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The original list of theatres for theatre-finder.org was begun in 1983 using the resources documented in Theatre and Cinema Architecture, an annotated bibliography by Richard Stoddard supplemented by a wide variety of works not included in that publications. (Some of the most helpful of these were the Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites [now on line at http://www.chlt.org/sandbox/perseus/pecs/index.html], the Blue Guides for numerous countries [and in the case of Italy the Guide Archeologiche Laterza] and numerous guides to individual theatres which Stoddard intentionally excluded.) Works published after Stoddard?~@~Ys bibliography was completed were examined as they came to my attention. The continually evolving list that resulted was refined through field research involving 40 trips to 22 countries over a 27 year period.

In 1994 the Greek and Roman portion of this list was superseded by the publication of the three volumes of Rossetto, Paola Ciancio and Giuseppina Pisani Sartorio Greek and Roman Theatres: at the Roots of Acted Language. (Teatri Greci e Romani: alle Origini del Linguaggio Rappresentato) SEAT: 1994. Published in Italian, English, French and German. (An updated, but purely Italian version is available as an e-book at http://www.ancient-theatres.com. An English e-version is planned for 2011.) This book lists, with a few exceptions, all known Greek and Roman theatres whether they have been excavated, located, or merely referenced in historic documents.

Theater-finder.org differs from Teatri Greci e Romani in that theatre-finder lists only those theatres for which there are sufficient visible remains to allow the average visitor to clearly make out a theatre?~@~Ys architectural form. It does not include theatres that are unexcavated or for which there are insufficient remains to merit a visit to them. The current state of the remains has been confirmed by site visits and the examination of photographs from web sites and books. (Greek and Roman Theatres [Teatri Greci e Romani] is an unreliable source for determining the value of visiting a site. Its section on ?~@~\state of preservation?~@~] does not always take into account work done on a site since its archaeology was last published and obviously cannot take into account work done since 1994. More problematic is the tendency of several contributors to list as ?~@~\well preserved?~@~] only theatres that have not been excavated. )

Among the most useful have been:

  • Claude, Philip?~@~Ys Theatres Antiques Grecs et Romains, http://pagesperso-orange.fr/claude.philip/cartographie.htm
  • Hines, Thomas. The Ancient Theatre Archive, http://www.whitman.edu/theatre/theatretour/home.htm
  • Sturzebecker, Russell L.. Photo Atlas Athletic-Cultural Archaeological Sites in the Greco-Roman World
  • Chase, Raymond G.. Ancient Hellenistic and Roman Amphitheatres, Stadiums, and Theatres the Way They Look Now.
  • Izenour, George C. Roofed Theatres of Classical Antiquity.
  • Sear, Frank. Roman Theatres.

Notes on classical theatres in Asia. There is no comparable source of ancient theatres in Asia. The best single country source to date is 中?~[??| ?~_?~I??~\?? 建?~Q (Traditional Chinese Theater Buildings) by Xue Linping. It lists over 250 historical theatres and suggest that the real number is in the thousands. Documenting these theatres will be a major task for the tt heatre-finder.

Post-Roman theatres. Numerous country and regional catalogues of historic theatres have been consulted over the years and these has been cross referenced with lists available at PROSPECTIVE (http://www.perspectiv-online.org/doc_eng/memb_all.html), Andreas Praefcke's Cathalia, site at http://www.andreas-praefcke.de/carthalia/index.html, and other www sites along with an unpublished CD catalogue Historical Theatres Existing in Europe, 1500-1899 by Per Simon Edström of Arena Theatre Institute in Swee den done for the History and Theory Commission of the International Organization of Stenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians, (OISTAT).

British spelling is used for the modern city names used to locate each theatre. The most common local spelling of the city name is listed as the first alternative (alias) and other commonly found alternatives follow. For many Greek and Roman theatres, especially those now located outside of cities; there is significant variation in how they are identified. For this reason theatre-finder.org has standardized on the spelling used in Greek and Roman Theatres (Teatri Greci e Romani).

Franklin J. Hildy, School of Theatre, Dance & Performance Studies, 2810 PAC
University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742 | E-mail theatre-finder [at] umd [dot] edu