Shakespeare’s theatre artefacts come to the Hackney Museum

Fascinating finds from Shakespeare’s first theatre will be on display at Hackney Museum next month.

The exhibition, which coincides with the World Shakespeare Festival, will show off findings from the archaeological excavations at The Theatre, Shoreditch.

Artefacts on display include a fragment of 16th-century pottery showing a man with a beard and ruff, roofs tiles which are some of the last fragments of The Theatre, pipes and drinking vessels perhaps used by theatregoers and a 17th crucible and mortar from the alchemist’s workshop.

Senior Archaeologist for Museum of London Archaeology, Heather Knight, said: “Shakespeare has not only helped to shape the culture of the capital, his influence is evident across the globe. Excavating the Theatre gave Museum of London Archaeology the opportunity to add to the knowledge of this extraordinary figure.

“It’s been a privilege for us to be involved with this exciting project and we are delighted that the finds are going to be displayed to the public at the Hackney Museum.”

Cllr Jonathan McShane, Hackney Council’s Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture said: “I’m delighted that we will display important artefacts showing Hackney’s link with Shakespeare and the arts, as far back as the 16th Century.”

The Museum of London excavated the site of the former warehouse, in New Inn Broadway, in 2010.

Most Read

Built in 1576 by James Burbage, The Theatre was used by Shakespeare between 1594 and 1597. Romeo and Juliet is believed to have been written for the theatre and premiered there, details of the stage layout in the script reveal.

Plans by The Tower Theatre Company to build a �7m four-storey theatre on the site were granted planning permission in 2010 but construction has not begun.

The display of artefacts from The Theatre forms part of Hackney Museum’s Mapping the Change exhibition which teaches residents about the history of Hackney from the Saxons to the present.

Visit Hackney Museum, Reading Lane, from May 17 to September 15, or see for information and opening times. Entry is free.