construction sites are not uncommon, but finding a
long-lost Elizabethan playhouse where Shakespeare’s
Romeo & Juliet and Henry V were first performed is a
Known as the Curtain Theatre, the playhouse was built in 1577
just outside of the City of London in Shoreditch. It was one of the
capital’s premier theatres and William Shakespeare is even said to
have trod the boards there himself.
History is a little sketchy on its fate, but it is believed that it
closed down in the 1620s and was converted into tenements
before being demolished and its exact location forgotten.
Jump forward to 2011 and preliminary works for this project
unearthed remnants of a stage, the playhouse’s walls and
foundations along with numerous Elizabethan artefacts.
Preserving this slice of theatrical history is going to form an
important element of the Stage development. The Curtain Theatre
finds are being preserved and will be put on public display within
a museum structure (likely to be steel-framed) which will sit next
to the Bard building in the project’s central plaza.
Archaeological discoveries on central London
project, as we have a number of buildings
under construction at once and just one
entrance serving the site,” says CJ O’Shea
Project Director Fintan Hallihan.
“The advantage of using steelwork for
The Bard is that all material is delivered
on a just-in-time basis as there is no room
The building has a composite design,
with steel beams supporting metal
deck flooring and a concrete topping.
Composite Profiles is supplying 15,000m2
of Tata Steel’s ComFlor 51 for the project
along with 45,000 shear studs.
Measuring approximately 45m-long x
31.5m-wide, the building is based around
a centrally-positioned concrete core, which
provides the steel frame with its stability.
Radiating out from the core on a 9m × 9m
column grid pattern, the majority of the
frame’s beams are bespoke Westok plate
The girders are 9m-long x 500mmdeep
with a variety of flange thicknesses
and weigh 1t each. They all have an array
of apertures to integrate the building’s
services within their depth.
“Bespoke plate girders were chosen
as an efficient method for spanning the
internal areas,” says Walsh Associates
Director Peyrouz Modarres. “Although
more fabrication is required, the girders
gave the project a saving on the overall
Sat on top of a two-level basement, the
steel frame begins at ground floor podium
level. This lowest level is a double-height
space accommodating car parking and
areas that could be used as retail units.
that two columns
had to be designed
as raking members
The main entrance foyer is a double
height area, with the first-floor set-back
to form the higher space. Two raking
columns are positioned either side of the
entrance, supporting the underside of the
“There are two utility obstructions
below the entrance and columns could
not be located in their intended design
locations,” explains SDM Fabrication
Director Richard Melton. “Steelwork’s
flexibility allowed us to install two raking
members, which had to be temporarily
propped until the frame was sufficiently
From floor two up to floor eight, the
floorplates offer 1,170m2 of office space,
but above this the building steps in to
form two terraces at levels nine and 11.
This means the floorplates decrease, with
uppermost two floors offering 911m2 and
Creating the terraces has required the
installation of two box section transfer
structures each weighing 14.6t, at level
nine and 11, to support the reconfigured
column grid pattern.
“In order to maintain the same floor-toceiling
heights throughout the building,
the deeper transfer beams are installed
within the depth of the concrete slab,”
explains Mr Modarres.
A further transfer structure has been
installed along the second floor’s eastern
elevation. The beam forms an overhang,
which is necessitated by the proximity of
an existing electricity sub-station.
The Stage development is scheduled for
completion in November 2021.
building will look