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Chapter 14 The Enchanted City, Holstebro Festive Week, an experiential and social cultural space

DOI: 10.23912/978-1-910158-15-9-2651

ISBN: 978-1-910158-15-9

Published: January 2015

Component type: chapter

Published in: Focus On Festivals

Parent DOI: 10.23912/978-1-910158-15-9-2599



In 1989 Odin Teatret established the Holstebro Festive Week (Denmark), and did so by involving the entire city and its inhabitants. The Festive Week promptly became an on-going event, which takes place every three years in June. What characterises the Holstebro Festive Week in particular? And how has this event influenced the city and its citizens in the longer run? In other words, how can an event like the Festive Week contribute to enriching a city for more than just a week? When I interviewed the Mayor about the Festival and the theatre’s role in the event, he said: “What the theatre brings us is popular and I think it is crucial that we get common experiences in which we can mirror ourselves – in the selfish society we are currently living in. In Holstebro we have become dependent on Odin Teatret, which makes us take part and which has become a common denominator for the entire city. It is a gift that we have Odin Theatret” (interview with the author, June 2011). 1 It is a rather unusual statement for a mayor to make that a theatre is a gift for a city and that it has become a ‘common denominator’ 2 for the city – and, what is more that the city has become dependent on the theatre. In this chapter I will reveal and explore how Odin Teatret involves the entire city. I will try to give a clear answer as to why the Mayor described the theatre as a ‘common denominator’. In my investigation of the theatre’s approach to the Festive Week I use my personal experience and knowledge from my time as assistant manager at the theatre (1987-88). Most of my research has been carried out in the form of field studies conducted during the Festival Weeks in 2008 and 2011. During both festivals I spent one week in Holstebro and the surrounding villages watching and observing how the local audience responded to the activities. In addition I carried out a series of semi-structured interviews with representatives from Holstebro: the head of police, the Deputy Mayor, the director of a travel agency, a librarian, a policeman, the Chairman of the Cultural Affairs Committee of the City Council, the head of city planning, the project leader from the Odin Theatre and a senior lecturer living in Holstebro and working at Aarhus University and finally the Mayor.

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  • Kathrine Winkelhorn (Author)

For the source title:

  • Chris Newbold, De Montfort University (Editor)
  • Christopher Maughan, Freelance writer (Editor)
  • Jennie Jordan, De Montfort University (Editor)
  • Franco Bianchini, Leeds Beckett University (Editor)

Cite as

Winkelhorn, 2015

Winkelhorn, K. (2015) "Chapter 14 The Enchanted City, Holstebro Festive Week, an experiential and social cultural space" In: Newbold, C., Maughan, C., Jordan, J. & Bianchini, F. (ed) . Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/978-1-910158-15-9-2651


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