Shakespeare to hit the heart of Hackney

To celebrate Shakespeare Week, residents of Hackney are invited to immerse themselves in all things Shakespeare on Friday 24 March from 12 noon to 6pm, by climbing aboard MOLA’s Time Truck to enjoy a pop-up exhibition of some of the fascinating artefacts discovered during the excavation of the Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch, one of Shakespeare’s least historically documented playhouses. Coordinated by archaeological organisation MOLA, the Time Truck is sponsored by Cain Hoy and Galliard Homes, the joint venture partners behind The Stage, a £750m mixed-use scheme that will have the theatre’s preserved remains, at its heart.

The Time Truck will be located in front of Hackney Town Hall where visitors will have the chance to see artefacts such as money boxes and bird whistles which were discovered at the theatre and talk to one of the archaeologists who discovered the Curtain. This is the first time the finds will be on public display since their discovery, and they will be complimented by displays of photographs from the excavations as well as the first-hand knowledge of MOLA archaeologists who worked on the site.

In 2016, archaeologists from MOLA conducted a detailed three-month excavation of the Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch. Alongside a range of fascinating artefacts that give a glimpse into the life of the theatre, experts uncovered the theatre was a purpose built, rectangular structure, and the stage was much longer than originally thought with evidence of a passageway running beneath it.

The day will also involve the piloting of an innovative archaeology-led education workshop based on the discoveries at the Curtain which combines learning about history and archaeology with physical theatre techniques. This will eventually form part of MOLA’s Time Truck Schools Programme, a free offer to Key Stage 2 pupils due to be expanded into Hackney in the 2017/18 academic year.