Theatre was very popular amongst the Ancient Romans.
The first Roman stage plays were mounted as part of religious celebrations and followed on from earlier Greek culture.
Plays were performed in huge open air theatres.
The theatre performance was often paid for by wealthy citizens hoping to become popular with the people.
To make sure their plays were applauded, and not booed, the wealthy citizens would also pay for some of the playgoers to clap and applaud!
Showing appreciation at the Roman Theatre had definite rules: Mild applause at the Roman Theatre was shown by snapping finger and thumb together; more vigourous applause by clapping; and finally if the crowd really enjoyed the play, they would wave the edge of their togas or a piece of cloth wildly in the air to show the most appreciation for the acting and the play.
As these theatrical events were free even the poorest Roman Citizens could attend them.
Roman actors wore masks and only men were allowed to take part in the plays.
Roman Women were allowed to take part in mime, a type of comedy play, which was held on wooden platforms in the streets. Masks were not worn in mime and women were allowed to play the female roles.
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The Emperor Hadrian ruled for 21 years from A.D. 117 until A.D. 138, when the Empire of Ancient Rome was at its height.
The Emperor Hadrian consolidated and strengthened The Roman Empire. He was The Roman Emperor responsible for the building of Hadrian's Wall in England.
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