Home » Festivals and Events » Shake It Up! A Shakespeare Festival for Shoreditch on 23rd and 24th August 2019

Shake It Up! A Shakespeare Festival for Shoreditch on 23rd and 24th August 2019

To celebrate the forthcoming opening of the site of London’s first purpose-built theatre, the Theatre Courtyard Gallery will present Shake It Up! A Shakespeare Festival for Shoreditch, a weekend family festival of performances, events and activities.

In March 2020, a new permanent exhibition space will open on the site of The Theatre (1576-1598), one of the first Elizabethan playhouses to be built in London and an early home to Shakespeare and his acting company.

Reconstructed view of the entrance to The Theatre, Shoreditch (c) David Toon, Lee Sands and MOLA

The Theatre was Shakespeare’s original London playhouse. The purpose-built structure was built in 1576 when Shoreditch sat on the edge of the City of London. In the 1590s, Shakespeare became resident playwright at the Theatre and his company performed several of his greatest plays, including Romeo and Juliet, there. In 1598, having lost the rights to lease the land, Shakespeare’s company dismantled the Theatre and moved the timbers across the river to Bankside, to create the Globe, which opened the following year.

Archaeologists on site at The Theatre during the 2008 excavation (c) MOLA

Parts of The Theatre’s inner wall were discovered in 2008. These archaeological remains, along with artefacts subsequently unearthed on the site, will be at the heart of the new permanent exhibition space, the Theatre Courtyard Gallery.

The Theatre art wall in Shoreditch by Global Street Art (c) Global Street Art

Shake It Up! runs on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 August at sites throughout Shoreditch. Visitors can go back in time the with the festival’s free family events programme which includes Elizabethan games, dressing up, art workshops, and object handling by Museum of London Archaeology.

There will also be talks on Shakespearean theatre, comedy by The School of Night, music by David William Hughes, sword fighting demonstrations and an interactive Elizabethan dance workshop. Ticketed events include Elizabethan yoga and a new Elizabethan walking tour by Look Up London.

The festival begins with The Choicest Music of the Kingdom, a candlelit concert of words and music, performed by internationally-acclaimed choir The Sixteen in the atmospheric surroundings of Shoreditch Church. Led by Harry Christophers CBE, The Sixteen will present an exclusive programme of Elizabethan choral works complemented by the words of historic Londoners delivered by Shakespearean actors.

For more information or book tickets, visit the Event website here

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