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The Most Famous and Important Theaters in Athens

The history of theater in modern Greece begins with the introduction of the term modern Greek theater in 1821. Although the birthplace of theater, Greece, experienced difficult days after the revolution, as a result the only theatrical movement that existed was in Crete and the Ionian Islands, with young creators appearing and presenting works that were mostly comic or satirical. Theater changed radically in modern Greece when Athens became the country’s capital and especially after the 20th century was over. During this period, the first large theatrical stages were established, with the Royal Theater (National Theater today) laying the foundation for the rapid development of theater in Greece with new and current practices. The theatrical stages of Athens began to invest in European works and a repertoire that had been presented for years on the big European stages.

National Theater

The National Theater is one of the most important theatrical stages in Greece. Its history has been identified with the development of modern theater in the country, as its founding was the occasion for the rapid progress of drama and the emergence of new theatrical forms and genres.

Stage of the National Theater

National Theater was founded in 1901 as a royal theater by Thomas Oikonomou, and it is still housed in the magnificent building of Agios Konstantinos, with designs by Ernest Ziller. It closed in 1908 due to lack of money and reopened several years later. In 1932, it was renamed the National Theater and continued to present works of drama, but also devoted itself to the development of theater as an art form and to the promotion of the cultural identity of its site. Thus, a theatre school was founded to enhance the acting and directing skills of Greek actors, in collaboration with international stages and great teachers of the trade, such as Emilios Veakis, Minotis, Katina Paxinou, and others.

Badminton Theater

The Badminton Theater is one of the most important stages in Athens. It opened a few years ago, after the building in Goudi fulfilled its duties as host of the Olympic badminton games in 2004.

How the Badminton Theater was born

After the 2004 Olympic games ended, the building was turned into a multi-purpose event and arts venue from a private company and became suitable for conferences as well as large and small-scale events. The redesign of the space began in 2006 and was completed in 2007 when the events and theatrical performances began.

The stage of the Badminton Theater

The architecture of the theater is post-industrial, with strong modern elements, while its open, outdoor spaces are particularly characteristic, where you can visit sculpture exhibitions that are hosted in the summertime. Due to its technical specifications and its amazing acoustics, Badminton Theater is considered the most modern and perfect stage in Athens, and it is no coincidence that until today, it has hosted major international productions and performances in theater and dance.

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

The Conservatory of Herodes Atticus, or as it has been called, Herodeion, is one of the architectural jewels of Athens. A museum on the southwest side of the Acropolis hill, dates from the 2nd century and was built with the sponsorship of Herod of Attica in honor of his wife. The name of the wife of the rich Athenian orator and sophist Tiberius Claudius Atticus Herod (not the emperor) was “Rigilli”. It was intended mainly for musical performances, while it was not always an open theater as it is today. The building’s most dramatic restoration began only after the Second World War ended, in parts and gradually. Pentelic marble was used for the restoration of the stands, while Ymittos’ marble was used for the orchestra. After its complete restoration, it began to be used in the summer to host theatrical and other events, while in recent years it is one of the main venues of the Athens Festival.

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