And in Amvrakia a temple of the same goddess (Afrodite) and a hero-shrine of Aeneas near the small theater. In this shrine there was a small archaic statue of wood, said to be of Aeneas”
Dionysios of Alikarnassos, Roman Archeology 1.50.4.
The Dionysios of Alikarnassos’ testimony of the 2nd century AD about the existence and location of the small theater of Amvrakia was an important source for its identification.
Survey: The theater was first excavated in 1976 after a few months of research on St. Constantine street, occasioned by an excavation to construct a new building. Excavation works started again in 2011. They continued within the framework included in the NSRF project “”Works for the Promotion and Shaping of the archaeological site of the Small Theater of ancient Amvrakia”” (2014-2020)
Location: The small theater is the smallest known preserved theater in Greece. It was found near St. Konstantinos church and is part of the administrative and religious center of the ancient city, as evidenced by the adjacent public buildings. The post-archaic church of Apollo on Vasilios Pyrrou Street, the Large Theater on Tsakalov Street, and the Rector’s Office, preserved beneath the square and the church of Agia Theodora, are the most important nearby structures. In addition, buildings of the ancient city and a paved street were detected in the theater’s surrounding area.
Construction: The theater was not built on a natural hill as was customary, but on an embanked slope on the remains of a bath complex with pebble mosaics dating to the middle of the 4th century BC. A robust retaining wall supports and delimits the theater to the east.
Parts of the theater have been revealed: Part of the koilon (auditorium) and the parodoi (the two entrances between the scene and the seats), the orchestra (the circular area facing the audience), and the western part of the proskenion’s (front side of the scene) pillar.
The koilon, made of good quality limestone, is crossed by two radial staircases that divide it into three sections with five rows of seats, while the existence of another row is very likely. The seats were made of stone, while the absence of the Proedria (the front seats, reserved for officials and priests) is unusual. Three rows of seats are preserved in both side sections and four in the central one.
The orchestra has the shape of a perfect circle, with a diameter of 6.70 m.
The proscenion was a 10 m long stone building. Its facade was probably decorated with six Ionic half-columns, while a slate-roofed rainwater pipe ran over its entire length.
Dating: According to the architectural elements, the small theater was built at the end of the 4th c. – the beginning of the 3rd c. BC, during the reign of Pyrrhus, that is, during the heyday of Amvrakia, when the city became the kingdom’s capital.
The Large Theater: The Large Theater of Amvrakia, as already mentioned, was located nearby. However, it is impossible to be unearthed, and we know few things about it. Its location has been detected beneath the modern buildings of Arta, but unfortunately, its proximity to these structures leaves no room for further exploration.