THE LARGE THEATRE
The Large Theatre is one of the most beautiful sights of Pompeii, the biggest and most spellbinding archaeological site in the world. Here, with a ground-breaking yet completely fitting programme, the Teatro Stabile di Napoli – Teatro Nazionale will hold a festival of ancient Greek drama in June and July 2017. Texts by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides will be proposed in the very place where, in all probability, they were staged during the Roman Era.
The Large Theatre was built into a hill, using the natural recess in the hillside to create the horseshoe-shaped stands (known as cavea).
The stepped seating had three distinct zones, which were in turn divided into five sectors, and leant on a passage with a barrel vault.
The structure was built around the middle of the 2nd century b.C., and was thereafter profoundly renovated according to Roman taste. An inscription, visible on the outer wall near the entrance to the orchestra and representing one of the very few known attestations referring to the architectus, testifies the work of Marcus Artorius Primus in the Augustan Age.
Renovations pertained to the scenic areas and the stage, and included the introduction of the velarium, a huge tarpaulin used as a shade for the hottest days, and seat numbering.