Much of the architectural influence of the Roman theaters came from the Greeks. Roman theaters derive their basic design

from the Theatre of Pompey, the first permanent Roman theater built in 55 BC. The Roman theater, similar to the Greek
theater, was magnificent and splendid, which kept with Rome's imperial status. Roman theaters were built in all areas of the
empire from medieval-day Spain, to the Middle East. There are few similarities between the theaters and amphitheaters of
ancient Rome. They were constructed out of the same material, stone, and provided a place for the public to go and see many
events. Anyone could go to the theater. However, they have many differences. Amphitheaters did not need superior acoustics,
unlike those provided by the structure of a Roman theater. While amphitheaters would feature races and gladiatorial events,
theaters hosted events such as plays (including farce, tragedy and comedy), pantomimes, choral events, dance and
orations. The design, a semicircular form, enhances the natural acoustics, unlike Roman amphitheaters which were
constructed to be round. The theater itself was divided into the stage (orchestra) and the seating section (auditorium).
Entrances and exits (vormitoria) were available to the audience. The auditorium, the area in which people sat, was usually
constructed on a small hill or slope in which stacked seating could be easily made (like stadium seating today). The auditorium
was not roofed. Awnings (vela) could be pulled overhead to provide shelter from rain or sunlight. The central part of the
auditorium was hollowed out of a hill or slope. All theaters built within the city of Rome were completely man-made. The
orchestra was usually three stories high. The actors at a theater were men. Each actor played several roles. They wore simple
costumes that could be changed quickly and in public. What the actors wore symbolized many things.

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