The Ancient Theatre Archive

The Theatre Architecture of Greece and Rome

Baelo Claudia (modern Tarifa, Spain)


Modern Tarifa, Spain

Theatre Type

Roman Theatre

Earliest Date

Second half of the 1st century CE

Renovations / Excavations

GPS Coordinates

Seating Capacity


Cavea Width: 70 meters
Orchestra Width: 20 meters


Baelo (modern Tarifa, Spain). Cavea width: 70 m. ?rows in 4 cunei; south facing; 5 vela mast holes in summa cava; orchestra width: 20 m; ca. 41-54 CE. (F.S)

Baelo Claudia: Theater

The theater at Baelo Claudia uses the natural slope of the site as a base for the seats. It was built in the second half of the 1st century CE but lost its use in the 3rd century CE. The theater’s outer wall has nine arched entrances that give access to the various tiers of the auditorium, the cavea . The public, depending on their social status, could access the different areas through doors or vomitoria .

The orchestra was in front of the stage and was accessible from the side doors. In the south on both sides of the stage are flanked by rectangular buildings, so-called side halls (parascaenia). A tier (pulpitum) separated the orchestra from the stage and was decorated with marble and painted stucco. Remains of it can still be found today. The 18-meter [20 m (F.S)]  diameter semicircle at the foot of the auditorium was not just the orchestra pit. A balustrade (balteus) separated the orchestra from the first rows of seats, intended for the city’s upper class. The stage wall (scaena) had five doors, which were used by the actors to quickly enter the stage. Light-hearted plays and satires were particularly popular with the Romans, but performances of mimes, dance and short comedies were also staged at the time.

Performances are still held in the Baelo Claudia Theater today, the program can be found on the museum’s website.

Baelo Claudia: Theater. Accessed 6/10/2022

Last Update: 12-09-2022