Plays in ancient Greece were part of religious festivals. Nearly every city had a theatre. The theatres in Greece had no roofs. The audience sat on tiered stone which meant that they had an excellent view and could hear the actors well too. The actors performed in an open area called the orchestra. The skene was a building behind the orchestra where the actors could change costumes.
Two types of Greek plays
There were two major types of Greek plays. There was tragedy which came from the word tragos meaning goat. Actors who performed a tragedy wore goat skins and danced like goats. The other type of play was comedy.
Theatres in Greece were large and could often hold more than 10,000 people.
Plays in Athens were performed in honour of the god Dionysus. The actors who performed the plays were men. It was necessary for them to play female parts too so they wore female costumes. To make the actors look taller they wore wooden boots with tall heels called cothurnus.
The masks that the actors wore had large holes for the mouth and the eyes. This is so their voices could be amplified around the theatre. If actors were performing in comedies they wore bright colours and if actors were performing in tragedies they wore dark colours.