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Our journey: Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus

The Theatre of the Sanctuary of Dionysus Eleuthereus is the largest monument on the South Slope of the Acropolis, although only a small part of the immense original monument survives today. The remains of the Theatre of Dionysus Eleuthereus are located on the east part of the south slope of the Acropolis and are directly related to the homonymous sanctuary. This archaeological site is connected to the genesis and evolution of drama and the conception of the “theatre” as an artistic and architectural creation.

The largest part of the surviving remains, notwithstanding any given subsequent alterations and changes, belong to the monumental all-stone refurbishment of the Athenian theatre in the middle of the 4th century BC started by Eubulus and completed by the orator and controller of finances Lycurgus, an admirer of the great tragic poets of the 5th century BC and the achievements of the Age of Pericles.

The all-stone radial design, combined with the decision to construct the theatre on a slope, plays an archetypal role in the history of the architecture of theatrical spaces.

The diazoma (walkway) separates the theatre’s koilon (seating area) into the epitheatron (upper seating area) and the theatron (lower seating area). The diazoma formed part of the Peripatos, the public pathway around the rock of the Acropolis. During the Roman period, a new skene (the building behind the orchestra) replaced the old construction. Under Hadrian, it was decorated with statues, and the orchestra became horseshoe shaped. You can find out more by visiting the updated Scientific Bulletin of the ancient theatre here.

During the DIAZOMA Association’s 2nd General Assembly, which took place on  Sunday, 13 December 2009, at the New Acropolis Museum’s Amphitheatre, members visited three significant audiovisual spaces of Athens: The Theatre of Dionysus, the Odeon of Pericles, and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. The tour was guided by Mr. Konstantinos Boletis, architect-restorer of the Theatre of Dionysus.

The DIAZOMA Association has opened a bank account (“piggy-bank”) for the Ancient Theatre of Dionysus. The participation of schools in this initiative has been profoundly moving. The Ancient Theatre of Dionysus is immensely popular and dear to students. Many actions within the framework of DIAZOMA’s Educational Program “Adoption of Ancient Theatres- Students guide students around ancient theatres” have taken place there.

In April 2010, the Prefecture of Athens, at the instigation of DIAZOMA and with the personal contribution of the former Prefect and Regional Governor Mr. Ioannis Sgouros, allocated six million euros to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism for the  “Restoration of the Ancient Theatre of Dionysus” project through a Programme Agreement.

The sub-projects concerned: a) the completion of the restoration of the Choragic Monument of Thrassylus, b) the gradual restoration and enhancement of the Ancient Theatre of Dionysus’ koilon -Phase I (the three central kerkides (seating sections) in particular), c) the completion of the restoration of the theatre’s east retaining walls, and d) the completion of the restoration of the podiums and the replica of the Statue of Menander at the east parodos (side entrance).

Following the dissolution of the Credit Management Fund for Archaeological Projects (TDPEAE) and the coordinated efforts of the Ministry of Culture and Sport central services, DIAZOMA and the Scientific Committee of the Acropolis South Slope, and under the Ministry of Development and Competitiveness Decision 28/07/2014, the “Restoration of the Ancient Theatre of Dionysus” project was included in the Public Investment Program.

In the years 2002, 2005, the restoration works of the retaining walls of the east and west parodos, respectively, were completed, followed by the restoration of the Choragic Monument of Thrasyllus in 2017.

In 2016, two ongoing subprograms were accepted by the Athens Ephorate of Antiquities as ongoing projects incorporated in the Public Investment Program. These subprograms concern the east side retaining wall and the central segment of the theatre’s koilon and are continuing at present.

In this respect, the exemplary restoration project includes works to the interior of the koilon, such as the joining together of architectural member fragments, the construction of new edolia (seats), and steps on the klimakes (stairs). The works to complete the restoration of the east side retaining wall include the casting, shaping, and installation of new conglomerate stones and supplementary material on the north end of the wall.

You can follow the progress of the works at the Ancient theatre from 2009 to the present day, here.


  • The DIAZOMA Association’s 2nd General Assembly visits the Ancient Theatre of Dionysus
  • Visit to the theatre during Phase II of the “Teenagers Introduce Ancient Theatres” workshop organized by Patakis Publishers and the DIAZOMA Association. Mr. Boletis guides students of the Experimental School of the University of Athens (PSPA) around the theatre (March 2019).