Remains of a theatre where Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet may have first been performed have been unearthed by archaeologists in East London.
The discovery of the Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch is believed to be the best preserved example of an Elizabethan theatre in the UK.
Built in 1577, the theatre preceded the Globe on the River Thames.
As well as Shakespeare's play about the star-crossed lovers premiering at the theatre, his historical drama Henry V was also first seen there.
The building remained in use until the 1620s but was dismantled a number of years later when the Puritans came to power
Although long known to have existed in the area - the theatre was named after the ancient Curtain Road - its precise location had been lost.
The discovery was made by a small team of just four people from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) .
Chris Thomas, who project managed the excavation, told Sky News Online the remains have "survived very well".
The MOLA's discoveries include the walls forming the gallery and the yard within the playhouse itself.
Although only uncovering a small part so far, Mr Thomas is confident they will discover around three quarters of the original theatre.
The discovery, just off Curtain Road, was prompted by regeneration of the area by Plough Yard Developments which is planning a development of offices, flats and shops.
The company is proposing to incorporate the theatre's remains into the site by putting it on permanent display in an open space in the centre of the development.
Mr Thomas said: "I am incredibly pleased and relieved to have found the remains. It was very important to find it and see what sort of state it was in.
"It will be a major draw for the local area and hopefully become an important educational site."
He is also hopeful that other artefacts from the Elizabethan era will be found such as money boxes which would collect theatre-goers' cash, then be smashed afterwards to retrieve the takings.
The discovery of the 500-year-old theatre has drawn excitement from those in the Shakespeare community, which is in the middle of a summer-long international festival dedicated to his work.
The chief executive of Shakespeare's Globe, Neil Constable, said: "Shakespeare's Globe is very excited about the recent find of the 1577 Curtain Theatre.
"This theatre was a venue of Shakespeare's company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, from 1597 to 1599, before they departed for the Globe on Bankside.
"The find is another wonderful opportunity to further our understanding of Shakespeare's theatres and we are delighted that the developers are successfully incorporating permanent public access and display of this historic site within their plans."
British actor Eddie Redmayne , whose performance as Richard II won him a gong at at last year's Critics Circle Theatre Awards, said it was a "thrilling prospect".
He added: "I'm excited to see what the exploration of this exceptional site will unearth and bring to this already brilliant area of the capital."
The discovery of the theatre was made in October last year but has only come to light now as proposals for the redevelopment go on display at the site.
A planning application, which will include the preserved theatre space, is expected to be submitted in the summer.