Friday, 29 June 2012

feature : A Moveable Theatre

drawing thanks to : beardofavon

The recently discovered remains of the Curtain Theatre got me thinking about the first London playhouse associated with Shakespeare, The Theatre, situated a couple of hundred yards up Curtain Road, Shoreditch.  It had got me thinking about it mainly because The Theatre had become, due to circumstance, the first moveable theatre.


Built in 1576, a year before The Curtain, The Theatre is thought to be the first playhouse built solely for theatrical productions (as opposed to bear-baiting), and Shakespeare became associated with it in 1594.  He’d become playwright and actor for the Chamberlain’s Men, the company of Richard Burbage, the greatest actor of the day, and son of the builder of The Theatre, James Burbage.


But by 1597 Giles Allen, The Theatre’s puritan landlord, started to disapprove of the productions of the Chamberlain’s Men, forcing them to move down the road to The Curtain......but only temporarily.  James Burbage had died the same year, leaving Richard and his actor brother Cuthbert the soon-to-expire lease on the now-deserted playhouse.  But Allen wasn’t interested in extending the lease, being intent upon pulling the playhouse down and building a new property.  However, a clause in the lease gave the Burbages the perfect solution to this theatrical impasse, making them early architectural recyclers in the process. 


On a bitter night at the end of December 1598, just before the expiry of the lease, the brothers, with the help of master carpenter Peter Street and twelve able men, knocked out the dowels that held The Theatre’s oak post and beam joints together, and dismantled the structure.


The timbers and materials were stored at Peter Street’s yard until spring 1599, then ferried over the Thames to Bankside where they were reconstructed, this time into the greatest playhouse of the day: The Globe.


 by Richard Woollen, guest author

Richard Burbage (1568 – 1619)

image thanks to : wikipedia


photo thanks to : mymuseumoflondon


A team of archaeologists from the Museum of London have rediscovered the theatre's original footings.

photo thanks to : abc


image thanks to : gallery


The Globe

photo thanks to : greatgorillarun

1 comment:

  1. Interesting facts! I saw many interesting places with VisitBus during my staying in Poland. That was impressive one!