The remains of two Elizabethan playhouses, including the theatre in which Shakespeare’s Hamlet was first performed, have been protected.
The Theatre, in Shoreditch, and the Hope, Bankside, join the Rose and the Globe as scheduled monuments.
The Theatre, built 1576-77, is the earliest surviving example of a many-sided playhouse in London and it is thought to be the site of the first performance of both Hamlet (1596) and Christopher Marlowe’s, Dr Faustus (1592).
It was built by James Burbage on the junction of Curtain Road and New Inn Yard and a number of companies, including the Lord Chamberlain’s Company which included William Shakespeare, were associated with it.
Burbage’s sons dismantled the theatre in December 1598 after a dispute over money and moved reusable parts south of the Thames to Bankside for use in construction of the Globe.
In August 2008 archaeologists from the Museum of London excavating in New Inn Broadway, Shoreditch, announced they had found the foundation of a polygonal structure they believed to be the remains of the north-eastern corner of The Theatre.
The remains of the Theatre now lie beneath a modern mixed-use building in Hackney. Preservation of The Theatre comes as the site of the Curtain Theatre is marked within a new apartment development, The Stage.
The Hope was the last of the playhouses of the era, opening in 1614 after Philip Henslowe and two partners built a joint theatre and bear baiting arena.
But the bears proved more of a pull than the plays and the acting company eventually quit in 1617. Only a few decades later, it was closed down entirely by Parliament and was dismantled during the English Civil War in 1656.
The remains of the Hope are located beneath a car park on Southwark Bridge Road.
Duncan Wilson, chief executive of government heritage agency Historic England , said: “The archaeological remains of the first and last Elizabethan playhouses to be built in London give us fleeting glimpses of a fascinating period in the history of theatre.
“They are where some of the world’s greatest stories were first told and it is wonderful that they remain today, bearing witness to our fascinating past.
“Their cultural importance, particularly their connections with Shakespeare and Marlowe, means they deserve protection as part of England’s precious historic fabric.”
The protection order granted by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport means they join Historic England’s list of 400,000 “most valued” historic places.
Three bear-baiting pits from the same period on the South Bank have also been protected and five buildings in Stratford-upon-Avon have been relisted.