London theater where Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet first performed found


A London playhouse where William Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" was thought to have first been performed have been unearthed.

The Curtain theater, where "Henry V" was also first performed, was opened in 1577 and was the main venue for Shakespeare's plays from 1597 until the famous Globe Theatre opened in 1599, Agence France Presse reported.

Parts of the 435-year-old Elizabethan theater's walls have been discovered by archeologists from Museum of London Archeology (MOLA) north of the river Thames in Shoreditch, according to Reuters

AFP quoted an MOLA spokeswoman as saying: "We have done what's called an evaluation and come across the theater which is absolutely beautifully preserved, better than any of the others of Shakespeare's theaters.

"It's the last of Shakespeare's theaters to be excavated. It's such a significant site they will make efforts to preserve it in situ."

Reuters quoted Chris Thomas from MOLA as adding: "This is a fantastic site which gives us unique insight into early Shakespearean theaters."

The polygonal-shaped theater, typical of the 16th century, was found behind a pub earmarked for redevelopment, with parts found 9 feet below surface-level.

The theater — for a time home to Shakespeare's company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men — was immortalized as "this wooden O" in the prologue of Henry V. 

Shakespeare moved his troupe to the Curtain after a dispute with the landlord of their previous venue, known simply as The Theater, according to the Associated Press.

More digging on the site is to take place in late 2012 and early 2013.

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