You may have come across a headline claiming Shakespeare as the first Shoreditch Hipster.
Image: The Telegraph
Crazy people? – maybe, but there is a serious story behind the humour. A team from The Museum of London Archaeology are working on uncovering the 16th century Curtain Theatre where Shakespeare first performed Romeo & Juliet. Senior archaeologist Heather Knight says “people forget that it was here, in Shoreditch, he was living, working and writing… at the end of this project, when people can walk across those ruins and see the building, I think they’ll finally get to realise he’s a Shoreditch boy really.” Who would have guessed?
The Curtain Theatre c1600 (the tall building with the flag).
The Curtain Theatre is first recording as having opened its doors in 1577. It was located in Shoreditch, east London, an area that can lay claim to being the birthplace of modern theatre. Audiences flocked to the Curtain Theatre to enjoy theatrical performances and other entertainments until the 1620s, with a small break in the late 16th century as plague gripped the capital.
Historical records reveal little about the Curtain Theatre, and in particular about its construction, however like other London theatres at this time, it is thought to have been a timber building with three tiers of galleries that surrounded an open central yard, where audiences stood. According to an account from a Swiss theatregoer, it cost one penny to stand in the yard, two pennies to sit in the galleries, three pennies to sit in the galleries with a cushion, and six pennies for a seat in a box.
William Shakespeare’s acting troupe, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men, used the Curtain Theatre as their base from 1597-1599. In that time it is believed that Henry V debuted at the Curtain and that other famous plays were performed there, including Romeo and Juliet and Every Man in His Humour that starred Shakespeare himself.
As The Globe and other theatres opened on Bankside, the Shoreditch playhouses went out of use. By the 1630s the Curtain Theatre had been converted into tenements.
Extract from: http://www.thestageshoreditch.com/archaeology/the-curtain-theatre/past
For the full story on 11 Reasons Why Shakespeare was a Hipster by Helena Horton visit:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/26/11-reasons-william-shakespeare-was-the-original-shoreditch-hipst/