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Odin Teatret's 40th Anniversary

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. LINK.


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 (Denmark).


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.



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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 .....

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1-3 October 2004

Friday 1


Odin Teatret - Andersen's Dream (at Odin Teatret)

Odin Teatret's latest ensemble production was presented to invited guests



Opening - Times Runs Out - Part I (at Odin Teatret)

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.


Saturday 2


Solvognen - Beautiful Is the Blue Sky (at Odin Teatret)


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 for free.



Departure from Odin Teatret



Open air performance - Homage to Giacometti (in town)

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 (Town Hall)

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 Teatret


(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 Holstebro Church)

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 characters.



Supper at Odin Teatret

Another delicious meal prepared by the Danish chef Jakob Mielcke and his collaborators.


Sunday 3


Odin Teatret - Great Cities under the Moon (at Odin Teatret)

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 clothes!)

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 Teatret)

The Brazilian clown performance which had been presented during the previous month to ALL the children of Holstebro was shown to the guests.



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.



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List of invited guests at Odin Teatret's 40th anniversary


Azerbaidjan Republic: Ferghana Qasimova and musicians

Brazil: Leo Sykes and Udi Grudi, Silvino Clayton and Eridan Moraes, Paulo Dourado, Fernando Jacon, Nitis Jacon

Cuba: Raquel Carrió, Omar Valiño

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 Ursin

Peru: Mario Delgado, Miguel Rubio

Poland: Jaroslav Fret, Leszek Kolankiewicz, Stanislaw Krotowski, Zbigniew Osinski, Grzegorz Ziółkowski

Santo Domingo: Viena González, Claudio Rivera

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



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 popular appeal.

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 Wednesday.

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.





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