Progress of Works

Geophysical surveys
Excavations
Restoration Studies
Expropriations
Restoration Works
€33,780.00IN DONATIONS

Athanasia Tzenaki: €5.00

Giannis Stamelos: €10.00

Mary Moursela: €10.00

Panagiotis Stamelos: €15.00

Jenny Sarapi: €20.00

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Theatre of Eretria

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The ancient theatre is now situated in the theatre district, in Eretria Municipality, Evia Prefecture.

Its first building phase is probably dated to the last third of the 4th c. BC, while the second is dated circa 300 BC, based on an inscription from the reign of Demetrios Poliorcetes. During the third and final phase, after 198 BC, the stage building was extended.

The theatre has the characteristic tripartite layout of Hellenistic theatres: cavea (koilon), stage building (scene) and orchestra. Of the first phase only the foundations of the stage building survive, while the plan of the orchestra and the cavea layout are unknown.

The present form of the cavea and orchestra date from the second phase. The cavea is not set on the natural hill, as is the case with Greek theatres, but on a manmade semicircular embankment. It is divided into 11 cunei (kerkides) by 12 staircases (klimakes) providing access to the seats. The theatre had a capacity of approximately 6,000 spectators, the most eminent of whom were seated in the seats of honour (proedria).

The circular orchestra is 22 m. in diameter and is delimited by a semicircular rainwater channel connected to two underground ducts. The orchestra had a plaster floor decorated with paintings in two colours depicting a vine and grapes. An underground vaulted passageway, the “Charonian steps”, connected the stage building to the orchestra. This layout, extremely rare in Greek theatres, permitted the scenic revelation of the netherworld in certain plays.

The stage building is of the type with a raised proscenium. During the third building phase, in the early 2nd c. BC, the stage was extended with the addition of two wings decorated with painted designs. A protective grille was also placed in front of the first row of seats to protect spectators during gladiatorial combats.

About one-fifth of the original carved and partially-filled cavea remains, while most of the stone seats have been looted. Of the stage building and the retaining walls supporting the cavea infill at the parodoi, only the lower courses of limestone blocks survive. Due to the sagging walls and the resulting natural erosion of the slopes and the building material, the monument is at serious risk of collapse. Immediate steps should be taken to consolidate the walls, stabilise the slopes and conserve the stone.

Access to the monument is now forbidden due to its advanced state of deterioration. It was formerly open to the public and a small number of theatrical performances had been held there at various times.

Rosina Kolonia
Archaeologist

Monument Name

Theatre of Ancient Eretria

Category

Theatre

Brief Description

The ancient theatre is now situated in the theatre district, in Eretria Municipality, Evia Prefecture. Its first building phase is probably dated to the last third of the 4th c. BC, while the second is dated circa 300 BC. During the third and final phase, after 198 BC, the stage building was extended, while in Roman times the theatre was also used as an arena for gladiatorial combat.

Images - Plans

Full photographic documentation is held in the archives of the Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece and the Directorate for the Restoration of Ancient Monuments. Drawings of the monument in whole and in part are included in Hans Peter Islet’s monograph Das Theater, Eretria vol. XVIII. Separate drawings are also held in the archive of the Directorate for the Restoration of Ancient Monuments.

Documentation - Bibliography

E. Fiechter, Das Theater in Eretria (1937),

H.P. Isler, Bericht über die Arbeiten in Theater von Eretria, AntK 42 (1999) 116,

H.P. Isler, Eretria XVIII, Das Theater (2007).

Location

Theatre district, Eretria Municipality, Evia Prefecture.

Dating

The first building phase is probably dated to the last third of the 4th c. BC. The second is dated circa 300 BC, based on an inscription from the reign of Demetrios Poliorcetes. During the third and final phase, after 198 BC, the stage building was extended.

General Description of Monument

The theatre has the characteristic tripartite layout of Hellenistic theatres: cavea (koilon), stage building (scene) and orchestra. Of the first phase only the foundations of the stage building survive, while the plan of the orchestra and the cavea layout are unknown. The present form of the cavea and orchestra date from the second phase. The cavea is not set on the natural hill, as is the case with Greek theatres, but on a manmade semicircular embankment. It is divided into 11 cunei (kerkides) by 12 staircases (klimakes) providing access to the seats. The theatre had a capacity of approximately 6,000 spectators, the most eminent of whom were seated in the seats of honour (proedria). The circular orchestra is 22 m. in diameter and is delimited by a semicircular rainwater channel connected to two underground ducts. The orchestra had a plaster floor decorated with paintings in two colours depicting a vine and grapes. An underground vaulted passageway, the “Charonian steps”, connected the stage building to the orchestra. This layout, extremely rare in Greek theatres, permitted the scenic revelation of the netherworld in certain plays. The stage building is of the type with a raised proscenium. During the third building phase, in the early 2nd c. BC, the stage was extended with the addition of two wings decorated with painted designs. A protective grille was also placed in front of the first row of seats to protect spectators during gladiatorial combats.

Current Situation

About 20% of the original carved and partially-filled cavea remains, while most of the stone seats have been looted. Of the stage building and the retaining walls supporting the cavea infill at the parodoi, only the lower courses of limestone blocks survive. Due to the sagging walls, the pressure of the infill and the resulting natural erosion of the slopes and the building material, the monument is at serious risk of collapse. Immediate steps should be taken to consolidate the walls, stabilise the slopes and conserve the stone.

Excavations - Interventions

The theatre was excavated by the American School of Classical Studies between 1891 and 1895. To the Swiss archaeologist E. Fiechter we owe a drawing of the monument made in the 1930s. The Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece has carried out two exploratory missions in the theatre, in 1980 and 1997-1998. A study of the conservation and consolidation of the monument was prepared by the Swiss School in 1999, and a study of the consolidation of the retaining wall of the west parodos was prepared by the Directorate for the Restoration of Ancient Monuments. The Directorate has also prepared a preliminary study concerning the overall programme for the consolidation, restoration and promotion of the ancient theatre, and has planned more specific studies for each part of the monument. In 1998 wooden supports were placed against the sections of wall at risk of collapse, with the intention of replacing them with metal supports in future.

Permitted Uses

Due to the advanced state of deterioration and instability of the walls, access to the monument is now forbidden in order to protect the ruins and ensure visitor safety.

History of Modern Uses

Before access to the monument was forbidden, it was open to the public and a small number of theatrical performances had been held there at various times.

Further Information

The monument belongs to the jurisdiction of the 11th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. Issues of conservation, consolidation and restoration are handled by the Directorate for the Restoration of Ancient Monuments.

Intellectual Rights

11th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities.

Jurisdiction

The monument belongs to the jurisdiction of the 11th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. Issues of conservation, consolidation and restoration are handled by the Directorate for the Restoration of Ancient Monuments.

Latitude

38.398533°

Longitude

23.790581°

NameDateAmount (€)
Athanasia Tzenaki5.00
Giannis Stamelos10.00
Mary Moursela10.00
Panagiotis Stamelos15.00
Jenny Sarapi20.00
Konstantinos Kapoulas20.00
Nikolaos Kasionis50.00
Ioannis Chasandras50.00
Panagiota Veletza50.00
Dimitrios Nikolaou50.00
Katerina - Amygdalia Pappa50.00
Georgios Glinos50.00
Achilleas Pergamalis50.00
Antonios Chatzicrystalis50.00
Euphrosyne Papacharalampous50.00
Persefoni Ioannidou - Alamanou50.00
Vlachos - Efthimiou100.00
Workers' Union of DEYA Eretria100.00
Society of Euboean Studies - Chalkida Chapter100.00
Maria Floutsakou - Pappa100.00
Stefanos Tsolakidis100.00
Arist. Arapoglou100.00
'Ergo Logou Agapis' Association100.00
'Eretes' Eretria's Theatrical Group100.00
Society of Euboean Studies - Aliveri Chapter150.00
Friends of the Folklore Museum of Chalkida200.00
Sylvian Fachard200.00
Association of Euboea's Architects300.00
Technical Chamber of Greece - Regional Chapter of Euboea500.00
'Medusa' Active Citizens Association1.000.00
Athanasios Bourantas3.000.00
DEI S.A. DEI S.A.20.000.00
Amarynthos Euboea200.00
Diazoma Association6.850.00
Total
€33.780.00

Expenditures

ExpenditureDateAmount (€)
ΑΡΧΑΙΟ ΘΕΑΤΡΟ ΕΡΕΤΡΙΑΣ ΑΠΟΔΟΣΗ ΠΑΡΑΚΡΑΤΟΥΜΕΝΟΥ ΦΟΡΟΥ – 28/02/2015840.00
ΑΡΧΑΙΟ ΘΕΑΤΡΟ ΕΡΕΤΡΙΑΣ ΑΠΟΣΤΟΛΟΥ ΝΙΚΗ ΑΠΥ 18 Α’ ΔΟΣΗ2.884.00
ΑΡΧΑΙΟ ΘΕΑΤΡΟ ΕΡΕΤΡΙΑΣ Β΄ ΔΟΣΗ ΜΕΛΕΤΗΣ ΑΠΟΚΑΤΑΣΤΑΣΗΣ8.652.00
ΑΡΧΑΙΟ ΘΕΑΤΡΟ ΕΡΕΤΡΙΑΣ ΕΞΟΦΛΗΣΗ ΜΕΛΕΤΗΣ,Φ.ΜΠΕΛΛΙΟΥ,Ν.ΑΠΟΣΤΟΛΟΥ5.824.00
ΑΡΧΑΙΟ ΘΕΑΤΡΟ ΕΡΕΤΡΙΑΣ ΜΕΛΕΤΗ ΑΠΟΚΑΤΑΣΤΑΣΗΣ – Β’ ΔΟΣΗ – 31/10/20148.652.00
ΑΡΧΑΙΟ ΘΕΑΤΡΟ ΕΡΕΤΡΙΑΣ ΜΠΕΛΙΟΥ ΦΩΤΕΙΝΗ ΑΠΥ 33 Α’ ΔΟΣΗ2.884.00
ΑΡΧΑΙΟ ΘΕΑΤΡΟ ΕΡΕΤΡΙΑΣ Παρακράτηση φόρου Δ.Ε.Η.95.00
ΑΡΧΑΙΟ ΘΕΑΤΡΟ ΕΡΕΤΡΙΑΣ ΦΟΡΟΣ ΜΕΛΕΤΗΣ ΑΠΟΣΤΟΛΟΥ ΚΑΙ ΜΠΕΛΙΟΥ1.120.00
ΑΡΧΑΙΟ ΘΕΑΤΡΟ ΕΡΕΤΡΙΑΣ ΦΟΡΟΣ ΜΕΛΕΤΗΣ ΑΠΟΣΤΟΛΟΥ,ΜΠΕΛΙΟΥ1.120.00
ΑΡΧΑΙΟ ΘΕΑΤΡΟ ΕΡΕΤΡΙΑΣ ΦΟΡΟΣ ΜΕΛΕΤΩΝ1.680.00
Total
€33.751.00
Balance
€29.00
DescriptionBudgetTargetRemarks
Elaboration of restoration study100.000.00100.000.00

With the amount raised from the money box of the monument, Diazoma assgned the study of maintenance and restoration of the ancient theatre to the scholars Niki Apostolou and Fotini Belliou.
A Programmatic Agreement has been signed among the Region of Sterea Elladas and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, amounting 30.000 € with contract scope “Topographic and architectural survey of the ancient theatre of Eretria and the adjacent building material”. A Programmatic Agreement has been signed with the Municipality of Eretria and the Ministry of Culture and Sports, amounting 20.000 €

  • With the initiative of the Movement Active Citizens of Eretria, “MEDUSA”, the theater was cleared of vegetation.
  •  “DIAZOMA” has come to an understanding with the competent Antiquities Authority and the Swiss Archaeological School.
  • With the money collected from donations -money box (from sponsors and citizens), “DIAZOMA” assigned the study of preservation and restoration of the ancient theater to the scholars Niki Apostolou and Fotini Belliou.
  • The Programming Agreement between the Region of Mainland Greece and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, amounting to € 30.000 was signed concerning the “Topographic and architectural survey of the ancient theater of Eretria and its structural material”.
  • Archaeological cleaning of the ancient theater as well as the collecting of scattered structural materials was carried out and inspected.
  • A Festival of Performances was held in the courtyard of the ancient theater.
  • A programming contract of € 20.000 was signed on September 2, 2013 between the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Region of Mainland Greece and the Municipality of Eretria for the project “Preliminary work for the restoration study and construction of the theater of Eretria”. The funding was provided by the Municipality of Eretria. Through the Programming Contracts the following studies were assigned directly by the relevant Authorities of Antiquities: A. Architectural surveys, B. Structural Study of the fixation of the ancient theater of Eretria, “Part A: Assessment of Existing Situation”, C. Structural Study of the fixation of the ancient theater of Eretria, “Part B, Restoration Proposals”, D. Conservation study of structural materials of the ancient theater of Eretria. The conservation and maintenance study of the ancient theater of Eretria waspresented by scholars Niki Apostolou and Fotini Belliou to the Board of Directors of “DIAZOMATOS”. On Tuesday 26 January 2016 the studies were approved by the Central Archaeological Council.
  • The Regional Governor of Mainland Greece, Mr. Konstantinos Bakoyiannis approved the credit of 1.050.000 Euros, which will be available for the restoration and maintenance of the structural materials of the ancient theater of Eretria.

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