When was the first theatre opened? Some would say that the very first theaters were opened in Europe during the time of Shakespeare in Stratford upon Avon. If this is your answer, you would be wrong!
In fact, theatre was popular long before Shakespeare penned his now immortal dialogues. In fact, the very first theater on record was in Ancient Greece. Theater or drama was very popular in Greece, especially during 500 BC to about 200 BC. It was during this time that the city of Athens became very powerful.
Athenians were known for their elaborate festivals to honor a god called Dionysus.Didn’t catch that? This explains it. During this festival, plays were performed in theaters for citizens to enjoy. The plays consisted of tragedies, comedies, and satirical plays. Eventually, this tradition became popular in other city states.
The very first theater was probably the Theater of Dionysus at Eleuthereus. This is located near the Acropolis in Athens and has been studied since the 18th century. Excavation of the site began in the late 1830′s and continued for the next century.
During the height of its popularity, spectators probably sat on wooden benches in the theater to watch performances. Sadly, the seating area of theater collapsed early in the 5th century. After the collapse, the theatre was abandoned and performances were held elsewhere.
While Shakespeare’s theatre in Straford upon Avon may be very familiar to us today, this theatre was not the first theater that was opened. Instead, a site now littered with rubble in Greece holds that distinction.