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Odin Teatret was created in Oslo, Norway, in 1964, and moved to Holstebro (Denmark) in 1966, changing its name to Nordic Theatre Laboratory/Odin Teatret. Today, its members come from a dozen countries and three continents. The Laboratory’s activities include:
- Odin’s own productions presented on site and on tour in Denmark and abroad;
- “barters” with various milieus in Holstebro and elsewhere;
- organisation of encounters for theatre groups; hosting other theatre groups and ensembles;
- teaching activity in Denmark and abroad;
- the annual Odin Week Festival;
- publication of magazines and books;
- production of didactic films and videos;
- research into theatre anthropology during the sessions of ISTA (the International School of Theatre Anthropology); periodic performances with the multicultural Theatrum Mundi Ensemble;
- collaboration with the CTLS, Centre for Theatre Laboratory Studies of the University of Århus;
- the Festuge (Festive Week) in Holstebro;
- the triennial festival Transit devoted to women in theatre;
- OTA, the living archives of Odin Teatret’s memory;
- WIN, Workout for Intercultural Navigators;
- artists in residence;
- children’s performances, exhibitions, concerts, round tables, cultural initiatives and community work in Holstebro and the surrounding region.
Odin Teatret’s 47 years as a laboratory have resulted in the growth of a professional and scholarly milieu characterised by cross-disciplinary endeavours and international collaboration. One field of research is ISTA (International School of Theatre Anthropology) which since 1979 has become a performers’ village where actors and dancers meet with scholars to compare and scrutinise the technical foundations of their scenic presence. Another field of action is the Theatrum Mundi Ensemble which, since the early 1980s, presents performances with a permanent core of artists from many professional traditions.
Odin Teatret has so far created 74 performances, performed in 63 countries and different social contexts. In the course of these experiences, a specific Odin culture has grown, founded on cultural diversity and the practice of “barter”: Odin actors present themselves through their work to a particular milieu which, in return, replies with songs, music and dances from its own local culture. The barter is an exchange of cultural manifestations and offers not only an insight into the other’s forms of expression, but is equally a social interaction which defies prejudices, linguistic difficulties and differences in thinking, judging and behaving.
THE JASONITES is an international theatre group with Giuseppe L. Bonifati and Isadora Pei from Italy, Marcelo Miguel from Brazil/Germany, and Alberto Martinez Guinaldo from Spain/Belgium. In 2008 a group of performers from 23 different countries met at Odin Teatret to take part in the performance The Marriage of Medea directed by Eugenio Barba. The performance was the celebration of the wedding between Jason and the foreign Medea, separated by geographical and cultural differences. Jason’s family was interpreted by a multi-ethnical group of artists, some of which continued the training experience started in Denmark taking the message of celebration and feast to other cities, with actions of exchange and barter, with the aim of sharing theatre as intellectual stimulus and cultural promotion.
The Jasonites have realised intercultural theatre projects in Turin (Italy), San José (Costa Rica), Freiburg (Germany); participated in Odin Teatret’s project Teater som interferens conducting workshops and performances in schools, day-care centres and hospitals, and in the performance Ur-Hamlet directed by Eugenio Barba; and produced Passeportout (directed by Giuseppe L. Bonifati) and Shakespills (directed by Julia Varley with Eugenio Barba’s supervision). Since 2011 The Jasonites are artists in residence at Odin Teatret for about six months a year.