A site steeped in history for the Tower's new home
In 1576 James Burbage constructed London’s first purpose built playhouse in Shoreditch, just outside the jurisdiction
of the City. He called it simply "The Theatre" and it became the home of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, the company which
included both James’s son Richard Burbage and the young William Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet almost
certainly had its premiere at “The Theatre”. In 1597 when the lease ran out the wooden structure was dismantled and
transported across the Thames to be re-built as “The Globe”.
A late 16th century print. The tall building on the left may be “The Theatre”
Until recently the exact location of “The Theatre” was uncertain but in 2009 archaeologists from the Museum of
London and English Heritage found evidence of its foundations in a little side street just off Curtain Road, a short
distance north of Liverpool Street Station. A very generous donation has made it possible
for Tavistock Repertory Guarantors to buy the site and we have designed a scheme
to create a 135 seat auditorium and a production base.
A section through the new building
We do not aim to recreate the Elizabethan building. This will be the twenty first century equivalent of the original, a no-frills, full- time, hard-working place of entertainment. It will be a showcase for the best of the non-professional arts in the capital.
The Tower Theatre Company is 79 years old this year. Throughout its history it has been open to everyone and thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds have had the opportunity to take part in every aspect of putting on a show.
Some notable actors, directors and designers have had their first taste of theatre with the Tower. The Company produces about eighteen shows a year and has a strong track record of working with schools and charities and introducing young people to the theatre through youth theatre and children’s classes. We have had to put a lot of this work on hold since losing our base in Islington in 2003. Now we have a wonderful opportunity to develop it even further. It will be a huge challenge to raise the necessary money for the building but the reward of bringing London theatre back to its roots will be enormous.
If you would like to support or be involved in this amazing project you can contact us at :
The Tower Theatre Company
St. Bride Foundation
London EC4Y 8EQ
Or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.