the past


for the future


The Curtain Theatre

'A kingdom for a stage, princes to act And Monarchs to behold the swelling scene!’ – Henry V, Act 1, Prologue

The remains of Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch were discovered in 2011, three metres below the surface of the development. The Curtain was used as a theatre from 1577 to 1625, the longest history of use of all of London’s Shakespearean playhouses, and is believed to have been the venue from which Henry V was debuted.
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A glimpse into a hidden world.

This year archaeologists from MOLA will excavate the site of Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre; the remains will be preserved in-situ and transformed into a local landmark. Explore our interactive timeline to discover a buried layer of history.
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Get involved by attending an exciting programme of public events.

Join MOLA at venues in and around Shoreditch for a series of lectures and tours from some of the most influential figures in archaeology and Shakespearean history.
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Information Centre

An insight into Shakespeare’s Shoreditch.

For more information on Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre explore our compelling offering of articles, guest posts, news stories and video content.
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24 April 2018

David Divers is a Senior Project Manager at MOLA and has worked on archaeological projects across London for over 25 years. In this blog, he explains why The Stage is unlike any other archaeological project he has worked on.

04 April 2018

We all faced it at school: dealing with Shakespeare’s mysterious “metre”, and the brain-scrambling term “iambic pentameter” (yes, apparently those are real words).

05 December 2017

Today’s theatre actors are celebrated; tickets can go for hundreds of pounds and must be booked months in advance. But though today’s thespians attract crowds of autograph-seeking fans to the stage door, actors were not always so idolised.

24 October 2017

Early modern plays are stuffed with references to lines, parts, prompts and cues. The figure of the book-holder shouting lines from the tiring-house also appears. Why, though? Were early modern players lazy or forgetful? Not at all! They were part of a truly astonishing theatre-producing machine, and their “parts” were part of it.

18 October 2017

Shakespeare’s enduring tragedy, Romeo and Juliet, is thought to have been performed at the Curtain Theatre in the late 16th century. The play – written centuries ago in Elizabethan England and set in Medieval Verona – continues to capture the minds and hearts of modern audiences across the globe.

29 September 2017

In the 16th century, theatres sprang up all over London. A key figure on London’s burgeoning theatre scene, William Shakespeare was involved with many of these playhouses, either investing financially, or through his plays and theatre troupe, the Lord Chamberlain's Men – and often both. So where were these theatres, what happened to them, and how was the Bard involved?


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