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Rehearsal photographs as Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre opens today in York

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The curtain is finally ready to be raised at Europe’s first pop-up Elizabethan theatre today and its organisers cannot wait for the public to see what they have created.

At 2.30pm this afternoon, Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre next to Clifford’s Tower in York will stage its premiere performance, that of The Bard’s Macbeth.

The final dress rehearsal for Macbeth at Shakespeare's Rose Theatr in York. Pictures by James Hardisty.

The final dress rehearsal for Macbeth at Shakespeare's Rose Theatr in York. Pictures by James Hardisty.

Ahead of opening day, The Yorkshire Post was invited along to the theatre for a sneak peek of a full dress rehearsal and captured the play’s stars delivering their lines in full period costume.

Also privy to the warm-up was James Cundall, chief executive of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, the theatre’s organisers, and he told of his great excitement ahead of the highly-anticipated opening.

“When you have had a very clear idea in your mind for a year, it is reassuring when it comes to fruition. Everything we have planned has worked as it should. It’s spot on,” he said.

The Lunchbox chief will be on hand in advance of the first performance to carry out ribbon cutting duties to officially open the theatre site which also includes the complementary Shakespeare’s Village - a free space for the public to soak up the atmosphere.

Expect "blood, mud and leather" at the Rose Theatre, says Lunchbox Theatrical Productions chief James Cundall.

Expect "blood, mud and leather" at the Rose Theatre, says Lunchbox Theatrical Productions chief James Cundall.

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, will also visit the site today to give the theatre a blessing and Yorkshire-born celebrity chef Brian Turner, who has masterminded the special Shakespeare-inspired street food menu for the adjoining village, will be serving up the first of his gourmet street food.

Meanwhile, award-winning garden designer Sally Tierney will unveil an Elizabethan ‘Romeo & Juliet’ garden, a town crier will declare the theatre open, and local band York Waits will perform 16th century-inspired music.

Mr Cundall had nipped out of yesterday’s Macbeth rehearsal when he spoke to The Yorkshire Post. Yorkshire actor Richard Standing plays the lead role opposite York’s Leandra Ashton as Lady Macbeth in a production directed by Damian Cruden.

“It’s going really well,” Mr Cundall said of the rehearsal.

The first performance of Macbeth is today at 2.30pm.

The first performance of Macbeth is today at 2.30pm.

“We have a great cast of actors and great directors. It’s just as Shakespeare should be, blood, mud and leather, and great acting.”

Three other plays will be performed in front of audiences of up to 950 people at the theatre. The others are A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo & Juliet and Richard III. Performances run until September 2.