Dame Judi picks Rose that grew on her

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The Independent Online
A FULL-SIZE replica of the Rose Theatre made for the hit film Shakespeare in Love has been acquired by Dame Judi Dench as a souvenir.

The actress, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth 1 in the film, fell for the replica of Shakespeare's first theatre during filming. "I was so taken with the whole thing that they actually gave me the replica, which was built at Shepperton Studios," she said. "I am now paying for it to be stored. I want it to be used as a working theatre and I am in negotiation for a site," she said in a magazine interview.

Dame Judi revealed that her actor husband, Michael Williams, had told her she was "absolutely mad" to take on the theatre set. She put her decision down to the power the film exerted over those involved in making it, saying: "That is what Shakespeare In Love has done to us all."

The set of the Rose was built to resemble the "wooden O" that staged Shakespeare's plays before The Globe in Southwark, south London, was built. It is a half-timbered building with an apron stage, open-air standing room and tiered galleries for the good seats. A spokeswoman for the Globe said designers from the film had visited the theatre and that the replica was "very well done".

However, she questioned whether the film set would be sufficiently strong to take a full audience.

Dame Judi is one of the artistic directors at the Globe, the pounds 5.5m replica of the original Globe and the only theatre in Britain staging Shakespeare's work as it would originally have been seen - in open air and natural light.

The actress came to fame playing Ophelia in Hamlet in 1957 and was a stalwart of the Royal Shakespeare Company in the 1960s.

Shakespeare in Love, which opened this weekend, has already been hailed as Britain's best movie of 1999.