter of Alpha Psi Omega, said, “Last year, I went to visit the ruins of The Rose theatre. It was my first time there, and I was really inspired by what they were trying to do.”
Winter and Dani Demontluzin, former president of Alpha Psi Omega theatre honorary society, began brainstorming ways to contribute to the Rose Trust. Last spring, the organization hosted a 24-hour theatre festival.
“We gathered together many directors, writers, and actors for it,” Demontluzin said. “We had to have written, directed, blocked, and performed everything within 24 hours. It was held in D. Vickers and was a part of the Tennessee Williams Festival.”
The festival proved successful, said Winter. Alpha Psi Omega members participating in the summer 2012 study abroad program to London hand-delivered $500 to The Rose and then saw William Shakespeare’s “Venus and Adonis” performed live on the historical setting.
While $500 may seem small in comparison to what The Rose requires for the final dig, The Rose staff member Pepe Pryke says that every little bit helps for revitalization of the theatre.
Pryke said, “The timing is brilliant because we’re now talking to various organizations about needing money. We have had small school children raise $500 for us as well. It’s really inspiring that these students chose us.”
At present, the theatre is operating with a small but excited office and acting staff. In the next couple of years, they will be welcoming volunteers to help with the excavation.
“It’s where our roots are from, and to know that we, as patrons of the theatre, are giving back to where it all came from is just unbelievable,” Demontluzin continued.
APO Vice-President Chelsea Krause said, “It was good to do it, and such a long time coming.”
Plans for the excavation of the final third of the theatre were revealed on July 13. Part of the plan is to develop the site’s potential as a learning center and performance space.
“The next dig is set to begin in 2014,” said Pryke. “It’s a special time since that year will mark 450 years since Shakespeare’s birth.”
During its original operation from 1557 until the very early 1600s, The Rose staged some of the original performances of Shakespeare’s and Christopher Marlowe’s poems and plays. Pryke said The Rose is now taking volunteers to usher and serve as tour guides. Soon, volunteers may sign up to work during the dig to provide support to archaeologists and staff members who are uncovering what lies even further beneath.