Birthplace of theater to be restored

Theatre of Dionysus, Acropolis, AthensThe Theatre of Dionysos, known as the birthplace theater because it’s where plays by Sophocles, Euripedes and Aeschylus premiered over 2500 years ago, is to be partially restored.

The project is scheduled to take six years or so, but that could easily turn into a decade.

Standing on the southern slopes of the Acropolis Hill, the theatre is “of immense historic significance,” said Mr Boletis.

Originally a terrace where spectators sat on the ground above the circular stage, the theatre was rebuilt in limestone and marble during the 4th Century BC and could seat up to 15,000 spectators.

It’s the 4th c. marble building that is getting restored. The original wooden theater is long gone. All archaeologists can tell from the original remains is that there was an orchestra (the performance area where the chorus stood at all times, not a musical pit), but they can’t even tell the exact shape it was.

The marble benches that seat 15,000 remain in particular will see extensive conservation. The extant tiers will be reinforced and several new tiers added from a combination of new stone and recovered ancient fragments. There will also be some structural work in other parts of the building.

The restoration budget is 6 million euros ($9 million) and the projected completion date is some time in 2015. There won’t be any performances held again, sadly. Those lofty notions were abandoned in the 70s. The remains are just not sturdy enough to support a theatrical production and an extensive audience.

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