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David H. Koch Theatre, Lincoln Center, United States

Theatre (or theater , see [spelling differences] ) is a branch of the [performing arts] . While any performance may be considered theatre, as a performing art, it focuses almost exclusively on live performers creating a self contained drama. A performance qualifies as dramatic by creating a representational illusion. By this broad definition, theatre has existed since the dawn of man, as a result of the human tendency for [storytelling] . Since its inception, theatre has come to take on many forms, utilizing speech, gesture, music, dance, and spectacle, combining the other performing arts, often as well as the [visual arts] , into a single artistic form.

The word derives from the [Ancient Greek] theatron ( θέατρον ) meaning "the seeing place."

Panoramic view of the Hellenic theatre at Epidaurus.
The word theatre means a "place for seeing." The two most common types of theatre plays are comedy and tragedy, symbolised by the theatre masks. The first recorded theatrical event was a performance of the sacred plays of the [myth of Osiris and Isis] in 2500 BC in [Egypt] . This story of the god Osiris was performed annually at festivals throughout the civilization, marking the beginning of a long relationship between theatre and religion.

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