Some of the plays presumed to be written for or staged at the post-1591/2 Rose playhouse reference ‘gates,’ which suggest the central opening may also have had double doors., However, Gurr and Ichikawa caution that ‘[w]henever the central opening had to become a town’s gates, with the defenders on the balcony above, the hangings would have served in place of real doors or gates. If doors had been hung in the central space they would have had to be kept open for most of the time, and would have got in the way of backstage movement.’346 When it initially opened in 1996–7, the central opening at the reconstructed Shakespeare’s Globe in London was covered only by a hanging tapestry. Since then, doors have been added to the opening, although the motive is unclear.

In William Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part I (F1623), 1.3 is set before the gates to the Tower of London: ‘Open the gates, tis Gloster that calls,’ and a Warder calls out ‘Who’s there, that knocks so imperiously’; in 3.2, the scene takes place before the gates of ‘Roan’: ‘Pucell: These are the Citie Gates, the Gates of Roan…[Soldier] Therefore wee’le knock.’; and 4.2 is played before the ‘Gates of Burdeaux’ and the scene suggests two further entrances to the left and right of these central ‘gates.’347

In Titus Andronicus, 1.1, two contending parties meet and clamour at the gates for entrance to the ‘Senate house’, leading Saturninus to demand, ‘Open the gates and let me in.’348

In The Death of Robert Earl of Huntington, a company seek to enter the gates to a castle: ‘Rich. The castle gates are shut…’; similarly, later King John calls up to Abbess, who enters upon the Abbey walls, ‘wherefore shut you up your gates?’  Later on, forces have assembled at the gates of Winsor castle which has been seized by young Bruse. The king calls to Bruce on the castle walls: ‘Come downe young Bruce, set ope the castle gates.’349

Rhodes suggests reference to ‘gates’ suggests that they were double doors.

For the model, the central opening has curtains but no doors, although it cannot be known for certain that there weren’t any at the Rose. Their usefulness in keeping the elements out of the tiring house and securing the valuable contents within would make doors an attractive addition.

[346] Gurr and Ichikawa, Staging in Shakespeare’s Theatres, 59.

[347] Shakespeare, Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, 453, 461, 465. Henslowe records performances of a play titled ‘Harey Vj’ between March 1592 and January 1593, performed by Lord Strange’s Men presumably at the Rose (Foakes, Henslowe’s Diary, 16–20).

[348] Shakespeare, The Most Lamentable Romaine Tragedie of Titus Andronicus, Sig. A4r.

[349] Munday and Chettle, The Death of Robert Earl of Huntington, Sig. F4v; H4v; L2r.