Funding and Money

Funding and Money for Greek Theatre

It is not certain exactly who made up the audience but there is evidence to suggest that Boys, Women and Slaves all attended these festivals as well as Men.  Entrance to the festivals was free in the early days however it later became 2 obols for a ticket.  The tickets often were small leaden coins with a theatrical emblem.  An important person for the funding of theatre at this time was a Choregus or Choregia.  A Choregus was a wealthy individual who was appointed to a playwright and would finance production costs not covered by the state.  The state paid for the playwrights and the actors who had main speaking roles and so the Choregus was left to pay for set decoration, costumes, fees for a chorus trainer, musicians and rehearsal expenses for the chorus members.  Ordinary citizens made up the chorus and so were not professional performers. This must have helped to make the community feel integral to these performances.  The Choregus would provide the money for performances as a kind of wealth tax.  By being associated with these performances they gain a certain prestige and so they are happy to spend the money.  Generally there were at least 18 Choregi required each year for the City of Dionysia’s festival.  Usually there was only one Choregus but in 406 BC a law was passed so that two men could share the expenses of the performance. The amount of money put aside in the annual budget from the state for the City Dionysia and Lenaea performances is estimated to have been around 25 talents.  When compared with spending in other areas it amounts to one fortieth of the annual budget for the police force or one percent of the annual defence budget around the time of war.


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