Today we headed out on a sunny CTC Freedom Pass Trip to Shoreditch for a tour of the Curtain Theatre dig with archaeologists from MOLA who are currently excavating the 16th and 17th century Shakespearean playhouse’s remains.
We were lucky to be given a special talk by one of the archaeologists on site who told us that the The Curtain was in use as a theatre from 1577, and Shakespeare’s Henry V premiered at the Curtain and his other plays, including Romeo and Juliet were performed there. We learned that Shakespeare himself even appeared in Ben Jonson’s comedy Every Man in His Humour. As one of Shakespeare’s least historically documented theatres, the physical remains are providing archaeologists with exciting new information about the playhouse, its use and theatrical performances at the time. The most interesting revelation is that instead of being a polygonal shape like the Globe (or the “wooden O” of the famous prologue to Henry V prologue), as originally thought, the Curtain was actually rectangular!
The site is being redeveloped by Galliard Homes and will become a brand new living, office, retail and leisure space which will be themed around the playhouse. It will even include a performance space so people can perform on the very same space that Shakespeare did!
If you missed this trip but would like to go along and see, you can still go to one last open day before work finishes in July on Saturday July 2nd: http://www.mola.org.uk/events/dig-shakespeare-open-day-curtain-theatre