When Did Acting Begin?


Quick Answer

Acting began in Athens around 534 B.C. While attending a public festival, the bard Thespis jumped onto a wooden cart and read poetry while pretending he was the character in the poetry. This was the first known time that someone spoke words as a character for entertainment.

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Full Answer

Aristotle credits Thespis with creating tragedy, a style of mythological singing where one person performed as a specific character, while the others were part of the chorus.

Actors in theaters are called thespians in honor of Thespis. Thespians claim that Thespis' mischievous spirit still guides them. There are even theater legends that state Thespis's ghost can cause disasters on stage.

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