A 38-storey, 365-unit residential skyscraper on the site of what was once Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch has been granted planning permission by Hackney Council.
As revealed last year, the tower is part of a development known as The Stage, designed by architects Pringle Brandon Perkins+Will. The plan as approved will incorporate a large exhibition space within which the remains of the theatre, which were uncovered last year by archaeologists working for the Museum of London and lie three metres beneath the ground; they will be visible to the public behind a glass wall. There is also provision for a 164-seat auditorium and an urban park, converted from a short section of the old Broad Street railway viaduct. The site will also house retail and office space.
The Curtain Theatre was home to Shakespeare’s performance troupe, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, in the 16th century, before they moved to The Globe (which, coincidentally, burnt down 400 years ago this past weekend). It is believed that the theatre was the first place that Romeo & Juliet was performed.
While we welcome the preservation of these rare ruins, the design of the tower, an ungainly-shaped mass of orange, itself is likely to prove controversial.