Ancient Greek Theatre

By hughie Flannery


Greek tragedy as we know it was created in Athens some years before 532 BC, when Thesipis was the earliest recorded actor. Being a winner of the first theatrical contest held at Athens, he was the leader.


Illustrations of theatrical masks from 5th century displays helmet-like masks, covering the entire face and head, with holes for the eyes and a small aperture for the mouth, as well as a wig. These paintings never show actual masks on the actors in performance; they are most often shown being held by the actors before or after a performance


Tragedy, comedy, and satyr plays were the theatrical forms.

Tragedy and comedy were viewed as completely separate genres. Satyr plays dealt with the mythological subject in comic manner. Aristotle's Poetics sets out a thesis about the perfect structure for tragedy.


The shape of the mask amplified the actor's voice, making his words easier for the audience to hear. All masks were made of linen or cork, that is why none have survived to this day. Tragic masks had mourning or pained expressions, comedy masks were smiling or sneering.

Costumes where made of linen and cloth. They were colourful in comedies and dark colours in tragedies. They were worn to suit the type of play and the type of the character.


The stage was an amphitheatre like structure. With a extended semi-circle of seating on an angle for height of the seats. Behind the stage was a small building in which the actors used to change costumes masks and props. They also used this area to tell when to go on or not.