Today, as you can read in this piece from the Independent, a “pop-up” Shakespeare theatre has opened in York. The Oxford Dictionaries website tells us that pop-up denotes “a shop or other business that opens quickly in a temporary location and is intended to operate for only a short period of time”. In recent years these other businesses have included bars, restaurants and exhibitions, to name a few that have come to my attention. The McDonalds restaurant in the Olympic Park here in London back in 2012 was the world’s largest, but it was still a pop-up. It was there for the duration of the Olympics and Paralympics, and then it was taken down. We visited it on our day out at the Paralympics: we bought Happy Meals from the biggest McDonalds in the world. There is no sign these days of where it was. A few years ago one of the record shops in Soho’s Berwick Street was home to a pop-up exhibition featuring memorabilia from The Clash. My son and I visited it a couple of times. Again, there is no indication of where exactly it took place.
According to the Independent article referenced above, the York pop-up cost £3m, has 660 seats and has space for 300 people to stand. It is known as Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, and the venue’s official site, here, tells us, “Four of William Shakespeare’s greatest plays will be performed in repertory over the 10-week summer season: ‘Macbeth’, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and ‘Richard III’.” I am tempted to make a trip north to check it out, but these are all plays that I have seen many times before. After seeing “The Two Noble Kinsmen” for the second time last week there are not many plays that would prompt me to travel such a long way. It’s over ten years since I last visited any of Stratford-on-Avon’s theatres, and here in London during that time I have missed plenty of productions of the four plays playing in repertory up in York this summer. Maybe “Edward III” would do the trick. Many experts attribute it, at least in part, to Shakespeare, and that’s good enough for me. I have never seen it, and it hasn’t been staged anywhere in the UK since 2002. If Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, or any other venue in the country, put on a production of “Edward III”, I’d pop up and see it.