Odin Teatret's 40th Anniversary
A Month-long Birthday Party
Odin Teatret celebrated its 40th birthday in October
2004 with a wealth of activities in Holstebro and Aarhus.
The main events were two international symposia. The first, in
collaboration with the Institut of Dramaturgy of the University of
Aarhus, was entitled Why a Theatre Laboratory? and
took place 4-6 October 2004.
It discussed the category "theatre laboratory". What do we mean
by this? Which groups or institutions may be described thus? Do
objective criteria exist for defining a "laboratorial" identity?
What does the work of Stanislavski and Decroux, Meyerhold and Peter
Brook, Grotowski and Ariane Mnouchkine, Copeau and Odin Teatret
have in common? These questions were taken up by the following
specialists in this field: Georges Banu, Eugenio Barba, Raquel
Carrió, Exe Christoffersen, Marco De Marinis, Leszek Kolankiewicz,
Patrice Pavis, Zbigniew Osinski, Béatrice Picon-Vallin, Janne
Risum, Franco Ruffini, Nicola Savarese, Richard Schechner, Mirella
Schino and Ferdinando Taviani. A living legacy was present through
demonstrations by Gennadi Bogdanov (Meyerhold), Théâtre du
Mouvement (Decroux) and Odin Teatret. Some of the interventions are
published in Mirella Schino's book The Alchemists of the Stage -
Theatre laboratories in Europe, Icarus Publishing Enterprise.
The second international symposium, The Theatre that
Dances, 7-10 October 2004, also in Aarhus, dealt with the
aspects of a theatre whose sensorial and dynamic characteristics
have become a genre for itself. There were practical sessions,
lectures, working demonstrations and performances by the following
theatres: The Song of the Goat (Poland), Théâtre du Mouvement
(France), Augusto Omolú (Brazil), Granhoej Dance and Odin Teatret
The many activities connected to Odin Teatret's 40th
birthday began in mid-September and ended in mid-October 2004.
Among them was a seminar at the CTLS, Centre for Theatre Laboratory
Studies at the University of Aarhus, on Professional
Identity and Interculturalism dealing with the influence
of Peking Opera (jingju) in Europe and of western texts and
performing styles on the Peking Opera. In Holstebro, Odin Teatret's
base since 1966, there was also a symposium on The Local
Roots and Distant Contacts of a Theatre Laboratory,
several guest performances and a three-week theatre project for
children in collaboration with the Brazilian theatre Udi Grudi.
These events were part of the project EUROPEAN
THEATRE LABORATORIES AS CULTURAL INNOVATORS organised by
Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium/Odin Teatret (Denmark), Le Théâtre du
Soleil (France), Teatro Atalaya (Spain), Teatro Tascabile di
Bergamo (Italy) and The Center for Studies of Jerzy Grotowski
(Poland) with the support of the CULTURE 2000 PROGRAMME OF
THE EUROPEAN UNION
Programme for Holstebro
- 40th ANNIVERSARY
1-3 October 2004
Odin Teatret - Andersen's Dream (at Odin
Odin Teatret's latest ensemble production was presented to
Opening - Times Runs Out - Part I (at Odin
Eugenio Barba welcomed the guests uncovering a sand painting
installation made by the Brazilian artists Silvino Clayton and
Eridan Moraes showing the image of the Scandinavian god Odin on his
horse with six legs, and a house on a rock. Eugenio Barba called
Judy Barba, Richard Schechner Else Marie Laukvik, and Torgeir
Wethal to pull out plugs from the bottom of the sand
painting-installation. The sand started to flow out onto the floor,
while the colourful image of Odin slowly began in the course of
three days to be destroyed and disappear.
Supper (at Odin Teatret)
The young but already well known Danish chef Jakob Mielcke had
been invited to prepare the meal to be served in Odin Teatret's
white room. The invited guests were waited upon by members of
theatre groups and young theatre scholars.
Solvognen - Beautiful Is the Blue Sky (at Odin
Film with comments by Thomas Bredsdorff. Solvognen was a Danish
theatre commune in the late 1960s which made many spectacular
political interventions, including one with dozens of Father
Christmases invading a department store and distributing its goods
Departure from Odin Teatret
Open air performance - Homage to Giacometti (in
As it was raining, the guests were invited to take black plastic
garbage bags to use as raincoats. Just outside Odin Teatret,
children from the local riding school were showing their skills as
the guests were boarding the buses, cars and motorcycles with
sidecars which would take them to the town centre. The local ballet
school performed in front of the post office as the guests
organised themselves to walk in a single line carrying a rope which
was pulled along by Mr Peanut (Julia Varley). A circle was created
in front of the local police station where a group of policemen
danced their traffic direction gestures to a Danish folk song,
while one red rose was distributed to each guest. The very long
single line parade moved down the pedestrian street to reach
Giacometti's statue "Girl on a Chariot" which came to Holstebro the
same year as Odin Teatret, in 1966. Other local artists and groups
of young gymnasts performed along the way. The firemen announced
the arrival of the parade at Giacometti's statue with a siren,
climbing up the house opposite with ladders and ropes and then
spraying water over the guests as they circled around the statue to
leave their rose at the Girl's feet.
Ceremony with the Mayor of Holstebro - Wedding
The guests were directed from Giacometti's statue into
Holstebro's Town Hall where a wedding ceremony was celebrated in
the Municipal Counsel's Room. The bride was Odin Teatret,
represented by Trickster (Iben Nagel Rasmussen) and the groom was
the town of Holstebro, represented by the Mayor (Arne Lægård).
Eugenio Barba led the bride elegantly dressed in a dinner jacket
and shocking pink shirt. The Dwarf (Torgeir Wethal) was wearing his
pastor's collar to celebrate the wedding. The Old Monk (Tage
Larsen) read the Mayor's speech. Mr
Peanut (Julia Varley) brought in the wedding cake assisted by
Geronimo (Roberta Carreri) and Otto the Polar Bear (Kai Bredholt).
The guests ate the cake with their hands in the Counsel's Room.
Lunch at Holstebro Art Museum
Lunch was served in own as part of a day dedicated to getting to
know Odin Teatret's relationship with Holstebro.
Carolina Vallejo's exhibition - Con amore, Odin
(at Holstebro Art Museum)
The Danish visual artist Carolina Vallejo, daughter of old
friends of Odin Teatret and in contact with the theatre since she
was a child, had asked hundreds of people from all over the world
who consider themselves close to Odin Teatret to send an object and
a text which said something about their relationship with the Odin.
Carolina collected the objects and texts to make an exhibition
which occupied one of Holstebro Museum's rooms for a month in
concomitance with the 40th anniversary festivities.
Ferghana Qasimova (Azerbaijan) - Concert (at
A concert of songs and music from Azerbaijan given as a present
to Holstebro and to the invited guests, was presented in
Holstebro's main church.
Contemporary Legend Theatre (Taiwan) - King
Lear (at Musikteatret)
After the Symposium on Peking Opera in Århus, this impressive
solo performance was presented in Holstebro. Wu Hsing-Kuo,
traditionally trained in Peking Opera, performed his own version of
King Lear performing eight different male and female
Supper at Odin Teatret
Another delicious meal prepared by the Danish chef Jakob Mielcke
and his collaborators.
Odin Teatret - Great Cities under the Moon (at
Odin Teatret presented bilingual version of this ensemble
performance with songs and texts by Bertolt Brecht, Jens Bjørneboe
and Ezra Pound.
Departure from Odin Teatret
Seaside Picnic (warm
All the invited guests where taken to the North Sea coast
for a walk on the dunes and were then served a champagne lunch on
tables placed facing the waves. An orchestra of senior musicians
played Danish folk songs, while the masked black figures of
Dunkelfolk, a Danish theatre group, walked past. After lunch some
Odin actors, to the amazement of the Latin American and southern
European guests, jumped naked into the cold North Sea.
Udi Grudi (Brazil) - O Cano (at Odin
The Brazilian clown performance which had been presented during
the previous month to ALL the children of Holstebro was shown to
Final meeting - Time Runs Out - Part
II (at Odin Teatret)
All guests were invited to return to Odin Teatret's black room
where by now all the sand from the Odin installation had run out
onto the floor. Eugenio Barba presented everyone with a small
bottle containing the Odin image in sand. These sand bottles (over
a hundred) had been prepared by the Brazilian artists Silvino
Clayton and Eridan Moraes.
List of invited guests at Odin Teatret's 40th
Republic: Ferghana Qasimova and
Brazil: Leo Sykes and Udi Grudi, Silvino
Clayton and Eridan Moraes, Paulo Dourado, Fernando Jacon, Nitis
Cuba: Raquel Carrió, Omar
Denmark: Jørgen Anton, Kirsten and Stig
Barfoed, Martin and Gunvor Berg, Lena Bjerregaard, Lene and Thomas
Bredstorff, Peter Bysted, Exe Christoffersen, Trevor Davies,
Kirsten Delholm, Uffe Elbaek, Peter Elsass, Kirsten Hastrup,
Kirsten Justesen, Søren Kjems, Per Kofod, Annelis Kuhlmann, Peter
Laugesen, Bjørn Lense-Møller, Christina and Sylvia Ludvigsen, Irene
Møller, Jan de Neergaard, Alice Pardeilhan, Janne Risum, Livia
Sansone, Lene Thiesen, Carolina Vallejo, Katherine Winkelhorn
Egypt/USA: Frank Bradley
France: Monique Borie, Georges Banu, Patrice
Pavis, Patrick Pezin, Béatrice Picon-Vallin, Jean Marie Pradier
Germany: Gilla Cremer,
Christoph Falke, Siegmar Schröder
Great Britain: Clive Barker,
Jill Greenhalgh, Bianca Mastrominico and John Dean
Holland: Dragan Klaic
Hungary: Janos Regos
Italy: Fabio Ammannato, Antonello Antonante,
Roberto Bacci, Anna Bandettini, Clara Bianchi, Luigia Calcaterra,
Eugenia Casini Ropa, Lina della Rocca, Marco de Marinis, Pino di
Buduo, Marco Donati, Tony D'Urso, Clelia Falletti, Renzo
Filippetti, Claudio La Camera, Liz Letizia, Laura Mariani, Marco
Martinelli, Claudio Meldolesi, Nathalie Mentha, Giovanni Moleri,
Franco Quadri, Silvia and Rune Ricciardelli Franco Ruffini, Luca
Ruzza, Nicola Savarese, Mirella Schino, Renzo Vescovi
Mexico: Bruno Bert, Patricia Cardona
Norway: Geddy Aniksdal, Elsa Kvamme, Tor Arne
Peru: Mario Delgado, Miguel Rubio
Poland: Jaroslav Fret, Leszek Kolankiewicz,
Stanislaw Krotowski, Zbigniew Osinski, Grzegorz Ziółkowski
Santo Domingo: Viena González, Claudio
Serbia: Jovan Cirilov
Spain: Hernán Gené, Ricardo Iniesta, Lluís
Masgrau, Etelvino Vasquez
Sweden: Chris Torch
Taiwan: Wu Hsing-Kuo and Legend Theatre
Uruguay: Felisa Jezier
USA: Brad Krumholz,
Richard Schechner, Ian Watson
Venezuela: Carlos Arroyo
HOLSTEBRO'S MAYOR ARNE LÆGAARD'S SPEECH IN
REPLY TO ODIN TEATRET AT ITS 40th BIRTHDAY
In the middle of the sixties, during the period of the cold war,
a thin, naked girl standing on a cart came to Holstebro. An
outstanding work of art that became a symbol of the town's new
ambitions and longings.
At the same time there were three people in Holstebro who saw
something that no one else could see.Odin Teatret had caught the
eye of Inger Landsted and she reported on it to the town's mayor,
Kaj K. Nielsen, and administrative director, Jens Johansen. These
three people took it upon themselves to bring a theatre on a cart -
namely Odin Teatret - all the way from Oslo. An itinerant theatre
that has continued its travels on a cart - today, however, in the
form of a large lorry with a container.
But today Odin Teatret knows that Holstebro is its home to which
it can always return.
Forty years ago it was not easy for a foreign theatre to come
and settle in Jutland. Nor was it easy for Holstebro's inhabitants
to accept that money be used to house actors who were foreign both
to the town and the community, actors who were not only unknown but
whose performances were unrecognisable.
But Odin Teatret has been able to withstand this confrontation.
Through a wealth of activities, the theatre has become an integral
part of our town while at the same time preserving its way of being
different. These activities have always been very wide-ranging,
from the most specialised research to events with a far more
Wherever Odin Teatret is, there is always something going on.
The theatre is in constant movement - most recently in the case of
the inauguration of the university's new centre at its venues on
Odin Teatret and Holstebro have together experienced at close
quarters the tensions and joys inherent in a culture which is an
encounter between differing behaviours and attitudes. The members
of Odin Teatret immigrated from many countries to Holstebro. But
now they are regarded as some of the town's oldest inhabitants.
Today we witness the arrival of new immigrants. Both the town
and Odin Teatret know how difficult this situation can be, and here
we can make a joint contribution. Odin Teatret is an example of how
immigrants need not to remain foreign.
I know that the collaboration between the town and the theatre
will continue into the future, and that it will strive to include
both those who have lived in this town for many years as well as
those newcomers whom we hope to welcome in our midst.
With these words I wish a long life for Odin Teatret, for
Holstebro and for our enduring and unique cohabitation.