The theatre is embedded into the side of Mount Larissa in the ancient Agora in Argos, which dates to the fifth century BC.
The theatre in Argos grew significantly in size from a relatively small archaic theatre (now odeon, 100 meters to the south) to a Hellenistic theatre which seated 20,000 spectators. This increase in size was due to the Panhellenic Nemean games and the Heraian games being relocated to Argos. The Hellenistic theatre is one of the largest theatres in Greece, yet very little of this structure remains.
In the second century AD the smaller theatre was renovated into a Roman styled odeon, while the larger theatre was renovated into a Greco-Roman style theatre. This theatre showcases one of only two examples of a circular shaped orchestra, which can be seen in the adjoining photograph (The other example is in the theatre in Epidaurus).
Did you known?
This theatre has interesting architectural features. The staircases in the theatre are arranged in such a way to segment the tiered seating into four ‘cunei’, or wedges, which represent the tribes of Argos. Furthermore, not only does the theatre have a circular orchestra, but there is also a hidden stairway which leads underground and is located behind the orchestra. This ‘Charonian’ stairway was used by actors as an unseen route to and from the stage.