of the Roman Theatre of Verulamium circa AD 180, by Alan Sorrell
The Roman Theatre of Verulamium is unique. Built in about 140AD it is
the only example of its kind in Britain, being a theatre with a stage
rather than an Amphitheatre. Initially, the arena would have been used
for anything from religious processions and dancing, to wrestling, armed
combat and wild beast shows. From about 180AD the stage came into greater
use and the auditorium extended. By about 300AD, after some redevelopment
work, the Theatre could seat 2000 spectators.
The ruins one can see today were unearthed in 1847. Subsequent excavations
have revealed a row of shop foundations, a Roman Villa and a secret
shrine, all thought to date from the First Century.