The (Ir)replaceable Master Director – Considering the Case of the Odin Teatret

Daria S. Nielsen,

Kim Skjoldager-Nielsen


In 2019, a call for a new director for Nordisk Teaterlaboratorium – Odin Teatret was published. This, however, did not mean that the artistic leader of the group theatre Odin Teatret, Eugenio Barba, was to be replaced completely – there is a distinction between the laboratory and the theatre. In this article, we explore the problem of the passing on legacy and tradition from one generation to another in group theatres such as Odin Teatret. We ask: (1) How would it have been possible to continue after such a visionary director retired? (2) Would the next step be continuation or something new? In search for the answers we discuss the history, method, and dramaturgy of Odin Teatret and Barba, as well as the process of generational change in the laboratory, using documents which assess the situation of the organization and analyzing Barba’s theoretical writings. We consider them in terms of transformational leadership theory. In conclusion, we deliberate on possible scenarios of the generational change in group theatres that could provide a balance between keeping the tradition and implementing the new vision. 

Słowa kluczowe: Eugenio Barba, Odin Teatret, transformational leadership, generational change, change of director, przywództwo transformacyjne, zmiana pokoleniowa, zmiana dyrektora

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