Arles Theatre Antique
The ancient Roman Theatre Antique is in the center of Arles, between the tourist office and the Roman Arena. The Theatre Antique had semi-circular seating (cavea) for 10,000 spectators, a stage and an elaborate scene set.
The set is mostly gone, but the seating is still there and the grand visitors entry can be viewed from the park outside the grounds.
UNESCO. The Arles Roman Theatre, along with other Roman and Romanesque sites in Arles, is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visiting the site
The original spectators entry (photo, left) is at the Jardin d'Eté beside the Boulevard des Lices in Arles. Entry into the grounds for today's visitors is on the opposite side, at the back left (NW) corner.
Inside you can wander the grounds and climb to the top of the theatre seating area. There are still a pair of tall columns standing where the stage was, but not much left of the elaborate stage that the Roman's built.
Where the Roman Arena put on "action adventure" entertainment for the masses, the Theatre Antique offered plays, tragedies, comedies, and Roman or Greek mimes and pantomimes for a more refined audience.
There were sometimes "Men Only" events, where women and children were only allowed when accompanied by a man.
Theatre Antique History
The Roman Theatre Antique of Arles was built on a small hill around the year 12 BC. The site was dedicated to Apollo, and richly decorated in honor of emperor Augustus who was responsible in the growth of Arles.
The elaborate stage set had over a hundred Corinthian columns, of which two are still standing today.