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Tudor Minute February 19, 1592: The Rose Opens

Hey, this is Heather from the Renaissance English History Podcast, and this is your Tudor Minute for February 19.

Today in 1592 the Rose Theater opened in London. It was the fourth of the public theaters to be opened in London as the popularity of plays grew, and it was the first to be based in Southwark, outside the jurisdiction of the City of London. It was built by Philip Henslowe, and was the first theater to publicly perform any of Shakespeare’s plays.

In may of 1591 the Lord Admiral’s men, a company of actors, split off from the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, which had included Richard Burbage, the most famous actor of the age. The playwright Christopher Marlowe became their main playwright. But the period from 1592-1594 was tough for theaters as a severe plague outbreak meant that public spaces were closed for almost the entire period until 1594. By the summer of 1594 the plague had run its course, and theater companies reorganized themselves after seeing some members die, and others find other work to sustain themselves during the closures. The Lord Admiral’s Men were based at the Rose Theater for seven years, performing dozens of new plays, hundreds of times a year.

That’s your Tudor Minute for today. Remember you can dive deeper into life in 16th century England through the Renaissance English History Podcast at englandcast.com, where there is a series on Elizabethan Theater.