The Photographic Archives


Odin Teatret’s activity concerning its performances and training is documented in photos since the year of its foundation in Oslo in 1964. From the very beginning, the actor Torgeir Wethal, one of the founders, (helped after 1990 by Rina Skeel) was responsable for the choice of the photos of a new performance, a new series of training exercises or seminars and any other event taking place at the theatre. The choice of the photos has been conditioned not only by aesthetical motivations. Odin Teatret seems always to be aware of which aspects to cover in the photographic testimony, which ones to underline and which to leave more in the shade. Also the choice of the photographers was not accidental. Some of Odin’s preferred photographers, like the Danish Roald Pay and the Italian Tony D’Urso, were not only reputed theatre photographers. They also managed to establish a feeling of affiliation and a personal relationship with the Odin people they were photographing. OTA are working towards a complete digitalisation of Odin’s extensive pictorial collection, each photo being equipped with necessary information. The aim is to establish a data base allowing a simpler use of this photographic patrimony. Roald Pay (1928-2000) was a member of the renowned group of photographers Delta and met Odin Teatret just after it moved to Holstebro in 1966. It was the Danish writer Poul Vad, who introduced them. Pay was Odin’s main photographer for about ten years. His images are a crucial testimony of Odin’s first years in Denmark. He captured the first intense phases of training, the performance Kaspariana, the innovative Odin seminars of the 1960s with Grotowski, Barrault, Dario Fo and others. He was also cameraman for the films about the training of Decroux, Grotowski and Odin Teatret as well as the two films shot in Peru, On the Two Banks of the River and Ascent to the Sea, all directed by Torgeir Wethal. At his death, he bequeathed to Odin Teatret all negatives about its activity. Tony D’Urso (1947-2009) was born in the southern Italian region of Apulia and moved to Milan where he began to photograph mainly political situations - demonstrations, strikes, occupations of factories, etc. This experience probably determined his particular way of recording theatre performances as if they were demonstrations: not only frontally, but from various angles, e.g. from above. He was the photographer for the years of Odin’s first street performances, “barters” and other open air activities in regions with no theatre: in rural areas in southern Italy, during lengthy stays in South America, in Amazonia with a Yanomami tribe. He was cameraman for the film Dressed in White directed by Torgeir Wethal in Carpignano in 1974. He has published a 400-page book, Voyages with Odin Teatret, depicting his collaboration with the Odin from 1972 until his death.