A theater is a playhouse; a structure in which theatrical plays or works are performed. It may also host such performances like the production musical concerts. While the theater is not a necessity for performance, it helps in giving a definition to the audience and performance spaces. The facility is conventionally organized to offer support places for performers, the audience members and the technical crew. Theaters form a wider scope as the performances. Theaters have been built for particular kinds of productions, serve for a number of general performances or could be converted or adapted for use as a play house. This essay seeks to highlight the theater developments which have led to a more accommodative style of different kinds of performances through the Greek, Elizabethan and modern ages.
The Greek were the first people to write plays or dramas. The Greek theater therefore was a learning experience for the general public as it focused on the meaning of the existence and the responsibilities of human beings. The play houses were large, open-air configuration constructed on the hill slopes. They comprised three chief elements: the skene, the orchestra, and the audience. The theater centerpiece was the orchestra, commonly referred to as the "dancing place", which could either be a large rectangular or circular area. The skene was a rectangular section behind the orchestra where actors changed their costumes. The plays in theater reflected on the social grouping of humanity and tackled the things that affected people's daily lives. The plays were organized by the rich individuals where the poor were provided with free tickets to the theater. The theater also held competitions in some occasions but based on the same thematic concerns. This happened on such events as those of the Dionysus festival where great playwrights had a chance to engage in competition through out the Greek world. The performances were ranked by a group of ten judges and prizes awarded later based on performances.
The Elizabethan period in England saw a new shape of theaters constructed of wooden frames in filled with daub and wattle and roofed with thatch. This was the Elizabethan theater with a number of floors. Most audience would stand in a yard directly facing the stage. Women were not expected to perform in these theatres. The theater place was now incorporating other new roles. The theatre in England was used as both for educational and learning experience and entertainment as well. Its design was made to accommodate a number of different performances serving different intents as it was observed with the Globe Theater in 1599.
At this present age, we have the modern theaters whose configuration and set up provides for diverse use. They are in most cases non-conventional and very adaptable areas where the performers and the audience are not separated. The modular theater is one such example which has walls and floors divided into movable sections while the floor sections can be adjusted to suit the needs of each play. This has been prompted by the evolvement of new styles of performances in theatre. Recreation of the venues of performance has thus been improved to cater for these changes like the use of stage lighting.
In conclusion, theaters have been since time in memorial used to address particular themes through the performances conducted therein. The world is ever changing and coming up with complex systems which required advanced practice of coping with them. It is with this need that the theater has integrated features all through to provide for the needs of both the actors and the audience. Therefore, theater has realized a magnificent change in its construction and configuration as well as roles all through the Greek, Elizabethan and modern ages providing for the needs of every one.