Odin Teatret was created in Oslo (Norway), in 1964, and moved to Holstebro (Denmark) in 1966, changing its name to Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium/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 educational 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 Aarhus; 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 50 years as a laboratory have resulted in the growth of a professional and scholarly milieu characterized by cross-disciplinary endeavours and international collaboration. One field of research is ISTA which since 1979 has become a performers’ village where actors and dancers meet with scholars to compare and scrutinize 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 76 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.