Fortune Street Park
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Fortune Street Park

This is where one of London's oldest theatre's used to located.


This street was originally known as Playhouse Yard and in the words of a plaque on one of the street's buildings, Good Master Edward Alleyne's Fortune Theatre stood on a site near here in 1600.

Built in 1599 for Edward Alleyn (1566-1626) and Phillip Henslowe (d. 1616), it was situated between Whitecross Street and Golden Lane, in the parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate.

The theatre was destroyed by fire in 1621, rebuilt, but finally closed when an ordinance for the dismantling of playhouses was issued in 1647-48. The plays of Dekker and Marlowe were performed here. Also from this theatre Alleyn obtained the funds to found Dulwich College and local almshouses in Bath Street (originally Pest House Lane).

The Fortune Theatre was built by the builder Peter Street, who had also built the Globe Theatre for the Burbages. The Fortune was built to compete with the Globe as the most luxurious public playhouse ever built. The building contract still survives and details the following:

Features to be built according to the manner and fashion of the said house called the Globe

The shape of the Fortune Elizabethan Theatre was to be rectangular

Specifications also included, perhaps reflecting the actor Edward Alleyn's wishing to improve the actors working conditions!

a circular, open yard
the rectangular stage was to be covered with a roof
the dimensions of the stage were 43 feet wide by 27.5 feet
a 'tiring house'
gentlemen's rooms
twopenny rooms
the original Fortune cost 520
the second, brick built Fortune Theatre cost 1100

On the corner of Fortune Street and Golden lane, once stood the Nursery a place for developing and educating young children for the acting profession of the stage, in short the first acting school. In Samuel Pepys diary of 1664 he writes; I chance to sit by Tom Killigrow who tells me that he is setting up a nursery that is going to be built in a house near Moorfields, wherein he will have common plays acted.

Location: Fortune Street, Barbican, London



Fortune Street Park