The Audiovisual Archives


In the first years of its activity Odin Teatret, like Grotowski’s Teatr Laboratorium, regarded filming with a certain distrust as a tool incapable of depicting the specificity of the theatre craft. To allow a camera into the working room was extraneous to the logic of the group. Nevertheless, there exist filmed records of the work since Odin’s first performance, Ornitofilene.
Starting from 1970-71, this distrustful attitude changed mainly due to an offer by Mario Raimondo, director of the Experimental Department of RAI, Italian Radio Television, to support films about the actor’s training. Thus Torgeir Wethal, actor-founder of the group, became responsible for Odin Teatret Film, the branch of the Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium which started making various films about theatre as well as acquiring similar films.
Torgeir Wethal had kept everything he ever shot, both in edited and unedited form. The same applies to films and videos made by others. Torgeir Wethal was also in charge of the theatre’s videoteque, built up over decades and documenting performances and training from other theatre genres, particularly Asian, as well as experiences of an anthropological character.
These materials witness Eugenio Barba’s constant interest for foreign theatre cultures and the wish to use this knowledge for a didactic purpose, first during the Odin seminars, and later at the sessions of ISTA (International School of Theatre Anthropology). In the course of the years, many other videos, films and recorded documents have been added coming from theatres and groups all over the world – another proof of the net of friendships and professional relationships that Odin Teatret developed during its existence.