Immersive Museum of Shakespeare to open in London next year

The museum will be set within the archaeological remains of The Curtain Playhouse – once home to Shakespeare’s theatre company

The Shakespeare Museum will be part of the development site, The Stage. IMAGE: courtesy of Cain International.

The Elizabethan world of Shakespeare will be brought to life in a new and immersive museum experience opening in Shoreditch, London, in Spring 2024.

Visitors to the permanent installation will be transported to the year 1598 and live a day in the life of the famous English playwright William Shakespeare, soaking in the sights, smells, and sounds of 16th-century London through artefacts and multisensory experiences.  

The museum will be located three metres underground and set within the archaeological remains of The Curtain Playhouse – a scheduled ancient monument once home to Shakespeare’s company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, before they settled at the Globe.

It was at The Curtain Playhouse that some of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, including Romeo & Juliet and Henry V, premiered.

As part of the new museum, the remains of the theatre, which were uncovered during excavations by Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) in 2011-2016, will be made accessible to the public for the first time.

Excavations at The Curtain Playhouse in Shoreditch, London. IMAGE: courtesy of Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA)

Visitors will have the chance to stand above the remains of the 16th-century stage and walk in the footsteps of Shakespeare. Here, they will be surrounded by a projected reconstruction of The Curtain, as AI technology brings the guests and performers to life.

The museum has been designed by creative studio Bompas & Parr, in collaboration with MOLA and Historic England, and in consultation with Shakespearean academics.

Heather Knight, Senior Archaeologist at MOLA, said: ‘Leading the excavations on the site of The Curtain, one of London’s earliest and longest-lived playhouses that have transformed our understanding of Early Modern performance, has been an immense privilege and I am very much looking forward to the next chapter in the history of The Curtain when the Museum of Shakespeare opens its doors in 2024.’

The museum will serve as the centrepiece of The Stage, a new development site being delivered by investment firm Cain International.

To receive updates about the museum, including when tickets become available, sign up to the www.bompasandparr.com newsletter.