Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Shakespeare's Curtain theatre

The Curtain theatre is upper right
Just in case anyone has not seen The Guardian today it reports that The Curtain theatre has been unearthed by MoLAS archaeologists. It has been discovered in a yard at Shoreditch. In the early 17th century the area was as rough as a badgers bottom, with slaughter houses and tanneries adding a particularly interesting odour. It is interesting to note that the site survived due to its being an open area and then mainly houses and back yards, with little deep excavations for cellars or foundations for large buildings.

This theatre preceded the more famous Globe, but was dismantled in the 17th century and its exact location subsequently lost, although the plaque marking the best guess was not that far away. 

Built in 1577 it is one of the earliest theatres in London and was where the first showings of Henry V and Romeo & Juliet occurred. The MoLA team have uncovered areas of exterior wall, which is vital for calculating the dimensions of the building. They have also found fragments of money boxes, used to take the entrance fee and then smashed!

Tudor Money Box - MoLAS archive

Finding such an important building is exciting enough, but this is in the middle of a Shakespearian summer-long international festival. It's almost as if MoLA had planned it... 

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