The Theatre, Shoreditch

Adam Dant (1967 - )

3 colour chiaroscuro woodcut


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  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Cabinet Office, 70 Whitehall

    Cartoon-like in style, this print by Adam Dant depicts his impression of the 16th century theatre that once stood in Shoreditch, London. Called ‘The Theatre’, it was built in 1576 by James Burbage, and was the site of Shakespeare’s first forays into acting, and of the performance of some of his early plays, including Romeo and Juliet. In Dant’s print, the unusual polygonal shape of the theatre is composed in strong bold lines and stands out against a lighter background of what appears to be modern-day scaffolding with several signs indicating a public car park. Describing the work in 2011, Dant said:

    My woodcut has been made from a block of wood salvaged from a carpentry workshop which stood directly on the site of The Theatre… my print combines the architecture of The Theatre with that of a similar polygonal, multi-storey car park which now stands close to the site. I discovered that the current car park on Curtain Road often appears in the subconscious reveries of local Shoreditch folk as an Elizabethan theatre.

    In 1598 the original theatre was partially demolished, with materials from it used to construct the new Globe Theatre in Southwark. In 2016, archaeologists used sonar technology [originating from Oceans research, Sonar (sound navigation and ranging) is a technology that uses acoustical waves to sense the location of objects] to discover the original foundations of The Theatre in Shoreditch.

    The Theatre, Shoreditch is one of 34 prints in Folio, a portfolio published by the Royal College of Art (RCA) in 2011 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

  • About the artist
    Born in Cambridge, Adam Dant lives and works in London after studying Graphic Design at Liverpool School of Art (1987–90), and Fine Art and Printmaking at the Royal College of Art, London (1989–91). In 2002, he won First Prize in the Jerwood Drawing Prize, London. In 1995, Dant created the ‘Donald Parsnips Daily Journal’, an art world pamphlet, that appeared daily for five years. He is known for his "mockuments" – works based on floor plans of the Louvre, the National Gallery and Tate Britain, in which flowcharts lead from image to image to create a psycho-history of the institution being anatomized. Dant was the official Election Artist for the 2015 general election.
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  • Details
    The Theatre, Shoreditch
    Portfolio Title
    3 colour chiaroscuro woodcut
    height: 61 cm, width: 48 cm
    Presented by the Royal College of Art, March 2016
    below image, bl: 29/60 ; bc: "THE THEATRE, SHOREDITCH ; br: Adam Dant
    Royal College of Art; presented to GAC March 2016
    GAC number