Aarhus University and Odin Teatret agreed in the autumn of 2002
to establish the Centre for Theatre
Laboratory Studies (CTLS) with its base
at Odin Teatret in Holstebro.
The Centre for Theatre Laboratory Studies is the result of more
than 30 years' collaboration between Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium
(which is the umbrella organisation for Odin Teatret and all its
activities), and the Department of Dramaturgy
of the Institute for Aesthetic Studies, at Aarhus
The Centre's activities will mainly concentrate on the
- to research the artistic, technical, conceptual and social
contribution of contemporary as well as past theatre
- to establish an archive of all Odin Teatret's activities, as
well as gather and spread knowledge of the history and of the
achievements of theatre as laboratory;
- to promote an exchange, both theoretical and practical, between
the Centre's national and international network;
- to take the initiative for analytical and practical seminars
and conferences on theatre laboratories as a creative professional
and theoretical environment;
- to implement a working milieu to stimulate scholars and artists
who intend to do theoretical and practical research within the
Regular collaboration has
existed between Odin Teatret and the Department of Dramaturgy at
Aarhus University since 1966. At that time the department's
teachers, Tage Hind and Christian Ludvigsen, played a crucial roll
in establishing a connection with Holstebro Town Council, making it
possible for OdinTeatret to move from Norway to
Since then Odin Teatret's actors and Eugenio Barba
have regularly taught at the Department
of Dramaturgy. Several of the Department's teachers are permanent
members of the scientific staff of ISTA,
International School of Theatre Anthropology
- the itinerant research environment that today constitutes
one of the many activities of Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium/Odin
Teatret. In 1988 Aarhus University bestowed an honorary doctorate
on Eugenio Barba.
This mutual professional interest culminated in a 3 week
interdisciplinary project at Aarhus University in March-April 2000.
Odin Teatret's performances, working demonstrations, didactic films
and lectures formed the basis for a course involving teachers and
students of literature, music, dramaturgy and
semiotics at the Institute for Aesthetic Strudies. The
results of this interdisciplinary course,
whose point of departure was Odin Teatret's artistic and
research activities, were collected in the book in
English entitled "Odin 2000" and published by Aarhus University
Today this long and active connection has been formalised
through the Centre for Theatre Laboratory Studies thus extending
the possibilities for using theoretical-practical resources within
The Centre is led by a director, Annelis Kulhmann,
chosen by Aarhus University. The Board of
Directors consists of four members: two chosen
by the Institute for Aesthetic Studies and two by Nordisk
The Centre's research into theatre laboratories that have
stimulated the evolution of twentieth century theatre, will focus
on three different perspectives: the historical, the contemporary
and the future.
• The Historical Perspective.
The historical or retrospective element in the Centre's activities
will be based on the extensive archives at Odin Teatret, such as
magazines, books, videos, films, tapes, programmes, photos,
posters, etc. These include material and documentation from ISTA's
international sessions, the Eurasian Theatre University and Odin
Teatret's performances, international seminars held in Holstebro
and other activities both local and international.
This archive will be organised according to the relevant new
technology to make it as simple and user-friendly as possible. A
collaboration has been established with these theatre laboratory
archives: The Centre of Studies for Jerzy Grotowski's Work
(Poland), Centre for Performance Research (Great Britain),
Teatro Potlach (Italy) and Centro Internacional de Investigación de
A website is under construction to disseminate
information about the archives and to attract the attention
of international researchers giving them the possibility to study
• The Contemporary
Perspective. This perspective deepens the already
well-developed ties between Odin Teatret and the Department of
Dramaturgy. As it expands, it will increase interaction with
pedagogy and other research areas.
It takes the form of a continuous exchange of teaching staff,
where the respective institution's personnel can stay at each
other's institutions in connection with their own research
projects. Odin Teatret's staff can contribute to the tuition at the
Department, while on the other hand the Department's staff and
students can take advantage of Odin Teatret's facilities and
activities as a part of their education. Odin Teatret will
regularly present its performances at the Kasernescenen in Aarhus,
which is administrated by the Institute for Aesthetic
The Centre gives the staff of the Department of Dramaturgy
the possibility to participate in Odin Teatret's artistic
activities and research through shared research projects,
conferences and symposia of a national and international character.
This collaboration aims to include other centres and
Various international symposiums have taken place since 2004 in
Holstebro, Aarhus and Copenhagen. The titles were:
"Why a Theatre Laboratory?" (2004), "The Theatre that Dances"
(2004), "The Present Moment" (2006 and 2007),. "Serendipity"
(2007), "Theatre Space" (2008).
Furthermore, the Centre gives the possibility for
international research activities both for Ph.D. scholarship
holders as well as on a Masters level.
Perspective.The two above mentioned perspectives
are based on Odin Teatret's present activities. In the future, it
is obvious that Odin Teatret will not be able to continue the same
activities, which depend on the present staff. The Centre,
therefore, exists as a potential for future artists and
researchers, who, with specialised interests and artistic vigour
will inject new life into the theatre laboratory tradition through
their personal needs and the circumstances of their time.
In other words, the Centre constitutes a space which is a legacy
for anomalous practice and research. It can generate unpredictable
contacts between theatre people and scholars across traditions and
nationalities confronting scientific practice and artistic theory
with constantly new methods and keeping alive the inheritance and
tradition of theatre as laboratory.