Theatre is one of the oldest forms of entertainment in human tradition. Its early origins date as far as 2,500 years ago in Athens. During this period, ancient Greeks engaged in an organized form of choral singing and dancing in honor of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and fertility. These performances usually told stories of myths and legends in Greek history.
Much later, around the 6th century, Greek ruler, Pisistratus, introduced art competitions in music, dancing, poetry, and singing into the celebrations that honored Dionysus. According to historical records, the singer, Thespis of Icaria, was the first winner of these contests.
Thespis was particularly famous for his animated performances, which involved him reciting lines of poetry in his characters' persona while standing on the back of a wooden cart. As such, history would credit him as the first actor in live theatre. He would eventually become the inspiration behind the word Thespian, which referred to an actor or actress.