Since 2008, the Odin Teatret Archives (OTA) has become one of the many activities undertaken by The Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium. The task of OTA is to outline the living memory of Odin Teatret by collating, organising and then producing the documentation, alongside posing questions and tracing routes for cognitive exploration. The work of OTA focuses on the different forms of memory; identifying and investigating their nature and interrelations:

- Archival memory, static: conservation, inventory and catalogue of papers, photographic and audio-visual
documents;

- Private memory, subjective, mobile, “in first person”: production of “oral sources” - statements or “life stories” by the protagonists of Odin Teatret’s history and some members of its audience;

 - Social memory, i.e. Odin Teatret’s group memory, the various directions of its collective research, its features as an autonomous micro-tradition: production of monographic chapters and multimedia close-ups.

- Historical memory: at the opposite end of the spectrum to “archival memory”. For this purpose the work of the archives is focussed on the contextualisation of documents through information or chronologies, as well illustrating and exploring possible points of reference for the research into cultural history, politics and sociology;

- Technical-artistic memory, the memory specific to the theatre culture, not only the micro-tradition of Odin Teatret. Throughout the years Eugenio Barba and the Odin actors have engaged in a complex comparative research on the “principles” of the actor’s craft, specifically through ISTA, the International School of Theatre Anthropology. The OTA evaluate and preserve these documents produced from the research.

The Odin Teatret Archives were not only conceived to accurately conserve the traces left behind by Odin Teatret but, in addition, to trigger its future life. Their task is not limited to safeguarding the remains of an important theatre activity spanning across more than half a century. But, to also function as a way in which one can secure the conditions to sustain a multiple, mutating and non-univocal memory. This can encompass a whole network of relationships, not solely limited to the life of one single theatre.

WHY OTA IS A “LIVING” ARCHIVE:

OTA, developed in 2008, is an autonomous organism within the Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium, run at first by a team of experts in archival, historical and theatrical sciences. This team of collaborators come from a wide variety of different countries and included both young scholars and established experts within the field of artistic and theatre studies.

The collaborators and experts gathered in meetings to discuss the multi-faceted character of theatre memory, its metamorphosis – its life, its underground permanence, and the different ways to transmit this for the future. Through this research, theatre memory reveals itself as a privileged field for the study of taste and emotions as well as the cultural and political unrest of an era. Thus, theatre is perceived not simply as an activity that produces performances but, also as a space for relationships where ideas can be disseminated.

Odin Teatret Archives are the historical archives of Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium - Odin Teatret and of International School of Theatre Anthropology (ISTA). The mission of the Archives is to preserve material about Odin Teatret’s history and Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium’s activities as well as to support and disseminate pure and applied research in the fields of Theatre Laboratory, acting theories and Third Theatre. The Archives attract visitors, students and scholars from all over the world because they store 55 years history of a group that has changed the way of thinking about theatre. Anthropological, historical and sociological studies increasingly consider theatre as a possible access to areas of research on the human that are difficult to disclose. Some fragments of archive material are available and can be downloaded on the website odinteatretarchives.com

The catalogues are an essential guide to consult the documents, photographs and audio-visual material available at the Archives. The Archives’ inventories 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 TEAM

From 2008 until 2015 the work at OTA was managed by an international team of scholars, directors, actors, filmmakers and IT specialists who worked in rotation. Alongside collecting and classifying the material, they conceived new research projects in connection with the archives. The team was composed by: Mirella Schino, University Professor general coordinator; Francesca Romana Rietti, Ph.D., responsible for the archives and the library; Valentina Tibaldi, M.A., OTA site manager, project manager, responsible for the photographic archives; Claudio Coloberti, M.A., responsible for Odin Teatret Film; Lluís Masgrau, Ph.D., editor of Eugenio Barba’s bibliography, Chiara Crupi, Ph.D. film maker, editor, video designer (Odin Teatret Film) and Sabrina Martello, responsible for the daily activity of the archive. OTA also benefitted from the work of a regular group of collaborators: Kasia Chojecka, M.A., Paula Isiegas, M.A., Miguel Jerez López, M.A, Pierangelo Pompa, M.A., Lucia Repašská, M.A., and Gabriella Sacco, M.A., Ana Woolf, M.A.

In 2013, OTA made an agreement with the Royal Library of Copenhagen to deposit original documents and digitised copies in order to guarantee protection and public access to the archives also in a future where Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium in Holstebro might not exist. In 2015 the first delivery comprehending the first 50 years was effectuated, and the next consignment is expected for 2023.

The digitalised and organised documentation from 2008 until 2015 goes now under the name of OTA 1 and includes the first 50 years of Odin Teatret’s history, 1964-2014. The preservation and organisation work which continues since 2015 goes under the name of OTA 2. The team now working at OTA 2 is composed by: Simone Dragone, M.A. in Theatre Studies, responsible for the archives, the library and for the daily activity of the archive; Francesca Romana Rietti, Ph.D., general advisor and responsible for the update of Eugenio Barba’s bibliography edited by Lluís Masgrau, Ph.D.; Rina Skeel, responsible for the photographic archives; Claudio Coloberti, M.A., responsible for Odin Teatret Film; Lise Marie Guld, responsible for classifying and archiving magazines; Selene D’Agostino, M.A. responsible for Julia Varley’s Fond and bibliography.

OTA 2 continues the work of archiving, memory, documentation and film production of Odin Teatret and Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium activities, as well as receiving and assisting scholars and students who wish to consult the archives. OTA 2 takes care of the diffusion and sale of books and films produced by Eugenio Barba and Odin Teatret’s actors. Research and networking, with activity in collaboration with Århus University and Ålborg University have resulted in funding applications to the Danish Færch Fonden and EU research programmes for the development of the Living Archive. The archives are visited by many scholars and students interested on subjects connected to the various fields of practice of Odin Teatret - from pedagogy to dramaturgy, from theatre anthropology to reciprocity or community theatre. Many people write to ask for material and information and are assisted by OTA’s staff.

 

 

THE LIBRARY

The Archives also manage an internal library for theatre studies that comprises about one thousand volumes in more than twenty languages. The Library, as the Archives, can be consulted by the community in Holstebro or by any person interested in theatre studies and culture.

The Library started from a series of donations: Eugenio Barba’s collection, Halfdan Rasmussen’s collection, Tage Hind’s collection, Ove Sprogøe’s collection and Torgeir Wethal’s collection. The cultural worth of the donors gives the library an additional importance as documentary source. Moreover, the Library receives about one hundred magazines that represent the major theatre publications from all over the world.