Shakespeare’s theatre unearthed in Shoreditch

Remains of the theatre where Romeo and Juliet was first performed have been discovered in Shoreditch.

The Curtain Theatre was London’s second playhouse and the home of Shakespeare’s drama company. It was known that the theatre, named after a nearby road, was in the area but its precise location was a mystery.

Findings of archaeologists from Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) include the walls of the gallery and the yard inside the playhouse, built in 1577, on the corner of Hewett Street and Curtain Road.

It is believed to be one of the UK’s best preserved examples of an Elizabethan theatre.

MOLA archaeologist, Chris Thomas, said: “This is a fantastic site which gives us unique insight into early Shakespearian theatres.”


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Kim Stabler, Archaeology Advisor at English Heritage said: “This is an outstanding site – and a fortuitous find in the year of the world wide celebration of Shakespear.”

It was the main venue for Shakespeare’s plays from 1597 until the Globe was built in 1599. It disappeared from record in 1622.

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Site owners, Plough Yard Developments, want to display the findings as part of their planned redevelopment of the 2.1 acre site which will include shops, restaurants and high quality housing.

Bordered by Plough Yard, Hearn Street, Hewett Street and Curtain Road, developers claim half of the development will be open space.

Visitors can view the proposals on site on June 8-9 between 10am and 4pm. More information is available at www.thestageshoreditch.co.uk.

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