International School of Theatre Anthropology

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The International School of Theatre Anthropology (ISTA) is an international and multi-cultural network of performers, directors, scholars and academics of the theatre. Based in the Odin Teatret, Denmark, the organization has the nature of an itinerant university whose central field of study and research is theatre anthropology - the multi cultural study of the acting techics.


Founded in 1979 by Eugenio Barba, the ISTA has functioned as a laboratory of theatre in the spirit of Grotowski theater, though broader and more inclusive. ISTA researches the technical aspect of the performer's art (by empirical methods) to further our understanding of the fundamental principles which engender the performers' very particular being and energy. Talked of as her "presence" or "scenic life", this way of being is paradoxical. The 'daily' organic being, is transmuted through often rigorous execution of techniques (Techniques sharing a number of common features across a multitude of traditions) to come alive and new in the moment of performance once again, but at a higher level of energy.

The study of the common features of theatrical tradition in different cultures can facilitate the performance of the actor or actress.


Observing the acting technics around the world Barba observed that the 'extra-daily' life of the performers are the result of alterations in the performers' balance, producing the appearance of a separate, unconscious autonomy.


The director of ISTA is Eugenio Barba. Each session of the school focuses on a different aspect or theme, which is investigated by means of workshops and classes. Lectures and demonstrations are also used, as are theatrical performances. Before these sessions begin the attendees are selected (from various fields) and include choreographers, performers, directors, scholars and critics who have shown an interest, by application, to attend, participate, or simply observe. The ISTA is essentially a network of contacts between interested parties with a permanent core of Euro-Afro-American-Asian professors and performers from many universities. The work of the ISTA continues outside of the sessions in the form of research and continued contact, exchanges and initiatives amongst and between its members. The results of the work and study are collected, interpreted and disseminated by and within the framework of the University of Eurasion Theatre.

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Coordinates: 56°22′47″N 8°36′26″E / 56.379724°N 8.607316°E / 56.379724; 8.607316