‘As an actress I sit, speak, run, sweat and, simultaneously, I represent someone who sits, speaks, runs and sweats. As an actress, I am both myself and the character I am playing. I exist in the concreteness of the performance and, at the same time, I need to be alive in the minds and senses of the spectators. How can I speak of this double reality?’ – Julia Varley

This is a book about the experience of being an actress from a professional and female perspective. Julia Varley has been a member of Odin Teatret for over thirty years, and Notes from an Odin Actress is a personal account of her work with Eugenio Barba and this world-renowned theatre company.

This is a unique window onto the in-depth exercises and day-to-day processes of an Odin member. It is a journal to enlighten anyone interested in the performances, the discoveries and the hard physical work that accompany a life in theatre.

chapter |6 pages


chapter 1|13 pages

First steps

chapter 2|23 pages

The dramaturgy of the actress

chapter 3|13 pages


chapter 4|22 pages

Improvisation and composition

chapter 5|8 pages

Score and subscore

chapter 6|10 pages

Text and subtext

chapter 7|34 pages

The character

chapter 8|23 pages

The director

chapter 9|6 pages

The performance

chapter 10|30 pages

Faces, words, landscapes