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Classical Amphitheatre

The name amphitheatre (alternatively amphitheater) is given to a public building of the Classical period (being particularly associated with ancient Rome) which was used for spectator sports, games and displays.

The important distinction between an amphitheatre and a theatre is that an amphitheatre is round or oval in shape (whereas a theatre is semi-circular). However, an amphitheatre differs from a circus, which was used for racing.

The best-known amphitheatre in the world is the Roman Colosseum, which is more correctly termed the Flavian amphitheatre.

Other Roman amphitheaters include:




Contemporary Amphitheatre

In contemporary use, the term amphitheatre is often used to refer to semi-circular, accoustically vibrant performances spaces, particularly those which are located outdoors. These often include standing structures, sometimes curved or "bowl" shaped, both behind the stage and behind the audience, creating an area which echoes or amplifies sound, making the amphitheatre ideal for musical or theatrical performances. A natural amphitheatre is a performance space located in a spot where a steep mountain or a particular rock formation naturally amplifies or echoes sound, making it ideal for musical and theatrical performances. The term amphitheatre can also be used to describe naturally occuring formations which would be ideal for this purpose, even if no theater has been constructed there.

Notable modern amphitheatres include the Universal Amphitheatre[?] and the Hollywood Bowl. Notable natural amphitheatres include Echo Rock[?], New Mexico, and Red Rocks, Colorado[?].

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