The eighth Franco Quadri Prize is awarded to Eugenio Barba, an eighty-seven-year-old master of theoretical reflection, practical creation, transmission of memory and study of the actor from different ethnic groups, within a “tradition of the impossible”.
2024 will mark sixty years since the birth of his Odin Teatret, inspired by Grotowski, world travels and the implementing of “barter”. Today the Fondazione Barba Varley exists, built on revolutionary facts: Odin Teatret was a model of life through theatre, it established itself as a culture, as a “third theatre”, differentiated from the traditional “first”, and from the “second”, avant-garde.
This Award goes to a pioneer who has worked in a corner addressing other corners; to a man who grew up in the Polish theatre of Opole co-directed by Jerzy Grotowski, then establishing Odin Teatret in Oslo, later transplanted to Holstebro in Denmark. It goes to an artist who started a journey with “excluded” youngsters, making use of physical communication and to his eighty productions and twenty-five books. Writing about him, Franco Quadri sayd «Barba is a person, before being an artist». And Barba reciprocates him in 2014 in the publication “PANTA Quadri”, reprinting three “real” letters from their correspondence: two from Quadri, one from himself. An epistolary that explains the Award.
ANSWER FROM EUGENIO BARBA
Dear friends of the UBU Association for Franco Quadri
Returning from rehearsals for the new Odin Teatret performance entitled Hamlet’s Clouds, I found the announcement of your Award at home. It bears the name of a friend who was almost a brother to me, and it aroused a whirlwind of memories and emotions. How much our long-lasting friendship has meant to me, how much I owe to his advice and to the early recognition of the frail Odin Teatret whose very young actors Franco had the courage to invite to the Ivrea Conference in June 1967 for our first working demonstration abroad.
You know that theatre is a solitary art, but it cannot be done alone. I owe everything I have achieved to a particular environment of people who have been able to resist the wear and tear of time and fashion: actors, collaborators, scholars and critics, and above all the “Odin’s secret people “, our faithful spectators who, generation after generation, have helped us keep the embers of our original motivation alive.
On my behalf, and on behalf of all these people who appreciated the value of the theatre of their time, I offer you my most heartfelt thanks. It is heartwarming to see the name of Franco Quadri still present in our epoch. We hope to see you after the summer at our next Odin Teatret performance.
A big hug to each of you.