It is, however, much smaller, as it was intended merely to meet the needs of the city’s inhabitants. It is built on the west side of the Nesi peninsula, where the agora – the civic centre with the public buildings – was also located.
Of the original form of the theatre, from the mid-fourth century BC, the cavea survives, which can accommodate an audience of 2,000 people. Spectators sat on the stone benches (edolia), which are today the monument’s most impressive feature. On the front surface of all of them are inscriptions with the names of officials and priests who were sponsors (choregoi), as they were ex-votos to Dionysos. The god to whom the monument was dedicated, as is the case with most of the theatres of ancient Greece.
The theatre we see now includes alterations made in the years of Roman rule (31 BC-AD 330). The skene building was extended in the direction of the orchestra, that is, the space where the actors and the chorus performed, which ceased to be circular and became semicircular. The theatre was the venue not only for dramatic performances but also other religious and political events of the city.
In the fourth-fifth century AD the seats were a source of building material, used in the construction of the fortification wall constructed on the hill behind the theatre. The monument lay silent and forgotten for hundreds of years. When it was discovered it was covered completely by an olive grove. Excavations commenced in 1972. Since 1995 it hosts, each July, concerts of classical and traditional music.