Historical story

London's oldest theater found

Last updated:2022-07-25

Archaeologists made a huge discovery during the reconstruction of some houses in the Whitechapel area of ​​London.

They speculate that the discovery relates to London's oldest theatre, known as the Red Lion, whose location remained in dispute until recently.

According to the BBC, the Red Lion was the first purpose-built theater of the Elizabethan era, with construction beginning in 1567 and completed nine years later in 1576.

Little is known about the Red Lion, but its existence is confirmed by two legal documents - lawsuits of the time.

The first document, which dates back to 1567, mentions the existence of wooden platforms around a tent.

The second, which dates from 1569, mentions a farmhouse called the Red Lion, as a venue with an outdoor stage and seats. This document also contains a description of the dimensions, where a 12.2 meter tent is mentioned.

Prior to these excavations there was no physical evidence of the theater's existence, despite the belief of some experts, who insisted that the Red Lion was located near Whitechapel.

It should be noted that most or possibly all of the plays that were played at the Red Lion have been lost. This is partly due to the fact that many works of the time were never published in print.