Shakespeare’s first theatre uncovered

From the Museum of London: Much ado about Something in Shoreditch: Shakespeare’s first theatre uncovered.

In one of the most exciting finds of recent years, Museum of London archaeologists have unearthed the remains of what is believed to be one of London’s earliest playhouses, and Shakespeare’s first, in Shoreditch. A wonderful serendipity saw the discovery made during excavations on a site being prepared for the building of a new theatre, by the Tower Theatre Company. To quote the Bard: "The wheel has come full circle."

It has long been known that an open air playhouse, called The Theatre, stood in this area, but traces of its exact location have proved elusive. A venture of the travelling player James Burbage, it was one of London’s first dedicated playhouses when it opened in 1576, and it was here that a young William Shakespeare trod the boards as part of The Lord Chamberlain’s Men company of players, and had his first plays performed.

A tenancy dispute led to The Theatre being dismantled and its timbers transported south of the river, where they were used to construct The Globe in 1599.

Museum of London Archaeology, whose previous excavations at the sites of the Rose, Globe and Hope theatres, and earlier work on The Theatre, has helped map out the Shakespearian city, found the footings of what appears to be part of a polygonal structure during their evaluation of the site at New Inn Broadway, Shoreditch.[continue]