Eugenio Barba


Eugenio Barba, photo Maciej Zakrzewski

photo Maciej Zakrzewski

Eugenio Barba (born 1936, Italy) created a Scandinavian laboratory theatre called Odin Teatret/Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium (1964), which still works in Holstebro (Denmark); and he founded the International School of Theatre Anthropology (ISTA) in 1979. In 1954, Barba emigrated to Norway, where he worked as a welder and sailor. He came to Poland in 1961 after receiving a UNESCO scholarship to study at the state theatre school PWST in Warsaw. Between 1962 and 1964, he worked with the Laboratory Theatre, assisting Grotowski during his work on Akropolis after Stanislaw Wyspiański and The Tragical History of Dr Faustus after Christopher Marlowe. Based on these experiences, he wrote his first book dedicated to Jerzy Grotowski’s theatre – Alla ricerca del teatro perduto (In Search of a Lost Theatre, Padua, 1965).

Barba has directed 65 performances with Odin Teatret (and with the Theatrum Mundi Ensemble), some of which are: My Father’s House (1972), Come! And the Day Will Be Ours (1976), Brecht’s Ashes (1980), The Gospel According to Oxyrhincus (1985), Talabot (1988), Kaosmos (1993), Mythos (1998), Andersen’s Dream (2005), Ur-Hamlet (2006), The Chronic Life (2011). Odin presented these performances in Poland in Lublin, Szczecin, Toruń, Warsaw and Wrocław (at the invitation of the Grotowski Centre and, later, the Grotowski Institute). Barba has received 10 honorary doctorates for his artistic and scientific work from various universities, including: Århus, Ayacucho, Bologna, Havana, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong and Warsaw. He is on the editorial boards of journals such as TDR: The Drama Review, The Journal of Performance Studies, New Theatre Quarterly, Performance Research, and Teatro e Storia, and is a co-founder and co-editor of Icarus Publishing Enterprise. He has published many books, including Land of Ashes and Diamonds: My Apprenticeship in Poland. 26 Letters from Jerzy Grotowski to Eugenio Barba; Theatre: Solitude, Craft, Revolt, in collaboration with Nicola Savarese The Secret Art of the Performer: A Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology; The Paper Canoe: A Guide to Theatre Anthropology and On Directing and Dramaturgy: Burning the House.