Greek Theatre Facts

Origin: The greek started festivals to honour their god, dionyus.

Actors: At first, theatres were only used for festivals. When greek theatre began in a dithyrambous, there were no actors. The poet Thespis was the first to use actors. Almost every Greek city had a theatre because plays were part of many religious festivals. The Greeks enjoyed singing and dancing. Actors who played tragic roles wore boots called cothurneses that elevated them above other actors. When playing female roles, the male actors donned a ‘ prosterneda’ which is a wooden structure infront of the chest to imitate breasts.

Stage: A greek theatre is called a theatron. Ancient Greek theaters were very large, outside structures. They were built in a semi-circular shape an built on sloping hillsides for their seating. As dramatic performances were very religious, theaters were located in or near sanctuaries. There was also an altar for sacrifices dedicated to Dionysus.

Costumes and Masks: Greek and Roman costumes were very similar. They were mostly loose fitting clothes that changed with the occasion. Masks were helmet-like mask, covering the entire face and head, with holes for the eyes and a small aperture for the mouth, as well as an integrated wig.

Plays:Plays were comedies and tragedy. Tragedy began at 600BC and is the more famous of the two types. Each play was set up in a similar format. The play started with a prologue, or simple speech, from one of the characters, followed by the entrance of the chorus. The chorus was a major part of Greek drama and consisted of between five and 50 actors. The rest of the play was divided into three acts, just as in contemporary plays

George Sykes