Archaeologists reveal details of Shakespeare Curtain Theatre

Archaeologists unearthed the remains of the first theatre of William Shakespeare, the Curtain Theatre, East London, United Kingdom, that preceded the famous Globe Theatre as a place where the Shakespeare’s plays were played.

Area of excavations (by Museum of London Archaeology)
Area of excavations (by Museum of London Archaeology)

Archaeologists of the Museum of London Archaeology spent 3 months conducting excavations at the site. They were able to unearth what may be one of the earliest purpose-built theatres built in London. It is now understood that the building was built as a performance space with viewing galleries and a general audience courtyard rather than a re-purposed space with a stage added.

Excavation of the Curtain Theatre (by Museum of London Archaeology)
Excavation of the Curtain Theatre (by Museum of London Archaeology)

A discovery of a theatre’s long, rectangular stage was followed by another one, of a passageway running beneath it. It was possibly used by actors to exit from one side of the stage and enter from the other without being seen by the audience.

Archaeological examination (by Museum of London Archaeology)
Archaeological examination (by Museum of London Archaeology)

Among the finds are also small glass beads and pins found at the site may have been from actors’ costumes, and also drinking vessels and clay pipes, likely used by theatergoers and actors.

Tobacco pipes (by Museum of London Archaeology)
Tobacco pipes (by Museum of London Archaeology)

(after Museum of London Archaeology & Live Science)

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