03. November 2020

Holstebro-Beirut: Hybrid theatre-training laboratory

A hybrid theatre-training laboratory has been launched in collaboration between Odin Teatret – Holstebro and Al Madina Theatre in Beirut, as a solidarity initiative and a catalyst to resilience in times of Covid 19 worldwide, and in times of challenging economic and political situation in Beirut, especially after the August devastating explosion that damaged the cultural fabric of the city.

Culture and specifically the performing arts in Lebanon are currently at high risk. Performing artists are amongst the most fragile groups with unstable economy in the community, due to the lack of local government support programs or work opportunities. Many theatres are closing down. Performing arts students are dropping out of universities, causing a gap in the educational and professional sector. Children and young people generally and specifically in refugee camps, and peripheral areas and the mountains are deprived from access to any type of cultural activities.

Historically arts in Lebanon played a big role in uniting people in times of crisis, it had a huge impact on the community cohesion and social unity. The openness of the Lebanese society and the high level intellectual and creative sectors has always been regarded as an outstanding example to other MENA and North African countries. It is a need today to support and save the arts, and support culture as a great catalyst to resilience.

The hybrid Laboratory Spirit program has been launched as a response to this challenging situation. The Odin Teatret in Holstebro - Denmark partnered with Al Madina Theatre in Beirut and the four major universities in Lebanon and several cultural operators to launch the first hybrid theatre-training laboratory. 

For the last months the team in Beirut has been clearing glass and repairing damages in the theater building, last weeks, using the digital technologies, and recreating the physical spaces by adding big screens and live feeds, teams from both institutions have been intensely meeting, working hand in hand along, testing and designing this hybrid experience for actual training sessions.  It had been a great motivation for all teams from both ends.

The programme consisted of a 3 day intensive programme of live training sessions, films, work demonstration, talks, and performances and is offered free of charge to all participants and to the public as well as children outreach in 2 different locations in Lebanon, with the major support of the Arab Funds for Arts and Culture AFAC, the Danish Embassy in Beirut, the Arab Theatre Training Center ATTC. This project is part of Odin Teatret / Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium strategic project the Immersive Laboratory for Innovation in Theatre making and Archive ILITA.  

Ibrahim Dirani /Dar Al Mussawir
Ramzi Haydar/ Dar Al Mussawir – The photos of the Live streaming “ Percussion for children”

Participant Reactions

Thank you for this experience. I felt I gained a greater insight into the work and history of Odin Teatret and how different discoveries of its practitioners might apply to work I do now or in the future. I especially enjoyed learning about ways of using bargaining to build community with people who do not normally attend theatre plays. I also enjoyed the physical training opportunities. I feel more motivated to recruit artists from the 'margins' to collaborate together and more motivated to keep pressing into my communities, inside and outside of Beirut and inside and outside of art-making circles. Sensing I now have more tools I can try out along the way gives me hope that my future efforts have a chance at success and will at least build on principles that like-minded practitioners have discovered before me. Thank you everyone from Odin Teatret for sharing your work and wisdom with us! And thank you Al Madina and everyone else in Lebanon for hosting us and working to make the livestream as successful as it was.

Abigail Carroll


Thank you for the amazing opportunity. I have learned so much in three days, and discoverd that there is so much more to learn, I wish we can meet in person one day. Unforgettable experience.

Fatima Meroueh

This experience has given me the motivation to reconnect with myself artistically. I am grateful beyond expression, for I mark this experience as transformative — truly monumental. I hope one day I get to meet Eugenio Barba and everyone at Odin Teatret, and thank them in person for sharing their inspiring expertise. Today, I am a revived artist, thanks to all of you.

Mhammad Swed



تشرفت بحضور هذه الورش المُكثفة على مدى ثلاثة أيام متواصلة في مسرح المدينة. وسررنا بهذا التواصل ولو عن بُعد مع تجربة مسرحية عظيمة مستمرة منذ ما يقرب العقود الستة في الدنمارك. شرفنا مسرح أودن بكل معلماته ومعلميه المخضرمين بصفوف تدريب مليئة بالمعلومات القيّمة والمهمة. أنا كسينمائي لبناني مننذ أكثر من عشر سنوات تأثرت كثيرًا بالأفكار الجديدة العميقة فلسفيًا وفنيًا وإنسانيًا من أم الفنون المسرح والذي قدمه لنا أودن بشخص مؤسسه العظيم والشغوف أوجينو باربا المتواضع والمبدع والذي شرفنا بتوجيهاته الكثيرة والمؤثرة. لا أخفي عليكم أنه ما قبل هذه الورش ليس كما بعدها لإدراك معاني ومفردات جديدة في التمثيل وتشكيل وتصدير الممثل جسديًا ونفسيًا. والشكر موصول أيضًا للسادة في إدارة مسرح المدينة بشخص السيدتين العظيمتين نضال الأشقر ومنى كنيعو وكل فريق العمل.
I had the honor to attend these intensive workshops for three consecutive days at Al Madina Theatre. We were pleased with this communication, even remotely, with a great theatrical experience going on for nearly six decades in Denmark. The Odin Teatret, with all seasoned professional teachers, honored us with training classes full of valuable and important information. As a Lebanese filmmaker for more than ten years, I have been greatly influenced by the new ideas of profound philosophical, artistic and human nature from the mother of arts, I meant theater, which Odin presented to us, represented by a great and passionate founder, Eugenio Barba, humble and creative, who honored us with his many influential guidance. I do not hide that it is not before these workshops, as after it, to realize new meanings and vocabulary in acting, shaping, and exporting the actor, physically and psychologically. Thanks also go to the masters in the management of the Madina Theatre represented by two great women, Nidal Al-Ashqar, Mona Kniao, and all the staff.

Ali Al Hadi Nazha






Thank you for The Laboratory Spirit! It was truly amazing and inspiring. I learned a really important thing (to me) through this experience which is how many shapes the theater can take and how free can we be in the process especially after stressing myself to stay within the a academic limit and most importantly.. that being different is good. Thank you.

Sharbel Bahry


Ces trois jours de laboratoire ont été précieux car ils ont été une vraie immersion dans des réalités parallèles, m'amenant réellement au théatre alors que nous étions séparés par des écrans et beaucoup de kilomètres.
J'ai beaucoup apprécié la construction des trois jours, comment nous avons été amenés petit à petit à connaître et rencontrer nos interlocuteurs : Eugénio, Roberta, Iben, Julia, Kai, Donald et Tage, les voir au travail ou en démonstration sur des années, entrer dans l'intimité de la construction d'un parcours de vie et d'artiste, travailler dans le corps, l'effet-miroir des jeunes travaillant en face de nous.
Je reste très marquée par les images du Guatemala surtout la fin du film, le montage des dernières images, des paroles d'Eugenio notamment sur le talent ou la crise du theatre, la générosité et la proximité de tous nos interlocuteurs et le dynamisme et le sourire de Dina.
Dans Inside the skeleton of the whale j'ai eu l'impression d'assister `a un live et non à une performance enregistrée car les spectateurs étaient comme nous masqués et que nous revenions au temps présent du theatre, dans le sens d'aujourd'hui...
Je voulais donc vous remercier encore une fois et remercier toute l'équipe du theatre mdaina qui nous a super bien accueillis.
La seule chose qui m'a manqué a été de rencontrer davantage les gens qui ont partagé cette expérience avec moi, au moins leurs noms et parcours.
J'ai discuté avec certains pendant les pauses mais un cercle de connaissances de départ aurait participé `a la dynamique vu que nous avons vécu une expérience collective.
J'espère que cette expérience aura des suites et des échos.

Valérie Cachard



I am sending you this email for several reasons:
1. I would like to share with you one very important lesson that i got: being stubborn. This stubbornness lead to the creation of the theater in the first place, hence creating a huge historical experiment and happening.
2. I would like to thank you for this amazing opportunity, experience, experiment, and laboratory.
3. I would like to thank every individual that put time and effort to allow this event to happen.
4. I would like to thank the Odin Theater for it’s spirit that fills everyone watching with joy.
5. I would like to ask you to repeat such events in Lebanon, either live if the situations allow this to happen, or virtually.
Again thank you so much for this amazing experience and opportunity.

Jana Mghames


I would like to thank you all for this great workshop and hope we can work next time with The Odin Teatret in Lebanon. 

Claudine Rizk


I am deeply thankful for this experience. I am inspired and hopeful again. I tasted passion again.
We would all love to meet you.

Yasmine Badredin



Thank you for this amazing and heart opening experience.
Last night while I was going to sleep, I felt the music inside my whole body, I was listening to beautiful melodies, rhythms and most amazing voices... as if I had temples within and my cells were praying and celebrating. I felt joy, peace and alive.
Following the explosion, and all the events after 17th October 2019 Revolution, I feel the urgent need for theater to remember, discover and hold into my humanity. Those two days brought hope back to my soul and heart.
Thank you beautiful human beings for your generosity, courage, and hard work to reach out for us in our difficult times.
Please come to Lebanon :)

Ahlam Dirani


I just wanted to thank you for this amazing learning experience. The workshop was very beneficial and full of motivation.
We would love if we can get this workshop live because of all the things we can learn from all of you.
I cannot stress enough how this workshop left a huge empreint in me and my artistic life and ideas.
A big thank you also for Al Madina Theatre for hosting this amazing event.

Lynn Bawab





When Julia Varley said “ when i was in political theater and came to Odin Teatret I realized that i know nothing “ and thats what I felt, i felt that i have a huge gap inside me.. all what i wanted is to know more and more I wanted to experience more exercises wanted to see more documentaries.. every one of the Odin Teatret group left a unique mark in us , every one of this family touched us in different ways.. looking forward to meet all of you in person.

Raneem Riman


The work as well as its surrounding content in the current situation is mind feeding, despite the distance and the short amount of time, it really helps in many personal thoughts.
I find it inspiring the way online could reached so many, I believe a better setup could really be reached to make many expensive and abroad workshops accessible to many.
The workshop itself was a great continuation of ideas and knowledge I want to accomplish and gave inspiration to the how of so many questions I still ask myself.
Therefore I thank all, Madina and Odin Teatret for such experience and look forward to deepen it. 

Amar Darwish




In these past three days I felt really special and motivated. I was telling my friends all about the workshop and the many valuable lessons that I am taking from it every day. I felt that I know nothing. I was motivated to learn and go to discover and read more. It was eye opening and mind opening. I am empowered now to take deeper, stronger, firmer steps in my theatrical path behind and in front of the curtains.
Thank you for this opportunity!

Jennifer Nasrallah


It was a wonderful experience. I now have 2 notebooks full of notes thanks to all the beneficial videos of work demonstrations and workshop exercises. A small group has been formed following this workshop where we wanted to practice the tools provided by these videos, and we wanted to ask if there can be access to them for practice purposes? :) 
Thank you for the generous information, I hope it will happen again soon, I would love to be a part of it again and again, 

Jana Bou Matar


I left Al Madina Theater after 3 days full of inspiration, passion and simply hope.

Personally, the passion of Eugenio and his team transcended distance, technology, screen and borders. It reached me raw and fiery. A passion I ended up looking for in others around me and within me. I asked myself, in this modern world of materialism, polarization and uncertainty, how much do we need passionate people and how far can they go changing the world?! The experience of Odin Teatret is a lifelong accomplishment I sincerely wish to live something similar myself.

Professionally, I have to convey that those three days were very exhausting (physically). I had to sneak within breaks to reply to work emails and finalise few things. Yet, I was very rewarding. I signed up for this workshop because I wanted to explore the potential of Odin Teatret techniques in facilitation and consultancy field.

I was not disappointed! I do see lots of potential and I am eager to experiment with what I learned.

Furthermore, since I am specialising in community building and participatory leadership, Eugenio gave me amazing lessons and quotes!

I might reach out to Odin Teatret in the future to see if those lessons and techniques can be further explored in my field.

I thank everyone behind this initiative. You managed in a very difficult time particularly in Beirut to open a safe and magical space. Thank you!

Nohad ElHajj








Dear Al Madina & Odin Teatret,
This is my reflection on the three days with Odin Teatret Seminar:
I found a lot of answers that were inspiring which reduced my knowledge gap in concepts or understanding of theatre. However, I also found lots of questions that I did not ask because I wish to further think, explore and discover alone and in group; with people that share the same passion for art. 

Ram Noureddine





It was a unique opportunity to discover the Odin Teatret in a closer optic and be able to engage in discussions with the contemporary pioneer Mr. Eugenio Barba and the Odin team, learn from their experience and work history.
I would certainly be interested in joining MORE live workshop in Beirut in order to benefit more from the trainings.
Thank you so much and hope to see you soon!

Cosette Dib



Such a special experience full of knowledge and information.
A hope to keep doing what we love and accomplish our dreams. As Eugenio said “there will always be crisis”, so I thought theater will always be the solution.
Looking forward to apply what we learned in my personal training and in creating new projects.
Would love to have the chance to take a live workshop or a residency in Odin Teatret where we can share our culture and passion.
Thank you.

Ghalya SAAB



The Participation in the laboratory spirit was a unique experience. The fact that the Odin Teatret came to Lebanon made it possible for me to discover up close how Eugenio Barbara and his actors work. 

Michel Abdallah


It was beautiful and inspiring to see, how a person can develop from scratch her own methodology which can become a guiding tool and a major doorway to many possibilities manifesting in the body, mind, voice, soul and personal life.
Even though the real experience is irreplaceable, the workshops were a pleasant experiment to be in and to observe. The observer and the observed were one and the same.
Im grateful for the space of learning that was open, and the time Julia, Roberta, Iben, and Barba gave to us.
Thank you Masrah el.Madina for holding the space for us.

Layal Berberi



The 3 day Odin Teatret Experience at Masrah Al Madina was very immersive and interesting, especially given the Covid circumstances. I felt like the exercises were more engaging than the screenings, and that is because looking at a screen all day was draining, so having to move around helped us freshen up. Nonetheless, the members of Odin are brilliant individuals who inspired me in so many ways, and having to communicate with them all was a worthwhile experience. 

Thank you so much for this opportunity.

Hoping to see you again in the future.

Rahaf Jammal


It was beautiful and inspiring to see, how a person can develop from scratch her own methodology which can become a guiding tool and a major doorway to many possibilities manifesting in the body, mind, voice, soul and personal life.
Even though the real experience is irreplaceable, the workshops were a pleasant experiment to be in and to observe. The observer and the observed were one and the same.
Im grateful for the space of learning that was open, and the time Julia, Roberta, Iben, and Barba gave to us.
Thank you Masrah el.Madina for holding the space for us.

Layal Berberi