Funding of £7 million is required to excavate the eastern side and create a visitor centre for the Rose Playhouse.

The Rose Playhouse, where Henry VI and Titus Andronicus were first performed, was, appropriately, the scene for the announcement last week of Mark Griffiths’s discovery of Shakespeare’s only lifetime portrait. The theatre (above, view by William Dudley, 1587), close to Country Life‘s offices in London SE1, was built in 1587 by Philip Henslowe, who ran it with the renowned Elizabethan actor Edward Alleyn until it was demolished in the early 17th century.

The remains were only uncovered in 1989 by archaeologists during building projects in the area; actors, including a close-to-death Lawrence Olivier, held an all-night vigil to protest against further development. It has been designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument and is the most monitored archaeological site in the world. The Rose Playhouse is now part of Shakespeare’s Globe’s regular tours and stages plays in a tiny area in the atmospheric flooded west half—it’s currently showing Macbeth (until May 30)—but funding of £7 million is required to excavate the eastern side and create a visitor centre.

To donate, telephone 020–7261 9565 or visit www.rosetheatre.org.uk