The Ancient Theatre Archive

The Theatre Architecture of Greece and Rome

It’s Time for a Facelift

This site is a work-in-progress so please be patient. It’s the new version of a twenty-year-old site that was showing its age. Twenty years ago I launched The Ancient Theatre Archive: a virtual reality tour of Greek and Roman theatre architecture. My mission was to document the appearance and specifications pertaining to ancient Greek and Roman theatres: a study guide, if you will, for architecture and theatre history students.

During the ensuing years, I researched, visited, and photographed over 120 ancient theatre sites and incorporated the results into the original website. The site was well received with over three million visitors over the years, but unfortunately, the old site was showing its age: the infrastructure it was built on is now obsolete and cannot accommodate multiple viewing platforms (computers, touchscreen tablets, and cellular phones). As new technologies developed over the years, I made patches and workarounds to the software in order to keep the website operating. The task of continual maintenance on an obsolete platform became inordinately time-consuming and untenable.

In 2022 I needed to make a difficult decision: take the old site off-line; let it slowly wither away; or, rebuild the Archive from the ground up. With the encouragement and assistance of my original project assistant and now professional website developer, Anna Heath, I chose the latter option: Rebuild.

The process is arduous and time-consuming. Constructing a foundation for the new and improved site took the better part of two months, and re-imagining each theatre on the site takes an excessive amount of time. After six months of work, only a handful of the one-hundred-plus theatres have been updated but the end result is noteworthy if I may be so immodest.

If you are a teacher or a student, please be patient. I’m adding theatres in alphabetical order and as of this writing, I’m only up to the ancient theatre at Brixia. To date, the original glossary has been incorporated into the new site (image updates are in process), the theatre specifications link has been updated, and the interactive mapping feature is included. I have linked those theatres that have yet to be updated to the original website so as to give students information however limited the content may be.

I have much work to do: I have tens of thousands of images and volumes of research to incorporate into this new format, and there is only one of me. And, I am still visiting and photographing new theatres. My next expedition is to twenty-two theatres in Northern Greece and North Macedonia.

Thomas G. Hines, author.
Thomas Hines, Professor Emeritus, Department of Theatre, Whitman College.

Last Update: 09-22-2023