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The Ancient Greek Theatre of Akrai, Syracuse

The ancient theatre of Akrai is situated in the municipality of Palazzolo Acreide in the Italian province of Syracuse. The Athenian historian Thucydides provides a record of the region and its strategic importance. The area flourished during the period of Hiero II (306-215 BC).

The ancient theatre sits at the top of the hill and takes pride of place in a beautiful Archaeological Park. Its construction dates to the end of the 3rd century B.C. Although relatively small, the theatre’s size corresponded to the population of the time (approximately 700 seats for a population of 7-10,000). Its construction utilised the natural slope of the ground.  The theatre comprises nine kerkides (wedge-shaped seating sections) and twelve rows of seats. Its geometry differs from other ancient theatres as it does not follow a semicircular development. Another particularity of this ancient theatre is the orchestra’s semicircular shape, an interesting characteristic when compared to other theatres discovered in colonies of that period. The theatre was modified and expanded during Roman times.

The Greek Theatre of Akrai is one of the monuments in the impressive Archaeological Park which includes a theatre, an agora, a Bouleuterion, the Temple of Aphrodite, the Latomie quarries and a necropolis. As of 1991, the theatre hosts the International Festival of Classical Theatre for Youth (Festival Internazionale del Teatro Classico dei Giovani), welcoming young artists from all over the world. In May 1997, the Kalamata Experimental Stage, a theatre and cultural association and member of DIAZOMA with Mrs Letta Petroulaki as its guiding light, travelled to Sicily for the Festival. There, it presented Euripides’ Trojan Women. A young friend of DIAZOMA travelled to the ancient theatre and gave a moving performance of Menelaus before an Italian audience of hundreds.

    To find out more:

    Palazzolo Acreide – archaeological park

    Euripides’ Trojan Women: 1997: «Τρωάδες» του Ευριπίδη – peiramatikiskinikalamatas (in Greek)

    Festival internazionale del teatro classico dei giovani

    http://www.theatrum.de/7.html