A SWORDFIGHT broke out in York today after Shakespeare's Rose Theatre returned to the city for a second summer season.

The pop-up Elizabethan theatre has again been built in the Castle Car Park below Clifford's Tower, and will once more feature four of the Bard's most popular plays.

This year's works are Hamlet, Henry V, Twelfth Night and The Tempest, and Met Office warnings of thunderstorms and torrential rain earlier this week might have prompted fears that groundlings standing in the uncovered area in front of the stage might get soaking from summer tempests.

But audiences look set instead to enjoy midsummer night's dream weather, despite light rain during today's cutting of a ribbon, attended by York's Town Crier and the High Sheriff of Yorkshire.

Sunshine and soaring temperatures are expected over the next few days, culminating with a forecasted 26C in York on Saturday.

And James Cundall, CEO of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, which has created the theatre, said forecasters had indicated another warm, dry summer was on the way.

The theatre, inspired by the famous London Rose Playhouse built in 1587, 12 years prior to The Globe, has been constructed using state-of-the-art scaffolding technology, corrugated iron and timber.

It houses an audience of 900, with 560 seated on three tiered balconies around an open-roofed courtyard and standing room for 340 ‘groundlings.'

It is again located within a Shakespearean village, featuring ‘wagon’ performances of Elizabethan-style entertainment and an Elizabethan garden created by Yorkshire garden designer Sally Tierney, with ornate beds of roses, cottage flowers, herbs and vegetables.

Food and drink is also being sold from an oak-framed and reed-thatched pub, dubbed the Bear Arms.