KNOCK, knock! Knock, knock, knock! Here's a knocking indeed, but this is not the Porter's speech from Act 2, Scene 3 of Macbeth. Instead director Damian Cruden is conducting this interview in his lunch break as hammering adjustments are being made to the newly built stage of Shakespeare's Rose Theatre in the Castle car park in York before tech rehearsals resumed on Wednesday afternoon.

Scottish-born Cruden, for 21 years the artistic director of York Theatre Royal, is directing Shakespeare's Scottish play at "Europe's first ever pop-up Shakespearean theatre", mounted by North Yorkshireman James Cundall's Lunchbox Theatrical Productions company over the next ten weeks.

Cruden's Macbeth will be the first to open on Monday at 2.30pm, sharing his cast of 17 with Theatre Royal associate director Juliet Forster for A Midsummer Night's Dream. Lindsay Posner had headed north this week with his London company of 17 for Romeo And Juliet and Richard III. More of Forster and Posner in The Press tomorrow.

Cruden has directed the York Mystery Plays in the Museum Gardens and E Nesbit's The Railway Children on a track at the National Railway Museum in York, underground at Waterloo Station and in a King's Cross tent, as well as assorted plays in a Theatre Royal main house reconfigured as a theatre in the round. Now comes a different theatrical space once more: the Shakespeare's Rose Theatre's circular combination of three-tiered wood and steel scaffolding.

"Some of those spaces were on a large scale, and yet this one feels intimate, similar in intimacy and audience capacity to The Railway Children at the NRM, where we had 500 people either side.

York Press:

Macbeth director Damian Cruden. Picture: Anthony Robling

"In constructing theatre spaces, in Shakespeare's time, they brought the audience close to the front, rather than pushing them to the back, like they now do in a lot of conventional theatres. Whereas in this design, the front is populated with 'groundlings' [the standing audience, with the seating all around] and so the sense of being in an event will be heightened.

"There's a feeling of being involved more when you're standing, it pitches you into it, and we're adding to that by having entries and exits through the groundlings – and because of this proximity, the notion of direct address by Macbeth is much more complete. You have a better sense of being involved in the world of the story that's taking place."

Cruden believes the Rose Theatre setting – with no curtain, natural light, the stage open to the elements and an emphasis on language over props and technical wizardry – intensifies the audience's powers of imagination to "move into the world you're being asked to go into". "What I've realised is all I need are the actors and a few benches and it can all happen so much more quickly," he says.

The last time Cruden directed Macbeth, he turned Japanese at York Theatre Royal in March 2005 as Shakespeare's early 17th century play met the Far Eastern cinema of Kurosawa and Zhang Yimou and the Kill Bill movies of Tarantino in his ancient yet modern reinvention with giant puppets and huge heaps of black sand.

By comparison, Macbeth 2018 will be a rather "bloody version", with "lots of muscular percussion and rather lovely tenor sax" in Christopher Madin's score, plenty of combat and a design by Sara Perks redolent of Game Of Thrones and the computer game Assassin's Creed in keeping with the space. The running time will be brisk – 75 minutes first half, 72, the second – "but we've not cut a lot of the text". "The Porter's scene is still there, but we've trimmed the 'England scene' to its essence, about equivocation and what is truth.

"In his scene too, the Porter is in some ways the gatekeeper of truth as well as the gatekeeper to hell, so this play sits very well in our contemporary landscape of Donald Trump's 'alternative truths' and 'fake news' and post-truth, where we're trying to work out who holds the keys to the truth and who has the 'right truth', when there are so many narratives floating around and it's becoming harder to decipher which one you can trust," says Cruden.

York Press:

"It's very robust, very direct, high paced; it grabs you right from the word go," says Macbeth director Damian Cruden. Picture: Anthony Robling

He believes that "working out how you present the Three Witches is the defining factor in how you do Macbeth". He will keep his way of doing this close to his chest until the play opens, but says: "What remains true to Shakespeare's perspective is that the Witches are very much Macbeth's construct; he does what he understands they've said to him, not what they say to him.

"It's down to interpretation and that comes down to the nature of your character. In life, you realise how much your actions impact on your future, not fate. The Macbeths make their own future knowingly, and they even know the pitfalls before they do it."

Cruden believes Macbeth is the right choice for the opening performance. "The good thing about doing Macbeth first up is this is the most resilient of the plays. It's very robust, very direct, high paced; it grabs you right from the word go, and we've changed the start a little so it will grab you even more," he says.

Lunchbox Theatrical Productions will be hoping for an impact beyond York and Yorkshire, but Cruden has a message for those closer to home. "You have your own Shakespeare festival on your doorstep for the whole of the summer. You would only get to see theatre at Shakespeare's Globe in London that matches it in terms of quality on stage and quality of the whole experience," he says.

"You'd be mad not to see at least two plays and certainly see one as a groundling. What Shakespeare's Rose Theatre says is that culture in our city is alive and kicking."

Lunchbox Theatrical Productions present Shakespeare's Rose Theatre, at Tower Street, York, June 25 to September 2. Box office: 01904 623568 or at