Remains of The Theatre, Shakespeare's Early Stomping Ground, Discovered

News   Remains of The Theatre, Shakespeare's Early Stomping Ground, Discovered Rows of bricks were recently uncovered by archaeologists from the Museum of London, prompting a belief that the foundation of an Elizabethan-era venue called The Theatre, where Shakespeare once acted, had been found.

The building — the first playhouse to be built in London — was taken down more than 400 years ago, in 1599. The site is in an area of east London called Shoreditch.

According to The Guardian, Jo Lyon, leader of the team of archaeologists, said, "As well as allowing us to walk in the footsteps of Shakespeare himself, the remains help us to start uncovering one of London's enduring secrets. We can now start to work on the detail of what the building here might have looked like, and expand our knowledge of the playhouses of Elizabethan London."

The Theatre was an outdoor venue with galleries and offered varied attractions, including fencing and athletic events, plus — later — plays by James Burbage's Lord Chamberlain's Men, a troupe that Shakespeare had a share in as actor and writer. It was built outside the boundaries of London to avoid taxation and censorship by the city.

The venue was though to be a roofless, circular wooden building with an area for groundlings to stand down front, plus galleries and boxes. The precise dimensions are not known.

According to The Guardian, "The crook-of-an-elbow-shaped angle of red brick uncovered is believed to be the north-east corner of the building — an important discovery that will help calculate the exact shape and dimensions of the theatre." The Theatre opened in autumn 1576, and the Chamberlain's Men performed there starting in 1594. After Burbage's death, his sons, facing the end of the lease of the land, and learning that the landlord was going to tear down The Theatre, dismantled the building themselves in the dead of night. The timbers were shipped across the Thames River, and used to build the more famous Globe (1599), where Shakespeare found more glory as a playwright.