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The Museum of Shakespeare to Open in Shoreditch

The Museum of Shakespeare will be a new immersive and interactive permanent experience, transporting guests to the 16th Century.

Public realm at The Stage. Photo: courtesy of Cain International.

Visitors will discover London’s first theatreland as they live a day in the life of William Shakespeare, exploring interactive experiences and the archaeological remains of The Curtain Playhouse. One of only two scheduled ancient monuments in Hackney, visitors will be able to immerse themselves in the culture of Elizabethan London to learn about the life, inspirations and creative process of Shakespeare. The museum experience will include original objects from the time, alongside multisensory experiences and a chance to walk on the stage where Shakespeare presented plays such as Romeo & Juliet and Henry V.

Take a Step Back in Time

Hosting a variety of activities from plays to fencing matches, The Curtain Playhouse was a cultural and social centre for the city during the life of Shakespeare. An archaeological excavation of the site during 2011-16 revealed its remains, with the Museum of Shakespeare now making them publicly accessible for the first time, enabling scholars and the public alike to learn more about this important site and its fascinating history.

"This will be Shakespeare as you have never experienced it before.”

Located three metres underground and four centuries back in time, guests will be immersed in a fantastical retelling of a day in the life of Shakespeare, presented through dynamic experiences, innovative theatrical technology and archaeological discoveries.

Set in the year 1598, a time of great creative risk and opportunity for a young Shakespeare, visitors to the Museum of Shakespeare will soak up the sights, smells, sounds and people that inspired his plays, as well as have the chance to take centre stage and demonstrate their own flare for performance and creative storytelling.

Curtain Playhouse excavation site. Courtesy of Museum of London Archeology.

Museum of Shakespeare. Courtesy of Bompas and Parr.

Standing above the remains of the stage, visitors will be surrounded by a projected reconstruction of the Playhouse, presenting a unique opportunity to stand in the heart of the theatre experience, whilst AI technology will place guests in animated performances and scheduled workshops will bring audience creativity to life. The Museum of Shakespeare has been created by creative studio Bompas & Parr in collaboration with Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) and Historic England, alongside a panel of Shakespearean academic advisors, and will be housed within The Stage development delivered by Cain International alongside McCourt Global, Galliard Homes, Vanke, Investec and The Estate Office Shoreditch.

Jonathan Goldstein, CEO of Cain International, said: “The Museum of Shakespeare will bring a unique proposition of culture, entertainment and history to the heart of Shoreditch."

Harry Parr, Co-Founder of Bompas & Parr, added: “The Museum of Shakespeare will be the most ambitious project that Bompas & Parr has undertaken and is in line with our mission to create location-based experiences that make London a more interesting place and a city unrivalled in its cultural importance and reputation for world-class entertainment. This will be Shakespeare as you have never experienced it before.”

The Curtain Playhouse

Opening its doors in 1577, The Curtain Playhouse was home to Shakespeare’s earliest performances with Lord Chamberlain’s Men showing between 1597-1599 and Henry V believed to have debuted there along with many other plays we know and love today.

The buried archaeological remains of The Curtain were exposed in 2011-16 during a number of excavations by Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) and are now preserved in situ. Along with the stage itself, evidence of tenement buildings that were erected following the closure of the Playhouse were also found, alongside fascinating artefacts including money box tops and tobacco pipes. It is one of only a handful of sole-purpose Elizabethan playhouses clearly identified as an archaeological monument in London, and one of the earliest surviving examples of a non-polygonal theatre.

Where: The Stage, Shoreditch, EC2A 3NL.

When: Early 2025


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