Hang on… that’s a photo of a Greek Amphitheatre! Yes… it’s the amphitheatre at Hierapolis in Turkey (part of Greece in ancient history) and it’s also a thrust theatre.
The Thrust configuration is the oldest known fixed type of staging in the world, and it is thousands of years old!
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As you can see the basic shape of a modern thrust is not too different to the ancient Greek. Thrust staging gives a good all-round and closer view of the action, however this better view also comes at a cost – large scenic elements can only be placed at the rear of the stage.
However there are ways around the sight-line problems a thrust stage offers – in the 1960s and 70s new thrust theatre buildings started to incorporate a shallow proscenium style recess in the back wall. This enabled designers to include scenic effects such as large scale flying and larger structures in designs.
This Hybrid Thrust-Proscenium has also been approached from the opposite direction with many traditional Proscenium Arch theatres building Aprons that thrust out into the auditorium.
Next Page – Theatre in the Round