Ancient Theatre at Epidauros
The theatre of Epidauros is the most perfectly preserved in Ancient Greece. Built in the 4th century BC, it seats 14,000 and is listed as a World Heritage site. The theatre draws thousands of visitors a year, who marvel at its architectural perfection, its beautiful natural setting and its stunning acoustics. The theatre is located on the grounds of the most sacred healing shrine of the ancient world.
You are free to walk about the ancient site unhindered, and visitors often take the opportunity to spontaneously perform in the open air theatre. On one visit I heard a monologue from Sophocles’ Antigone in German, an American gospel singer, and two sweet girls singing an English folk song. The crowd, scattered about the seats, applauded each performance, all under a deep blue sky and brilliant sunlight.
The theater is part of a shrine dedicated to the healing god Asclepius which predates the theater itself by about two centuries. Although the shrine also had an athletic stadium, a place of lodging and a temple to the god, the theater was the center of the site, both geographically and spiritually.
In our next few posts we will be exploring this ancient site and connections between theatre and healing in both Ancient Greece and today’s world.