Archaeologists on site at the Curtain Theatre (c) MOLA

Revel in Shakespeare at a festive pop-up in Spitalfields

Bishop's Square, London, E1 6FQ

Time: 11am-6pm

Price: Free

Booking not required

Join our experts for a  one-day pop-up event on board the Time Truck at Bishops Square in Shoreditch and celebrate the beginning of the festive season in true Elizabethan era playhouse style! Discover the secrets of the Curtain Theatre – one of Shakespeare’s least historically documented playhouses.

Visitors will be treated to high-octane performances from stage combat expert Kiel O’Shea, who will present techniques used in Elizabethan playhouses. There will also be dazzling performances from The Dolphin’s Back and Shake-scene Shakespeare, Shoreditch’s critically acclaimed Shakespeare company who specialise in cue-scripted technique once used by the Bard himself. Both will dazzle visitors with scenes from one of Shakespeare’s most celebrated comedies, Twelfth Night –  a fitting play for the festive season.

Our archaeologists will also be on hand to answer questions about the dig and reveal insights into life at the Curtain through artefacts discovered during the dig, many of which date back as far as the 16th century. There will also be chance to view exclusive footage of the excavation process and the transformation of the site throughout the three-month period.

Finds including money boxes once used at the theatre’s box office, bird whistles which could have been used for sound effects during performances of some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, tobacco pipes and drinking vessels used by theatregoers, will be on display.

Kids can also enjoy arts and crafts including money box and Christmas decoration-making and will be able to take away their very own Shakespearean playhouse tokens to decorate their Christmas trees at home.

The event is coordinated by MOLA and sponsored by the consortium of investors behind The Stage, which is led by Cain International. Once complete, The Stage, a £750m mixed-use scheme, will feature more than 400 new homes, 33,000 sq ft of retail, including restaurants and cafes, and 200,000 sq ft of office space. Centred on the theatre, the development will also feature over an acre of vibrant public space including a performance area and a park. The remains of the Curtain Theatre will be preserved in situ and showcased in a purpose-built visitor centre.