Walkers passing along Bankside in central London must turn up Bear Gardens and go left again to find the remains of the 1587 Rose Theatre. Now, twenty miles further on at Kingston-upon Thames, there is a modern version also called The Rose.
It stands at the back of the new Charter Quay with its front door on the high street. Indeed Tudor travellers from Bankside would have known the street for Kingston was a day’s journey from London and the trip was often undertaken by the Bishop of Winchester in whose Bankside garden that first Rose was built.
The new Â£11m covered Rose has been built thanks to an extraordinary redevelopment planning deal. Sir Peter Hall has supported the vision since the early 1990s and now he has directed the opening play Uncle Vanya.
This week’s first night attracted big names to join the audience including film-maker Mike Leigh. They were rewarded with performances by Nicholas Le Prevost as Vanya, Ronald Pickup as Serebryakov, a bearded Neil Pearson as Astrov, Michelle Dockery as the beautiful Yelena and Loo Brealey as Sonya.
The season includes two Shakespeare plays. Upper circle seats are Â£5 and the pit (bring your own cushion) is Â£7. Uncle Vanya is at the Rose Theatre Kingston until 9 February.
The Thames Path crosses Kingston Bridge so to see the Rose you must stay by the river to pass The Bishop Out of Residence pub. After crossing the tiny Hogsmill River go left up Emm’s Passage to reach the theatre on the left at the High Street.
See pages 33 and 65.