SKENE – Name

We chose to insert the remains of a “Skene” (from Greek skene, “scene-building”) in our logo purposly. It helps us “feel” the uninterrupted link of this art coming to us from time immemorial.

The Roman Theatre at Jerash - Jordan

The Roman Theatre at Jerash - Jordan

Greek theater buildings were called a theatron. The theaters were large, open-air structures constructed on the slopes of hills. They consisted of three principal elements: the orchestra, the skene, and the audience. The centrepiece of the theatre was the orchestra, or “dancing place”, a large circular or rectangular area. The orchestra was the site the choral performances, the religious rites, and, possibly, the acting.

The Roman Theatre at Betshean - Israel

The Roman Theatre at Betshean - Israel

Behind the orchestra was a large rectangular building called the SKENE (meaning “tent” or “hut”). First used c. 465 BC, it was used as a “backstage” area where actors could change their costumes and masks, but also served to represent the location of the plays, which were usually set in front of a palace or house. Typically, there were two or three doors in the skene that led out onto the orchestra, and from which actors could enter and exit or from where ghosts and gods appeared. At first, the skene was literally a tent or hut, put up for the religious festival and taken down when it was finished. Later, the skene became a permanent stone structure with an elaborate facade. These structures were sometimes painted to serve as backdrops, hence the English word scenery. The Skene was flanked by wings (paraskenia).

Skene from Betshean

Skene from Betshean - used in our logo

In front of the skene there may have been a raised acting area called the proskene, the ancestor of the modern proscenium stage. It is possible that the actors (as opposed to the chorus) acted entirely on the proskene.

Rising from the circle of the orchestra was the audience. The audience sat on tiers of benches built up on the side of a hill. A typical theatre was enormous, able to seat around 15,000 viewers and were not enclosed with the audience able to see each other and the surrounding countryside as well as the actors and chorus.

Elaborate Skene from Jerash - Jordan

Elaborate Skene from Jerash - Jordan