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Odin Teatret Archive (OTA)

Usability of Materials

The Archive represent more than 55 years of history of a group that has revolutionized the way of thinking about theatre. For this reason, it attracts visitors, students and scholar from all over the world.

Some fragments of archive materials are available and can be downloaded on the website odinteatretarchives.com.

To go through all the documents, photographs and audio-visual materials stored and available at the Archives, the catalogues are an essential guide. The inventories of the archives were written by Mirella Schino and published in Italian and English:

– Il libro degli inventari. Odin Teatret Archives, Roma, Bulzoni, 2015.

– The Odin Teatret Archives, London-New York, Routledge, 2018.

The materials conserved are different (paper documents, photos, videos), and many of these are rare. For this reason, some materials, moreover videos, are often loaned to museums and galleries for installations and exhibition.

In the last year an excerpt of the film Victoria – Black and Woman, directed by Torgeir Wethal and produced by Odin Teatret Film in 1978, was showed in several exhibitions around the world: for the project Afrcamericanos at Centro de la Imagen in Mexico, for Impressum at Museum für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt (Germany) https://www.mmk.art/en/whats-on/bewegte-bilder/ and for Still I Rise: Act 3 at Arnolfini Gallery Limited in Bristol (UK) https://www.arnolfini.org.uk/whatson/exhibitions.

The same excerpt will be used by Aurora Filmes, Brazilian Film Production Company, for the feature documentary Tlazolteotl. Where the Witches Fly To.

Odin Teatret Archives & Centre for Theatre Laboratory Studies (CTLS)

In collaboration with Centre for Theatre Laboratory Studies (CTLS) managed by Aarhus University, the archives are also a research centre. Every year a several number of students, researchers and scholars come to Holstebro to find useful sources for their own research. Only in 2018 OTA received more than 130 visitors coming from Spain, France, Poland, United Kingdom, China, Italy, Greece, Latin America and Canada.

From the point of view of anthropological, historical or sociological studies, theatre is increasingly considered as a possible access key to areas of the human being difficult to approach.

The OTA set out to organize its wealth of documents so they may be useful for:

  • the study of the history of one of the longest standing and most significant theatre groups of the second half of the 20th century;
  • the study of the relationship affecting the theatre life of one generation;
  • the study of the changes in the sphere of affectivity and values which do not only concern theatre activity;
  • the study of human relationship, using theatre as a tool for anthropological or sociological research.

Research and Publications

Many publications were made and written with the sources of this archive.

Tatiana Chemi, associate professor at Aalborg University (Denmark) published A theatre laboratory approach to pedagogy and creativity. Odin Teatret and Group Learning, Palgrave Macmillian, Cham, Switzerland. 2018. In 2018 was published also Tatiana Chemi, Erik Exe Christoffersen, Serendipitetens Rum. Odin Teatrets Laboratorium, Aarhus (Denmark), Forlaget Klim.

In 2017 Jane Turner and Patrick Cambpell, researchers from Manchester Metropolitan University, collected documents on Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium actors training for writing the article The Dance of Opposition. Repetition, legacy and difference in Third Theatre training, published in Time and Performer Training, London-New York, Rouledge, 2019.

In July 2019 the Revista Brasileira de Estudos da Presença, online Brazialian magazine, published a number entirely dedicated to Odin Teatret 55th Anniversary In this number some scholars used sources from OTA website (odinteatretarchives.com) for writing and editing their articles https://www.seer.ufrgs.br/presenca/issue/view/3617.

Odin Teatret Film delivered lot of materials concerning Odin Teatret history to the production company Alert Film. These materials, coming from the audiovisual archive, was used for editing the film The Art of Impossible, directed by Elsa Kvamme. http://www.alertfilm.no/detumuligeskunst.

The 1st of October 2019, in Utrecht (NL), at the Nederlands Film Festival 2019, there will be the Première of The Secret Room. A Journey into the Universe of Odin Teatret. For editing the film, the director Janica Draisma used several materials from the Audiovisual Archives of OTA. https://www.filmfestival.nl/programma/?s=&hPP=24&idx=prod_shows&nr=9


The Archive manages also an internal library for theatre studies that comprising about thousand volumes in more than twenty languages. This library, as the all archive, it can also be used by the Holstebro Community or by any person interested in theatre studies and culture.

The library has been build starting from a series of donations: Eugenio Barba collection, Halfdan Rasmussen collection, Tage Hind collection, Ove Sprogøe collection and Torgeir Wethal collection make the library an important documentary source for the cultural interest of the donors. Moreover, the library receives about 100 magazines representing the major theatre publications from all over the world.


Current Activities  

Odin Teatret is still active, and OTA is continuing cataloguing and organizing materials, that often come from the tours of the group.

The team is composed by: Simone Dragone (responsible for documents archives and library), Lise Marie Guld (cataloguing and archiving magazines), Rasmus Volf Pedersen (Social Media Communication Assistant), Rina Skeel (responsible for photographic archive), Claudio Coloberti (Filmmaker, responsible for Odin Teatret Film and audiovisual archive), Selene D’Agostino (editor of Julia Varley’s bibliography) and Francesca Romana Rietti (editor of Eugenio Barba’s bibliography in collaboration with Llouis Masgrau, professor at Theatre Institute in Barcelona).

In February 2015 the Royal Library in Copenhagen (the Black Diamond) had received part of the original documents from the archives about the first fifty years of Odin Teatret’s life.
Odin Teatret continues its activity: all the documents that are needed by a living theatre will remain in the theatre (including press reviews, organisational and administrative documents) while the Royal Library will preserve the documents for future generations, using state-of-the-art technology.
The documents collected by the Odin Teatret Archives about all aspects of the life, relationships and culture of this theatre can be stored on new media, disseminated in Denmark and among all the primary world cultural institutions collaborating with the Royal Library. The NTL- Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium will keep a digital copy of all the documents deposited at the Royal Library in the Odin Teatret’s archives.
As it has been since the foundation of the OTA-Odin Teatret Archives in 2008, the theatre archives are open all year round for visiting students, scholars and researchers.
The historical archives of Odin Teatret, including the private archives of Eugenio Barba and some of the actors, will be available for consultation at the Royal Library (www.kb.dk/da/index.html), and in digital format at NTL-Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium in Holstebro. The documents about the first fifty years of Odin Teatret have been arranged, digitised and, with the help of the protagonists’ memory, information has been collected about the events that produced them.
They reveal a complex network of relationships and show concretely how theatre can be used as an access key to the study of human behaviour.
This important historical investigation keeps not only the documents but also the memory of the theatre alive.

The work started in 2008 and was conducted by an international group coordinated by Mirella Schino (Roma Tre University), assisted by Francesca Romana Rietti and Valentina Tibaldi.

Other collaborators: Paula Isiegas, Gabriella Sacco, Lucia Repašská, Miguel Jerez López, Kasia Chojecka, Sabrina Martello, Claudio Coloberti, Chiara Crupi, Ana Woolf, Pierangelo Pompa and Lluìs Masgrau.

Important contribution to the various stages of the work was given by:
Eugenio Barba and Nando Taviani, Giulia Barrera (Central State Archives in Rome),
Rina Skeel (producer at Odin Teatret), Alette Scavenius (Copenhagen Royal Library).

Visit the Archive –
an interactive journey through Odin Teatret’s artistic discoveries

Explore the history of Odin Teatret documented by a series of different medias, such as photos, video, letters and notes. The Odin Teatret Archives showcases Odin Teatret’s visions, multifaceted activities and its net of relationships covering a period of over fifty years.

Odin Teatret Archives’ first steps consisted in collecting and classifying paper documents.

First a Fonds Barba was established with all the documents preserved and personally ordered by Barba over a period of more than fifty years. It deals to a large extent (but not exclusively) with materials connected to his work with Odin Teatret: performances (sketches, notes, readings, etc); his relationship with the Polish director Jerzy Grotowski with whom Barba did his apprenticeship (letters, essays, typed scripts); honorary degrees, honours and prizes received ; personal documents; notebooks, sketches and photos; materials related to the text of performances; transcripts of his lectures; his articles, essays and newspaper cuttings about him. The OTA also keep Eugenio Barba’s correspondence which is not yet accessible for obvious motives of privacy but which, when available in the future, will make it possible to reconstruct relationships, shared problems, topics, reflections and phases of development concerning Odin Teatret and the milieu of which it is a part and a catalyst.

At the same time, a Fonds Odin Teatret was started, including all documents kept by the theatre: press cuttings; materials for the journal “Teatrets Teori og Teknikk” published by Odin Teatret in the period 1965-1974; letters from spectators; documents about the various ISTA sessions (International School of Theatre Anthropology); texts of performances; documents about the organisation of the big seminars in the 1960s (with Jerzy Grotowski, Jean-Louis Barrault, Etienne Decroux, Jacques Lecoq, Dario Fo, the brothers Colombaioni and others), and in the 1970s (with Balinese, Indian, Japanese artists and ensembles); documents related to film projects and shooting; actors’ notes, proposals and sketches about the training or the creation of a performance, etc.

Besides these two rather copious Funds, the OTA preserve a Fonds Iben Nagel Rasmussen, with materials concerning in particular her performances which do not involve the whole of Odin Teatret, and her activity as leader of the theatre group Farfa which gathered around her between 1980 and 1990.

Finally, a Fonds Cristina Wistari Formaggia was created in 2008. After her death, her brother and sister, whom we wish to thank once again, left to OTA the documents concerning her activities as dancer and supporter of the classical theatre-dance form Gambuh in Bali. Consultation of the documents at the Odin Teatret Archives has been facilitated by a series of “inventories” (published on this site as work in progress). These inventories describe and contextualise the patrimony of documents and audio-visuals, as well as the maze of historical situations, coincidences and contingencies from which they were born. All OTA’s documents may be consulted by scholars, students, practitioners and any interested person by writing to Odin Teatret. The only exception is Eugenio Barba’s correspondence after 1975, where the authorisation of the recipient is needed. The correspondence cannot be quoted or published without the authorisation of both the sender and the recipient.