Shakespeare's first theater unearthed

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Archaeologists believe they have unearthed the remains of Shakespeare's first theatre, the BBC has learned.

A team from the Museum of London found the remains of the theatre in Shoreditch last summer.

Built in 1576, it is thought the Bard acted there and that it also hosted the premiere of Romeo and Juliet...

Taryn Nixon, from the Museum of London, said her team had found part of the original curved wall of the playhouse, which was believed to be polygonal in shape.

A metre and a half below street level, it has also uncovered the gravel surface, gently sloping down towards the stage, where the bulk of the audience would have stood...

The theatre was constructed by James Burbage, possibly using bricks from an old priory.

It is thought to have played host to Shakespeare's theatre company, the Chamberlain's Men.

About 25 years after it was built, it was dismantled and moved timber by timber to construct the Globe Theatre on the South Bank of the Thames...

The [excavation] site is now owned by the Tower Theatre Company. It plans to preserve the architecture in situ and construct a new playhouse around it which will open in 2012.

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