We start in 334 BC... The crowds are flocking to the Theatre of Dionysus, under the Acropolis. For one week, the whole city of Athens is coming to a complete stop.
Everyone’s going to the drama festival, the Great Dionysia, in honour of Dionysus, the god of wine, theatre, and fertility.
For the audience, it’s all FREE. The city gives 5% of its enormous annual defence budget to the arts, and wealthy individuals – choregoi (pl.) choregos (sing.) – spend massively on choruses, directors, and actors. The city even pays the poor to attend.