If you’ve ever been to London, you might have visited the Globe – the well known theatre where many of Shakespeare’s play were performed. The Globe Theatre is even referenced by Shakespeare in his plays, such as Prospero’s speech in the Tempest, which reads
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp’d tow’rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind.
But in the future, you might be able to visit the Curtain Theatre as well, another theatre in London where Shakespeare’s plays were performed. Until this past June, no one knew exactly where the Curtain was located. Luckily, a group of archaeologists found the remains of the theatre behind a pub in East London when they started working on redevelopment of the site.
The Curtain Theatre opened in 1577, and in 1597 it became home to Shakespeare’s company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men. The company stayed there for two years, until moving to the finished Globe Theatre across the river. Most believe that Romeo and Juliet and Henry V premiered at this theatre. In fact, the Curtain is referenced in Henry V, as “this wooden O.” The Curtain survived as a theatre until the 1620s, which makes it the longest-standing of the Elizabethan playhouses of London. Now that it has been uncovered, we have a chance to learn more about the places where Shakespeare’s plays were first performed, and how these theatres inspire the language of his plays.
What about you? Are you anxious to see what remains of The Curtain Theatre someday?
S.I.A IS ARTISTIC COMPANY IN RESIDENCE AT CENTRAL TORONTO ACADEMY. © SHAKESPEARE IN ACTION 2015. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.