When most people think of Shakespeare, they immediately think of the Globe Theatre (thanks, Doctor Who). But more than two decades before the Globe opened its doors in 1599, the Curtain Theatre was home to some of the world's first performances of plays like Henry V and Romeo and Juliet.
The Curtain's location was lost shortly after its closing and disassembly at the beginning of the 17th century. Now, almost 400 years later, excavators from the Museum of London Archaeology (MoLA) have discovered various sections of the playhouse in east London.
According to the Telegraph:
The MoLA has found the original site on Hewett Street, a few hundred yards from another theatre found by the museum in 2008 called The Theatre. Both this and the Curtain are believed to be the earliest purpose-built theatres in London. [The Theatre's doors opened just one year before The Curtain's, in 1576.]
Part of the gravelled yard, where audiences stood and watched the plays, and the foundation walls have been uncovered after 500 years.
"I love the fact that we are excavating London, and slowly clearing away the miserable piles of Victoriana and Empire, and revealing the wild, anarchic and joyous London which is lurking beneath," said Dominic Dromgoole, artistic director of the reconstructed Globe Theatre, in an interview with The Guardian.
"It reminds me of the Zocalo in Mexico City, where all the Spanish palaces are slowly sinking into the earth, and the old Mayan temples are being squeezed back up."