29. March 2019

Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium - Odin Teatret seeks a new director

Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium seeks a new director to start on 1 January 2021. The theatre is a regional theatre in Holstebro where it has been located since 1964 as a theatre commune under the direction of Eugenio Barba.

The new director must contribute to developing a future artistic and organisational model for the regional theatre, prioritising a suitable balance between tradition and change. The theatre has been run with an international vision, strong local roots as well as an experimental and outreaching work form.

See further here: https://www.holstebro.dk/job and below.

Deadline for applications: 3 June 2019

Interviews: August 2019


Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium - Odin Teatret is looking for a new director to start on 1 January 2021.

Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium seeks a director to carry on the theatre as a regional theatre in Holstebro with an international vision and strong roots.

The change of director marks a significant shift for the theatre, and we are looking for a director who will respectfully carry on the tradition of a theatre which reaches far beyond performing arts and works with commitment within theatre pedagogy and the outreach and experimental side. As director you will have the overall responsibility for managing an organisational culture characterised by interdisciplinarity, cultural diversity and the staff’s great commitment to and love for the organisation as it has developed throughout many years.

At the same time, Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium is looking for a director who, with a strong artistic and organisational vision for a regional theatre of the future, is capable of realising this vision together with the theatre staff. This will be done in close collaboration with the theatre’s artistic coordinator Julia Varley, the other theatre staff and the board of directors.

Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium is a large regional theatre with an extensive portfolio of activities in Denmark and internationally. We expect you to contribute to initiating and supporting this and to be able to continue the collaboration with the large network of local and international players in particular.

The theatre is in a sound financial situation, and as director you will be responsible for this in a transition period in which the business model will be changing. You will have direct influence on the transition, and this process makes great demands on your ability to collaborate with various grant authorities, not least Holstebro Municipality. This also means that you will have the overall responsibility for developing and implementing a new communication strategy to make the theatre’s societal value visible locally and nationally in particular.

You may use the following questions as inspiration for your application and possible interview:

  • How do you relate to the practice of Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium - Odin Teatret as a laboratory-based theatre?
  • How do you see the future development of the artistic profile of Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium - Odin Teatret?
  • How do you relate to the relation between local, national and international?
  • Can you come up with one or more examples of theatres or other organisations that inspire you as a leader?

It is a requirement that you take up residence in the municipality of Holstebro, and that you speak Danish or are prepared to learn Danish over of a two-year period.

Pay level based on qualifications.

Deadline for applications 3 June 2019.
Job interviews will be conducted in Holstebro in August 2019. Application and resume to be uploaded via the Holstebro Municipality website: https://www.holstebro.dk/job.

Enclosures to the advert (see below): 

1) The identity of Odin Teatret as a theatre laboratory

2) Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium - Odin Teatret. A brief presentation

3) Overview of the hiring process


For further information, please contact deputy chairperson of the board of directors Louise Ejgod Hansen at draleh@cc.au.dk or +45 2556 6935

Enclosure 1:

Eugenio Barba


In the West, the twentieth century has been the age of theatre pedagogy and research. Never was there such a craving to prepare the actors to original forms of expressions and new goals in society. Oddly enough, the essential legacy of acting pedagogy and ground-breaking artistic achievements handed down by this century does not derive from the numerous theatre schools or the variety and quality of traditional or avantgarde performances. Still today the reference points are the Studios of Stanislavski, Meyerhold, Vakhtangov and Mikhail Chekhov, the Copeau’s Vieux Colombier, Dullin’s Atelier, the projects of Craig, Appia, Fuchs, Osterwa, Piscator’s workshop, Decroux’s school-laboratory, the Living Theatre, Grotowski’s Teatr-laboratorium and the constant interest of Odin Teatret’s actors to transmit their knowledge and find new modalities to apply it beyond the performance.

In these anomalous school-theatres - whose peculiarity was defined by their founders as studio, workshop or laboratory - a new actor identity is forged as well as the tradition of another apprenticeship, another practice and another justification for the theatre craft. What was the secret longing of their pedagogical and artistic efforts? To create an equivalent of the complexity and wholeness of an environment and a tradition.

Unlike the usual theatre schools, the founders of laboratories concentrate on the growth of a small environment. They intuit that almost all traditional learning could disappear, apart from the capacity of organising an environment where learning is not a direct consequence of a study programme, but of an ethos. It is the quality and the commitment of such an environment that their founders implemented, each in his or her own way, always struggling against the trends of their time.

These heterogeneous environments may consist of only a few people. But around this nucleus, the diverse representatives of various fields and specializations congregate in concentric circles: actors, dancers, directors, musicians, playwrights, artists, experts in figurative art, architects, craftsmen, scholars, anthropologists and academics, intellectuals interested in historical and theoretical research into the performance arts, sensitive politicians and civil servants as well as passionate and knowledgeable spectators. Such environments are incubators of new ways of thinking the theatre and intervening with theatre in the surrounding society. They constitute “small traditions” which compensate for their young age with research into a trans- cultural and trans-disciplinary dimension.

This type of approach and practice implies a vision of knowledge not as an array of information, but as an unfolding process of knowing. Learning is not thought of as the appropriation of established competences, but as a continual research of applying one’s own knowhow, not only in the field of theatre but also in other social/cultural contexts. The pedagogical and artistic paradigm is replaced by that of the scientific laboratory as an organic environment.

In the changing conditions of theatre and of the socio-cultural system that surrounds it, a laboratory tries to face the fundamental problem of uninterrupted learning: i.e. research. This cannot be based solely on articulated knowledge, formulated and organised in artistic or didactic programmes, but must also shape and nourish the submerged knowledge which is metabolised by each individual - everything he knows, without knowing that he knows it. The laboratory environment involves the individual as a human being and not merely as a professional. This ambition - or illusion

  • to change the human being or to “work on oneself” is one of the ways in which the awareness of the fertility of the submerged and tacit parts of professional knowledge is expressed. It is from this perspective that we must look at a laboratory environment as the consequence of a shared apprenticeship based on specific artisanal values and on physical exercises.

There are environments that are formed through an organic process, and others which are aggregated mechanically. An environment is aggregated mechanically when a company signs up its actors for one production at a time, complying with the rules of casting, according to the procedures in the system of today’s theatre production. Many stable companies have an environment that has been aggregated mechanically. Here the different members (actors, technicians, directors, dramaturgs) remain together for long periods, but as a corporate organization based on the rigid division of work and functions.

To define an environment as aggregated mechanically does not imply a negative judgement. It simply means that this work environment is organized with a view to a result, and that its profile and internal dynamic must depend on the objectives it hopes to achieve. It may nurture profound personal motivations and human relationships, but this is a wish, not an automatic consequence. When the aim is the standard of quality of the product, it is essential to recruit a good team of experts, provide them with good tools and well-thought-out plans, and then to proceed in such a way that their relationships may function more or less harmoniously. In such cases the professional experience of the individual people in the team is a necessary condition, but their continual growth through exposure to challenging situations cannot be the objective.

Other examples of mechanically aggregated environments are those schools that follow the formal structure and the way of thinking of regulations (specialized teachers for the different subjects, pre-established courses, exams, diplomas). Such organization is a necessary condition in order to guarantee the same opportunities to every single pupil. Any school that offers equal education for all must be impersonal. It may involve commitment in relationships but must exclude personal ties between teachers and pupils.

The learning process is often conceived as a continuous progression from incompetence to competence. In fact, learning implies two stages connected by a period of transition. The first stage involves the acquisition of a common basic knowledge. The pupil can absorb a patrimony of impersonal knowhow, in so much as it is considered useful to everybody. The second stage is a non-scholastic one in which the totality of the acquired knowledge is adapted and absorbed in depth. Technique, as a conscious factor or a problem, disappears when the young artist masters it to such an extent that s/he can concentrate on the essential question: what to do with this technique, what is its goal, and what meaning to give it.

In a laboratory the characteristics of learning, the way of thinking and the internal operative dynamics have radical consequences. Theatre no longer coincides  with the performance, and the times of research and preparation do not respect pre- established programmes. The actors have absorbed a particular mentality and approach to their knowledge. They are capable of an artistic autonomy which makes them teachers/directors of themselves and others; they are expert builders of relationships in the varied mosaic of subcultures in their community; they imagine and lead cultural and social projects that diverge from the field of performing arts and their recognizable criteria; they enliven a habitat of diversity that is a catalyst for innovative interactions and collaborations with local and international bodies.

A laboratory sharpens the actor’s creative individualism and ability to dare in constant dialectic tension with the collective discipline of the work environment. Perspectives and ways of acting originate in an ethos - a shared set of embodied knowledge and values which is manifest through a particular scenic behaviour, but also through a professional ethic. The actor’s daily reality is a transformative process: work on oneself as an individual, an ongoing deepening of its artistic individuality as an actor, and a cultural commitment “interfering” in the community.

This is, in short, the identity, or laboratory spirit, of Odin Teatret as an example of individualistic/collective creativity, scientific/pragmatic research, and organic environment.

Enclosure 2:

Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium - Odin Teatret. A brief presentation

Throughout several years the theatre management and board of directors have worked towards the generational change which is decisive for the ability of the Nordic Theatre Laboratory - Odin Teatret to continue its activities and carry on the qualities associated with the cultural activities of the theatre. It is important that the transition is as harmonious as possible and that it is made as gently as possible, as the theatre is facing a fundamental change. There are great qualities to be found in Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium - Odin Teatret artistically as well as when it comes to organisation and values; and these values are sought to be carried on in an organisation which will be significantly different no matter what, when the founder and long-time leader leaves his position.

The regional theatre Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium - Odin Teatret is a whole consisting of two parts: Odin Teatret, which is a theatre ensemble under the direction of Eugenio Barba, and Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium, which consists of a large number of other artistic and cultural activities carried out by artists from the Odin Teatret ensemble as well as other affiliated NTL artists.

Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium - Odin Teatret has been located in the municipality of Holstebro under the direction of Eugenio Barba since 1964. The core has always been the Odin Teatret ensemble which has produced performances under the direction of Eugenio Barba as well as worked with theatre pedagogy in Denmark and internationally. Eugenio Barba and the ensemble are still active and will continue to be so during a transition period under the new director. This to some extent enables the new director to build on the extensive network of collaborators built up by Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium - Odin Teatret. Most of the ensemble actors are working part-time at present due to their age, and the ensemble is expected to discontinue their joint activities.

Throughout the last ten years the activities under Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium have been given greater priority on the premise that this work aims into the future. Systematic efforts have been made to affiliate different groups and artists to the theatre through residencies, which have all been based on the premise that they are to work locally based on their own artistic starting point. As became clear during the first NTL festival in January, the group of NTL artists forms a broad network of artists who build on the laboratory approach to performing arts and who produce a diversity of performances and artistic interventions.
The Nordic Theatre Laboratory/Odin Teatret has always worked internationally and has done so in recent years through EU projects such as Caravan Artist on the Road and Caravan Next – Feed the Future. The EU projects are a new way for the theatre to bring its activities closely together with research and thus to carry on and expand its many collaborations with Danish and international universities. Through the EU projects and a number of interventions and activities such as Menlo Park and the Landsbylaboratoriet, the theatre has been able to place performing arts in a broader cultural context in a way that matches current agendas such as audience development, outreach, rural development and urban development. By and large, the theatre is highly aware of and experienced with the potential of art in respect of creating cultural and social impacts.

Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium - Odin Teatret has a great local exposure and is a cultural dynamo – not least due to the Holstebro Festuge festive week which is held every third year in collaboration with a large number of players. The next festival week is to be held in 2020, and then again in 2023.

An overview of the financial situation, activities, etc., can be found in the theatre’s year-end reports and on its website.
The two regional theatre evaluations conducted by Lene Bak in 2014 and Rasmus Adrian in the spring of 2019 provide a supplemental insight into the activities of the theatre, the transitions caused by the change of director as well as strengths and weaknesses of the regional theatre and its current practice.

Enclosure 3:

Hiring process

3 June 2019: Deadline for applications

June 2019: The Board of Directors decides on who to invite to an interview. The selected candidates will be contacted, and the final time for interviews will be scheduled.

August 2019: Interviews between selected candidates and the appointments committee consisting of chairman of the board of directors Søren Kjems, deputy chairman Louise Ejgod, board member Lene Dybdahl and staff representative Ulrik Skeel.

The interviews will take place in Holstebro in one or two rounds. It will be possible to conduct one of the interviews over Skype. The appointments committee may decide on conducting a personality test in connection with the interviews.

September 2019: Final decision on appointment made by the board of directors. Contract and pay negotiation.
Publication of the new director of Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium.
1 January 2021: The new director starts.

In the autumn of 2019, negotiations will be conducted with Holstebro Municipality about a new regional theatre agreement for the 2021-2024 period. The board of directors wants the new director to take part in the negotiation process to ensure a good framework for the theatre under a new management.