Archaeological site of Shakespeare’s first London Theatre in Shorditch, with actor Mark Rylance

This week, Lebrecht photographer Laurie Lewis was given exclusive access to an archaeological dig in Shoreditch, which has revealed the site of Shakespeare’s first London theatre.

Actor Mark Rylance celebrated the end of the dig by reciting ‘O for a Muse of fire’ from Henry V on the yard where Elizabethan theatregoers watched some of Shakespeare’s earliest plays. He said “It is wonderful that it’s been discovered and will be the foundations of a new theatre”

The dig has shed new light on the early history of Shoreditch and produced some unique finds including rare ceramics dating from Shakespeare’s time.

“You get a site like this once in a lifetime…. This site is Shakespeare – and, in terms of archaeology, we do not think we are ever going to get closer to him than this. Jo Lyon, Senior Archaeologist, Museum of London Archaeology.

One of London’s longest established grass roots theatre companies, The Tower Theatre, has planning permission to bring London theatre back to its first home, building a brand new 135 seat auditorium and production base which will be a vibrant addition to this historic quarter.

For more information about the story or pictures, please call 020 7625 5341 or email

Archaeological site of Shakespeare's first theatre in London. Shakespearean actor Mark Rylance

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