York's famous Shakespeare's Rose Theatre closes

THE closure of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, which has gone into liquidation, “will be a loss” for York.

The company performed the Twelfth Night this summer in York. Pic: Charlotte Graham
The company performed the Twelfth Night this summer in York. Pic: Charlotte Graham

Organisations have reacted with sorrow to news that the theatre – which was run by Lunchbox Productions – suffered “unsustainable losses” from its recent seasons in York and at Blenheim Palace.

Andrew Lowson, director of York BID (business improvement district), said it is sad for staff who have worked for the company.

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He said: “This is sad news for the city and naturally for the employees who put a lot of hard work into these high quality productions.

“The Rose will be a loss, as it is the type of cultural event that we want in York, but we are glad to hear that the extremely popular Thor’s Tipi will continue to be part of the York Christmas experience.”

Charlie Croft, assistant director for culture at City of York Council, said: “It is incredibly disappointing that Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre will not be returning to York next year.

“It was a major coup for our city to welcome Europe’s first full-scale working replica of a traditional Shakespearean Theatre.

“Whilst in York, the Rose Theatre attracted thousands of residents, visitors and students, who were able to access this unique cultural and educational experience.”

A statement from the theatre said: “Sadly, due to Brexit and the economic and political uncertainty this has created, the anticipated audience numbers needed to sustain a project of this scale were not achieved.

“In 2018 Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre in York attracted 78,000 visitors but achieved only 47,000 in 2019. At Blenheim Palace only 38,000 people attended, whereas a figure of 75,000 was anticipated.”

The directors of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions are taking professional advice, according to a spokesman.

The company says Thor’s Tipi Bars – pop-up bars that have appeared in Dean’s Park next to York Minster and at the Prinicpal hotel – and Yorkshire’s Winter Wonderland are not affected.