Shoreditch’s recently unearthed Curtain Theatre is to stage a special collaborative event next month with archaeologists and historians delving into the heritage of the Elizabethan playhouse.
The Curtain was discovered in 2011 before being excavated in detail by Museum of London Archaelogy (MOLA) two years ago, and its remains are to be preserved in situ as part of The Stage – a housing, office and retail development being built on the site.
On Saturday 21 July, the 16th-century theatre – once home to Shakespeare’s drama company – will be the subject of an afternoon of talks and performances at Hackney House, adjacent to its grounds.
The event, The Curtain Rises: Diverse Histories at the Curtain Playhouse, is being organised by the University of Roehampton’s Before Shakespeare project.
It will feature talks and performances by leading archaeologists, historians and actors about the theatre’s heritage and its importance for Shoreditch.
The Curtain was built around 1577, predating the famous Globe Theatre and distinguishing itself as Elizabethan England’s longest-serving commercial playhouse.
University of Roehampton’s Callan Davies said: “We are honoured and incredibly excited to be able to bring performance, discussion, and community engagement to the Curtain.
“There are very few surviving theatre buildings from this period—and even fewer on the scale and significance of the Curtain—so the site is hugely important for the history of theatre in Britain.
“We are set for a special occasion thanks to collaboration with MOLA and The Stage to explore the playhouse, its performances, and its past and future social lives.
“The talks and performances throughout the afternoon will celebrate and explore the diversity of the visitors that came to this site back in the 1600s—cultural roots that are still embedded in the local community today.”
The event will end with a public-facing Q&A session, featuring Heather Knight, lead archaeologist on the Curtain dig, performers, council members, and historians.
Visitors will also get a chance to handle artefacts and items discovered during the theatre’s excavation of the theatre – from money boxes and glass beads to pipes and beer glasses.
The event will take place from 1-5pm on 21 July at Hackney House, 27 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3LT.
Tickets are available for £10 on Eventbrite.
For more information about the event, or to book a ticket, please visit beforeshakespeare.com