The theatre built on the slopes of Mount Panayir was constructed during the reign of Lysimachos and later it was altered many times. Like all the other ancient theatres, the theatre consisted of three main section: the skene (stage building) , the orchestra ( place of action for the actors) and the cavea (auditorium) where the audience sat. The skene which was approximately 18 meters high, was the most imposing section of the Theatre. The facade of the structure which faced audience was three-tiered and had columns. There were statues in niches behind the columns and niches had either triangular or semi-circular frontals.
The auditorium still used today for seating the public during the performances in the theatre, is arranged in three large semi-circles broken-up by eleven wedges of steps separated by entrance staircases. The original theatre could seat about 24.000; the auditorium originally rose for at least 30 meters over the orchestra and was crowned at the summit by a porticoed structure which had the function of further improving the acoustics in the complex. The theatrical productions in the classical period were performed by male actors who wore masks on their faces. These and other elements related to the social life in Ephesus during its period of greatest splendour have been inferred from the frescoes decorating several walls of the so-called Houses on the slope.
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