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­Original Shakespeare theatre discovered

Published time: June 07, 2012 15:58
Edited time: June 07, 2012 19:58
Remains of the inner wall of the Curtain Theatre yard uncovered in Shoreditch, east London (Image from www.museumoflondonarchaeology.org.uk)

Remains of the inner wall of the Curtain Theatre yard uncovered in Shoreditch, east London (Image from www.museumoflondonarchaeology.org.uk)

The 17th century stage that saw Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet staged for the first time has been rediscovered in the Shoreditch district of London. Archaeologists claim they’ve found the remains of the long lost Curtain theatre.

The theatre opened in 1577 and stood until it was dismantled in the 17th century, and its remains were discovered in one of the most densely built up city areas, The Guardian reports.

Archaeologists discovered fragments of the theatre’s exterior wall. Now the experts are waiting till the site is cleared for further work. They believe that many interesting discoveries might await them as they continue digging.

The Curtain theatre was the premiere venue from William Shakespeare’s team before the Globe was built on the banks of the Thames. It stood just next to London's first playhouse, The Theatre. They are the oldest examples of purpose-built theatres in London. The Curtain received its name after the road it was facing and stood until the late 1620s.

The Globe was complete in 1599. For at least two years prior to that Shakespeare was using the Curtain as the main stage. Such plays as Henry V and Romeo and Juliet saw their premieres in the Curtain.

After Shakespeare’s team moved to the Globe, the building fell into decay and was then lost.

The site where the theatre remains were found is currently being developed. Having learned of the discovery the Plough Yard Developments plans to incorporate the remains as public open space within a mixed office, retail and residential quarter. The company now awaits further planning permission.

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