Dustin Hoffman is joining British actors in calling for developers to preserve the remains of the 400-year-old Rose Playhouse, where some of Shakespeare's works premiered.

Walls and floors of the theater were discovered near the Thames, but construction on an office building is to start Monday."You're killing yourself. You're destroying your own heritage," said Hoffman, who is in London to star in a production of Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice." "Why not rebuild the Rose Theater?"

In a letter to The Times, actors and playwrights, including Lawrence Olivier, Tom Stoppard and Derek Jacobi, said, "Surely the secretary of state should intervene, even at this last-minute stage, to prevent building from proceeding and to save the entire Rose Theater site for the nation."

Dame Judi Dench, one of Britain's leading Shakespearean actresses, expressed her outrage by saying, "There's no other country in the world that if they found a theater of possibly the greatest playwright in the world that this could happen."