The Theater of Dionysus at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece, will undergo a major renovation over the next six years.
This theater was sacred to the god of wine and drama and in ancient times hosted the annual Dionysia, a festival in his honor. The festival included a competition for playwrights and the winners are a Who’s Who of Greek drama and comedy, including Sophocles, Euripides, and Philemon. Many scholars consider the Theater of Dionysus to be the birthplace of Classical theater. Plays were performed on this spot starting in the sixth century BC. The theater visible today was built in 325 BC and seated more than 14,000 people.
While the cult of Dionysus had the reputation of throwing wild orgies, it had a more serious purpose of acting as a sort of social pressure valve, allowing people to mock the rich and powerful and, on the stage at least, make dangerous political statements.
The project will cost six million euros (9 million dollars) and include a restoration of the marble seats and a strengthening of the remaining structure.