Progress of Works

Geophysical surveys
Expropriations
Excavations (ongoing)
Restoration Studies
(ongoing)
Restoration Works

Quick Navigation

Ancient Theater of Sicyon

Description
Multimedia
Scientific Bulletin
Donations
Progress of Works
Theater News

The theatre of ancient Sicyon lies in the Local Department of Vassiliko, in Sicyonion Municipality, Corinthia Prefecture.
Based on the architectural features and structure of the theatre, which comprised the stage building with the two ramps and posterior stoa, the parodoi, the retaining walls of the cavea, and the orchestra with the proedriae, and taking into account the fact that it is not incorporated into the “Hippodamean” city plan, the theatre is dated to the late 4th or early 3rd c. BC. It was restructured during the Roman period, probably after 146 BC.

The theatre of Sicyon lies at the foot of the Hellenistic acropolis, in the natural hollow of the hill, west of the ancient agora. It shares the architectural layout common to all ancient theatres. It consists of three parts: the cavea, the orchestra and the stage building.

Structurally, it combines two techniques: a) it is built using local poros stone, and b) parts of the theatre are carved out of the bedrock. The cavea, 125 m. in diameter, faces northeast. Two horizontal passageways divide it into three sections. Only part of the lowest section has been excavated, where 16 stepped corridors delimit 15 cunei.

There must have been 60 rows of seats in total. In the front row are the seats of honour (proedriae) of the priests and other city officials (rulers, generals, etc.) The proedriae, of poros stone, are throne-shaped and decorated. A characteristic feature of the theatre is the two vaulted passageways at the ends of the first section, 16 m. long, 2.55 m. wide and 2.60 m. high, which formed the main audience entrances.

The orchestra, 24.04 m. in diameter, is slightly larger than half the circumference of a perfect circle and its floor is of beaten earth. Its basic feature is its drainage system, a marvellous work of engineering. A drainage channel 1.25 m. wide and 1.00 m. deep, covered with slabs where it met each staircase, ran around the orchestra in front of the seats of honour and conveyed the rainwater into a shallow channel which crossed the orchestra, parallel to the proscenium wall. The water then ran into a third channel which crossed the orchestra at right angles and ended at a small staircase behind the set.
The stage building consists of the proscenium and the main stage, which was two storeys high and richly adorned with carvings and architectural features. Two symmetrical ramps carved into the rock led to the logeion. In the 4-metre-wide parodoi to left and right were gateways modelled on those of the theatre of Epidaurus. Behind the stage (on the northeast side) was built a Doric stoa of 13 columns, with a fountain structure at its northwest end.

In the Roman period the stage building was extended, covering part of the orchestra, and a new, low logeion (pulpitum) was built in place of the proscenium.
Apart from hosting ancient dramatic competitions, the theatre was also used as an assembly-place for the citizens of Sicyon, where political decisions were made.

The state of preservation of the excavated sections of the ancient theatre is mediocre. There is serious damage to the seats, the stage building and the west passageway.

The theatre has been used for theatrical and musical events in the past. After 2000, however, its use for performances and events was prohibited and only simple visits are allowed.

K. Kissas
Archaeologist

Archaeologist Konstantinos Kissas talks about the ancient theatre of Sicyon.

Published 18 November, 2014. A historical day for the ancient theatre of Sicyon, according to mayor of Sicyon, Spyros Stamatopoulos.

Monument Name

Ancient theatre of Sicyon

Category

Theatre

Brief Description

The Theatre of Sicyon lies at the foot of the Hellenistic acropolis, in the natural hollow of the hill, west of the ancient agora. It shares the architectural layout common to all ancient theatres. It consists of three parts: the cavea, the orchestra and the stage building.

Images - Plans

Partial photographic documentation is held in separate archives (37th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, photographic archive of Sicyon Museum), while there are also aerial photographs. The ancient theatre was drawn by topographic engineer Michalis Gelis as part of his thesis at the National Technical University of Athens, at the recommendation of the 37th Ephorate. Separate plans and drawings of the orchestra, stage building, parodoi and part of the cavea are included in the publications on the monument.

A 3-D model of the Theatre is in preparation (laser scanning).

Documentation - Bibliography

1. Fossum, a. 1905 “The theater at Sikyon”, AJA 9, p.263-276

2. Griffin, a.1982. Sikyon. Oxford.

3.ΥΠΠΟ, ΔΑΑΜ 2004, Τεχνική Έκθεση θεάτρου Σικυώνας.

Location

Agora of ancient Sicyon, in the Local Department of Vassiliko (ancient Sicyon), Sicyonion Municipality, Corinthia Prefecture.

Dating

Based on the architectural features and structure of the theatre, which comprised the stage building with the two ramps and posterior stoa, the parodoi, the retaining walls of the cavea, and the orchestra with the proedriae, and taking into account the fact that it is not incorporated into the “Hippodamean” city plan, the theatre is dated to the late 4th or early 3rd c. BC. It was restructured during the Roman period, probably after 146 BC.

General Description of Monument

The theatre of Sicyon lies at the foot of the Hellenistic acropolis, in the natural hollow of the hill, west of the ancient agora. It shares the architectural layout common to all ancient theatres. It consists of three parts: the cavea, the orchestra and the stage building.

Structurally, it combines two techniques: a) it is built using local poros stone, and b) parts of the theatre are carved out of the bedrock. The cavea, 125 m. in diameter, faces northeast. Two horizontal passageways divide it into three sections. Only part of the lowest section has been excavated, where 16 stepped corridors delimit 15 cunei. There must have been 60 rows of seats in total. In the front row are the seats of honour (proedriae) of the priests and other city officials (rulers, generals, etc.). The proedriae, of poros stone, are throne-shaped and decorated.

A characteristic feature of the theatre is the two vaulted passageways at the ends of the first section, 16 m. long, 2.55 m. wide and 2.60 m. high, which formed the main audience entrances. The orchestra, 24.04 m. in diameter, is slightly larger than half the circumference of a perfect circle and its floor is of beaten earth. Its basic feature is its drainage system, a marvellous work of engineering. A drainage channel 1.25 m. wide and 1.00 m. deep, covered with slabs where it met each staircase, ran around the orchestra in front of the seats of honour and conveyed the rainwater into a shallow channel which crossed the orchestra, parallel to the proscenium wall. The water then ran into a third channel which crossed the orchestra at right angles and ended at a small staircase behind the set. The stage building consists of the proscenium and the main stage, which was two storeys high and richly adorned with carvings and architectural features.

Two symmetrical ramps carved into the rock led to the logeion. In the 4-metre-wide parodoi to left and right were gateways modelled on those of the theatre of Epidaurus. Behind the stage (on the northeast side) was built a Doric stoa of 13 columns, with a fountain structure at its northwest end. In the Roman period the stage building was extended, covering part of the orchestra, and a new, low logeion (pulpitum) was built in place of the proscenium.

Apart from hosting ancient dramatic competitions, the theatre was also used as an assembly-place for the citizens of Sicyon, where political decisions were made.

Current Situation

The state of preservation of the excavated sections of the ancient theatre is mediocre. There is serious damage to the seats, the stage building and the west passageway.

Excavations - Interventions

The excavated section of the theatre (stage building, orchestra and cavea) was revealed by the excavations of the American School of Classical Studies from 1886 to 1898, while other works and the excavation of part of the cavea were carried out by the Archaeological Society at Athens in 1952 and 1982. In 2006-2007, with funding from the 3rd Community Support Fund, and under self-supervision, the 37th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities carried out restoration work on the east vaulted passageway of the ancient theatre, while the west vaulted passageway was temporarily shored up.

Permitted Uses

By decision ΥΠΠΟ/ΑΡΧ/Α1/Φ42/6145/330/19-4-2000 of the Ministry of Culture and as part of a list of theatres, the use of the ancient theatre of Sicyon for performances and events was prohibited.

History of Modern Uses

The theatre has been used in the past, prior to 2000, for theatrical and musical events by Athenian theatre groups, and particularly local school theatre groups and the Sikyonia Theatriki Skene (Sicyonian Stage).

Further Information

The monument belongs to the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Service responsible for Corinth Prefecture.

Latitude

37.984139°

Longitude

22.710575°

NameDateAmount (€)
Christina Liaki100.00
Nikolaos Moschidis100.00
Mary Dimou200.00
Maria Fotopoulou - Karabetsou300.00
Dimitra Portokalli300.00
Lyceum Club of Greek Women (Kiato)1.000.00
Andreas and Paraskevi Chasoura in memory of Diomidis Pan. Chasoura1.000.00
Ephorate of the Ancient Theatre of Sicyon (Lyceum Club of Greek Women, Kiato)8.950.00
1st Secondary School of Vari50.00
Total
€12.000.00

Expenditures

ExpenditureDateAmount (€)
Ancient Theatre of Sykion ΜΕΛΕΤΗ ΑΠΟΚΑΤΑΣΤΑΣΗΣ ΑΡΧΑΙΟΥ ΘΕΑΤΡΟΥ12.914.40
Total
€12.914.40
Balance
€-914.40
DescriptionBudgetTargetRemarks
"Revelation, Protection and Promotion of the ancient theater of Sicyon."200.000.00

The amount was disbursed after a Programmatic Agreement signed between the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Region of Peloponnese and the Municipality of Sikyona.


Additional Operations15.000.0015.000.00

The amount will be collected by donations.

  • On 26 February 2009, DIAZOMA President Mr. Stavros Benos visited the ancient theatre of Sicyon as part of his tour of ancient theatres in the regional unit of Corinthia. There, he met with local bodies and institutions to discuss enhancing and promoting this ancient theatre. (link)
  • The DIAZOMA Association has set up a fundraising bank account (“piggy bank”) for the ancient theatre of Sicyon. On 28 June 2019, a special event took place in the theatre’s forecourt. The Kiato Branch of the “Lykeio ton Hellenidon” (Lyceum Club of Greek Women) and its president Mrs. Maria Fotopoulou-Karambetsou announced the “piggy bank’s” opening and a donation of 1,000 euros by the Kiato Branch. (link)
  • On 15 May 2014, at the DIAZOMA Association’s urging, the Ministry of Culture and Sports, the Region of the Peloponnese, and the Municipality of Sicyon signed the “Unveiling, Protecting and Enhancing the Ancient theatre of Sicyon” cultural development programme agreement of 200,000 euros. This programme is funded by the Region of the Peloponnese- Regional Unit of Corinthia and the Municipality of Sicyon, each providing 100,000 The programme aims to comprehensively protect the ancient theatre, rescue it as archaeological evidence and historical testament, halt further loss of original materials, preserve, restore, enhance and promote the monument’s original identity as a work of architecture, create an authentic and recognizable image of the theatre, make it operational again, and, lastly, prepare it to host visitors safely and deliver it to the local community. (link)
  • The schedule of the above programme agreement included the following units:

Phase A

  • Preliminary works
  • Adoption of immediate rescue measures to protect the already uncovered ancient members.
  • A Preparation of an architectural study and masterplan, to be submitted for approval at the co-competent Directorates of the Ministry of Culture and Sport.
  • Drawing up preparatory conservation and restoration studies.

 

  • In August 2014, the works provided for by the “Unveiling, Protecting and Enhancing the Ancient theatre of Sicyon” project commenced.
  • On 14 April 2016, DIAZOMA commissioned architect-engineer Mr. George Biniaris to prepare the preliminary study “Restoration and enhancement of the ancient theatre of Sicyon”. The cost was covered by the ancient theatre’s “piggy bank”. (link) The study’s object is the ancient theatre of Sicyon’s restoration-enhancement, the completion of the surviving remains of its koilon (seating area), and the preparation of an architectural study for its restoration.
  • On 22 February 2017, the above preliminary study was completed and received by the DIAZOMA Association Board of Directors. (link)
  • On 21 November 2017, at the urging of DIAZOMA, a new Programme Agreement for the Ancient theatre of Sicyon was signed between the Ministry of Culture, the Region of the Peloponnese, and the Municipality of Sicyon for the project “Unveiling, Protecting and Enhancing the Ancient theatre of Sicyon (Phase B) and Investigating the Ancient Stadium of Sicyon”. The Region of the Peloponnese (through the Regional Unit of Corinthia) and the Municipality of Sicyon undertook to fund Phase B of the research programme to the amount of 100,000 euros each. (link)
  • The Programme includes Phase B of the works, namely:
    • Completing the theatre unveiling works based on the Outline Plan provisions, accompanied by archaeological and photographic documentation.
    • Completing the planned research for the monument’s conservation, restoration, and enhancement and the preparation of the relevant studies according to the Outline Plan’s specifications.
    • Highlighting the theatre’s connection to the ancient stadium, in which works will be carried out to identify its form.
    • Developing information materials to promote the monuments. The Programme’s total budget amounts to 200,000 euros.
  • This funding was used to carry out works to unveil the ancient theatre (lower koilon (seating area), retaining walls, euripos (water drainage canal), connection to the ancient stadium, as well as the simultaneous preparation of the monument’s restoration study.
  • On 25 November 2020, an amendment to the 21/11/2017 Programme Agreement was signed to extend the agreement’s timetable to 31/03/2021. It also increased its budget by 20,000 euros to enable commissioning of the restoration study. The amount of 20,000 euros is being provided by the Municipality of Sicyon. The study is expected to be completed in March 2021, so that the project can be incorporated in the following NSRF programming period. (CURRENT STATE)
  • Completion of the monument’s restoration study and incorporation of its restoration in the 2021-2027 NSRF is required. (NEXT STEP)

 

Theater Sponsors