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virtual RoseWho knew? Ortelia.com, specialising in “interactive environments”, among other things made a virtual model of the Rose Playhouse in Bankside – Philip Henslowe’s theatre, where the Admiral’s Men led by Ned Alleyn played for little less than a decade – with or without the addition of Lord Strange’s Men – until they moved to the newly-built Fortune. 

Here you can find several snippets: a panoramic view of the place, a couple of guesses at “special effects”, and a slice of the last great soliloquy from Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus. The model is described as “following the Rose through its several enlargements”. The scenes in the snippets, though, are set before 1592, when Henslowe had a roof supported by two columns built over the stage, but after the Admiral’s-cum-Strange’s Men took residence in the summer of 1591.

There is much emphasis on how small the playhouse was… Well, of course the Rose was smallish when compared to the Theatre in Norton Folgate, for instance, or to the later Globe – but it still could house up to 3000 people – sitting in the galleries, and standing in the pit.

The virtual Rose is populated with actors, some audience, props on the stage, and the fellow centre-stage is supposed to be Ned Alleyn himself, the first Faustus.

The creators vouch for the accuracy of their reconstruction. It certainly looks good, though I wish they had added a soundscape.