Greek Theatre: Track 1

Featuring: Video Video Audio Audio

What was it like to go to the theatre nearly 2500 years ago? Greek theatre has survived through the ages as a powerful and influential art form. This album introduces what early Greek theatres looked like and the kind of audience they attracted. Using the Theatre of Dionysus as a starting point, experts discuss the significance of attending the theatre as a civic occasion, associated with the political and cultural achievements of Athens. Through archaeology and analysis of contemporary art forms, such as decoration on pottery, a picture is built up of ancient Greek theatre. The album reveals how precious Greek texts have survived, and how Aeschylus’ tragedy 'Persians' has been interpreted in modern theatre. This material forms part of The Open University course A219 Exploring the classical world.

By: The iTunes U team (Programme and web teams)

Share on Google Plus Share on LinkedIn View article Comments

Track 1: Greek Theatre

An introduction to this album.

© The Open University 2009

Tracks in this podcast:

Track   Title Description
1 Greek Theatre    An introduction to this album. Play now Greek Theatre
2 Attending the theatre in Athens    Historians discuss the significance and meaning of theatre in Ancient Greece. Play now Attending the theatre in Athens
3 Actors in Greek theatre    Why actors in ancient Greece wore masks and were highly skilled. Play now Actors in Greek theatre
4 How the plays survived    How precious Greek plays survived against all odds to influence theatre into the 21st Century. Play now How the plays survived
5 Modern productions of Persians    Some of the ways in which the ancient play “Persians” by Aeschylus has been interpreted in modern times. Play now Modern productions of Persians

Copyright information

Tags, Ratings and Social Bookmarking


Your rating None. Average rating 5 out of 5, based on 5 ratings


Leave a comment
Sign in or create your OpenLearn account to join the discussion.

We invite you to discuss this subject, but remember this is a public forum.
Please be polite, and avoid your passions turning into contempt for others. We may delete posts that are rude or aggressive; or edit posts containing contact details or links to other websites.

Other content you may like

OU on the BBC: Ancient Greece: The greatest show on Earth: ARCHIVE Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC: Ancient Greece: The greatest show on Earth: ARCHIVE

Join us on a journey to the ancient world and explore the heart of Athens: the theatre.


History & The Arts 

The Birth of Comedy

Take the topical satire of Have I Got News For You and mix thoroughly with the adolescent humour of The Inbetweeners, add in a healthy dose of Monty Python-esque absurdity and finish off with lashings of songs and dances. Then serve it all up to a baying crowd in an atmosphere more like a football match than a theatre stage. Welcome to the world of Aristophanes, ‘the father of comedy’. The rise of democracy in ancient Greece produced one of the greatest ever flowerings of culture and gave birth to history, philosophy, science … and fart gags. Theatre first appeared in Athens 2,500 years ago to educate and entertain the growing audience of citizens. However Greek theatre wasn’t a quiet entertainment but a rowdy, competitive sport involving teams of performers battling each other for prizes.

1 hr 15 mins

History & The Arts 

Spectacular Flirtations

Open University Art History professor, Gill Perry takes us through The National Portrait Gallery and explores the relationship between 18th Century art and theatre and the notion of actresses and their portraits as seductive, beguiling objects. Gill also looks at parallels in the ways contemporary female stars use media images to promote themselves as celebrities.

5 mins
Some merits of Manchester Creative commons image Icon Nightfall404 under Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 license article icon

History & The Arts 

Some merits of Manchester

In Manchester, William is struck by the city's dignity - and woollen socks.

Timeline: Just the facts Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Production team article icon

History & The Arts 

Timeline: Just the facts

A timeline of the science, culture and technology of food. If you would like a more visual experience, you can explore with our food timeline interactive.

The City: Urban Legacies Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: OU article icon

History & The Arts 

The City: Urban Legacies

What continuity is there between the city in the ancient world and its modern counterparts?

An Island Race? Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

History & The Arts 

An Island Race?

"Are people who live on islands different in some significant way from those who inhabit the 'mainland'?" asks Nigel Clark

Selling Empire: Epilogue – the slow death of heroism? Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: ITV/Rex Features article icon

History & The Arts 

Selling Empire: Epilogue – the slow death of heroism?

This article traces the change from optimism over the Commonwealth and over Britain as a jet-age great power in the 1940s-50s, towards comedy and cynicism over empire by the 1960s. Starting with the Empire and Commonwealth Annuals of the early postwar years, it ends with Carry on Up the Khyber and the Flashman novels.

Bauhaus Creative commons image Icon 96dpi under CC-BY-NC licence under Creative-Commons license article icon

History & The Arts 


The powerhouse which drove German design - and then spread worldwide.