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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20 March 2017

To celebrate Shakespeare Week, we are inviting you to immerse yourselves in all things Shakespeare on Friday 24 March from 12 noon to 6pm, by climbing aboard MOLA’s Time Truck to enjoy a pop-up exhibition of some of the fascinating artefacts discovered during the excavation of the Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch, one of Shakespeare’s least historically documented playhouses.

07 February 2017

Built in Shoreditch in 1577, the Curtain Theatre was one of London's earliest playhouses. When the Curtain Theatre dig began, archaeologists were hopeful but unsure what to expect, however three months later, MOLA was able to confirm more of the theatre’s little known history.

19 June 2017

When asked to think of a Shakespeare play, the one that first comes to mind for most of us is Romeo and Juliet. Famous for its combination of tragedy, comedy, conflict and romance, this much-loved tale of two “star-crossed lovers” was voted Britain’s favourite Shakespeare play – and indeed, it’s hard to imagine another play taking that auspicious title.

26 October 2016

Find out what Senior Archaeologist at MOLA, Heather Knight, has to say about all things Shakespeare and Shoreditch in our first spotlight blog.

27 September 2016

London is a city defined by its past. The Tower of London, The London Dungeon, Westminster Abbey and the city’s numerous bridges, palaces and monuments attract tourists in their droves, all keen to experience our capital’s past as well as sampling the lifestyle that modern London has to offer. Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre, which will sit at the heart of The Stage, is much more than just a historical building: it is a globally significant heritage site that, through this development will be uncovered, studied by expert archaeologists and preserved for the public to enjoy forever.

27 April 2016

Archaeologists from MOLA have officially begun the detailed excavation of The Curtain Theatre, one of Shakespeare’s least historically documented playhouses, in London’s Shoreditch. The dig was officially launched by Ed Vaizey MP, the Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, today – 400 years almost to the day since Shakespeare’s death.


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