WORK has started on building Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre in a York car park - less than a month before actors take to the stage.

More than 30 articulated lorries have been delivering 60,000 feet of scaffolding to the Castle Car Park near Clifford’s Tower since Sunday, and specialist scaffolders have already started the massive construction project.

Andy Nutter, managing director of Acorn Event Construction in Sherburn in Elmet, said yesterday the firm’s target was to complete the basic project in two weeks.

James Cundall, whose company Lunchbox Theatrical Productions is behind the Rose theatre project, said: “It’s tight but it’s doable.”

He said that after that, an accompanying Elizabethan village would be built to re-create the full experience of theatre going in Shakespeare’s times.

The five buildings, serving food and drink, would all be thatched and made with Yorkshire timber and there would also be a wagon from the Yorkshire Wolds, dating back to the 1890s, which had been restored and on which free entertainment would be provided, with music and sonnets, and silent Shakespeare movies shown on a large LED screen.

Mr Cundall said the company had organised a trial build of the structure in Sherburn, at some expense, to ensure everything fitted together.

He said a key moment would come as soon as Thursday when the roof for the stage would be winched into place up to 17 metres high by crane.

York council leader Ian Gillies said: “It;’s inspirational and very ambitious, and it’s in a fantastic position below Clifford’s Tower, The aspiration is to get rid of all the cars from the car park.” He stressed that the council would be compensated for lost parking revenue.

Mr Cundall explained that the stage would be built in front of the River Foss, facing towards the tower.

The entrances and village would be on the tower side, with an Elizabethan garden created by Yorkshire garden designer Sally Tierney, involving ornate box-edged beds of cottage flowers, roses and herbs, nearest to the Coppergate Centre.

The theatre is due to open on June 25, with the first performance being Macbeth, with the title role played by former Coronation Street, Holby City and Mamma Mia! actor Richard Standing. There will subsequently be a gender-swapping A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Richard III and Romeo and Juliet.

Mr Cundall said separate casts in London and York were getting on well with rehearsals for the four plays and all was going well - and the only thing which could not be organised was a continuation of the recent fine weather.