Where Shakespeare first trod the boards

While excavating the site of a future theater, Museum of London archaeologists found what they think are the foundations of one of London’s first theaters.

According to the museum the precise location of the open air playhouse, called The Theatre, were previously unknown. 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.

Needless to say, the Tower Theatre Company, the folks building the new community theater on the site, are just about peeing their pants with excitement over the find.

“The discovery that we shall be building a 21st century playhouse where Shakespeare and Burbage played and where some of Shakespeare’s plays must first have been performed is a huge inspiration.”

“We are delighted that informal discussions with Hackney’s planning officers have been extremely positive. In the run up to submitting a formal planning application we, our architect and structural engineer will all be working with English Heritage and the planning authority to ensure that the design of our building enables the archaeology to be retained in situ.”

Sounds ideal on all counts, then.

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