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Re-discovered Shakespeare Theatre to provide cultural heart of £750m London mixed-use scheme

The Elizabethan theatre where William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Henry V were performed for the first time is at the centre of a new £750m (US$1bn, €968.7m) mixed-use destination for London.

The historic remains of The Curtain Theatre, which dates back to 1577, were discovered buried three metres beneath a disused Victorian goods yard earmarked for development in 2011.

The Curtain was home to Shakespeare’s Theatre Company and the Bard himself is said to have performed there in a 1598 production of Ben Jonson’s ‘Every Man in His Humour’.

The historic discovery is the cultural centrepiece of the project, named The Stage, which is being masterplanned by British architectural practice Perkins + Will and developed by real estate firm Galliard Homes.

Remains and objects from the theatre found during the ongoing archaeological dig will be excavated, preserved and displayed at a new heritage centre, along with historical Shakespearean artefacts sourced from other locations.

Visitors will be able to walk above the excavation site via a glass platform and watch scenes from Shakespeare plays via augmented reality.

The centre will form part of one of of London’s largest cultural squares, which will be bordered by 400,000sq ft (37,000sq m) of mixed use space – including cafes, restaurants, shops, a performing arts pavilion and a 200-seat sunken amphitheatre.

A 19th century railway viaduct located on one side of the new square will be restored with 9,000sq ft (836sq m) of boutique stalls and leisure facilities accommodated in its arches and a landscaped park and tea house created on top.

The development will also feature a fitness club operated by a “world-class luxury health club and spa brand” providing cardio workouts, one-to-one training, toning and juice bars alongside a spa, steamroom and sauna inspired by the famous Cistern Basilica in Istanbul.

The Stage will also include a 37-storey landmark residential tower and two office buildings. The former will feature a private cinema and a sky bar and rooftop terrace on the 32nd floor.

Galliard Homes are developing the project in a joint venture with Cain Hoy, McCourt, Vanke and The Estate Office Shoreditch.

“The regeneration of this Shakespearean site will elevate the status of Shoreditch to that of the uber-cool Meatpacking district in downtown New York City,” said David Galman, sales director of Galliard Homes. “The Stage will turn Shoreditch into the new Notting Hill; a highly desirable neighbourhood to live, enjoy leisure and work.”

The main construction works for The Stage will commence in April 2016 and the project is scheduled for completion by Q1 2019.

This year marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and to honour the occasion, senior tourism leaders across the UK have launched a plan to bolster visitor numbers to Shakespearean sites across the country – including the Globe Theatre in London and his birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Shakespeare  Curtain Theatre  architecture  design  London  Shoreditch  development  theatre  culture  
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The Elizabethan theatre where William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Henry V were performed for the first time is at the centre of a new £750m (US$1bn, €968.7m) mixed-use destination for London. The historic remains of The Curtain Theatre, which dates back to 1577, were discovered buried three metres beneath a disused Victorian goods yard earmarked for development in 2011. The Curtain was home to Shakespeare’s Theatre Company and the
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The centre will form part of one of of London’s largest cultural squares, which will be bordered by 400,000sq ft of mixed use space / Galliard Homes
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Les Mills International
Les Mills International