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Theatre of Dionysus to be restored

27th November 2009

An ancient theatre underneath the Acropolis in Athens is to be restored in a EUR 6 million (GBP 5.4 million) project.

The Theatre of Dionysus, which is considered to be the birthplace of modern theatre, will be partially rebuilt, with its surviving seats extended and modernised using a combination of original stone and modern materials.

Noting the 'immense historic significance' of the site, architect Constantinos Boletis commented: 'It is here that the masterpieces of ancient drama were first performed.'

First used in the sixth century BC, the Theatre of Dionysus hosted the opening performances of classical playwrights such as Euripides and Sophocles and was gradually expanded until it held 15,000 people at its peak.

However, Mr Boletis said there are no plans to open the venue to modern audiences, after proposals to stage new performances were shelved in the 1970s.

Earlier this year, the new Acropolis Museum opened in Athens, which is part of Greece's campaign to reclaim the Elgin Marbles from the British Museum.

The Acropolis Museum was opened in response to the British Museum's claims that the artefacts should remain in the UK because Greece lacks a suitable place to display them.

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