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The Kala Chethena Kathakali Company presents


Thu 10 Oct 2024

The renowned Kala Chethena Kathakali Company, from Kerala, South India, is bringing the ancient art of Kathakali back to the UK in the autumn of 2024.

Kathakali is the classical dance drama of Kerala, south India and combines storytelling, dance, drama, ritual, vibrant costumes, and an intricate makeup, featured in the Guinness Book of Records as the most three dimensional make up in the world.

Presented by Kathakali experts, who have undergone years of intense training and have performed internationally for decades, the tour focuses on making Kathakali as accessible and enjoyable to as many people as possible including children, families, and students, both from Asian and non-Asian communities.

The performance offers a rare opportunity to see Kathakali in this country, view the makeup, see the costumes, meet the artists, and ask questions.

A short pre-show demonstration illustrates how a Kathakali actor tells a story through emotions, facial expressions, characters, and gestures. A short film will take the audience back in time when Kathakali first emerged 600 years ago and highlight to story to be seen.

The performance that follows exposes daily life to include love, devotion, families, rejection, arrogance, pride, loss, aggression, global warming, equality, and abuse.

Based in Southampton and Kerala, southern India, the company was founded by Kathakali actor Kalamandalam Vijayakumar and Kathakali make-up specialist Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar. These two Kathakali artists met whilst studying at the world-famous Kerala Kalamandalam. Kalamandalam Vijayakumar a student of acting and Kalamandalam Barbara a student of chutti make-up.  Barbara became the first female chutti [make-up artist] in the world!

The company have toured many times in the UK to welcoming and appreciative audiences who travel miles to see Kathakali.

For information about the performances, plus more about the ancient art of Kathakali, please visit www.kathakali.net.

They perform with amazing grace, intensity and dignity. Intense, hypnotic, and spectacularly beautiful.

The Daily Telegraph

For one night... actor and the audience slipped through the magic of possession into the theatre of the gods

Shiomi Pinto, Extradition Magazine

If it is possible to be simultaneously exhilarated and humbled by art, this was just such an occasion

Hexham Courant, Peter Lewis

It is impossible not to find the colourful, entertaining and fascinating. The dancers' impressive skill, rooted in years of discipline, remind us of the glory of non-European drama

The Stage

About the Kala Chethena Kathakali Company

Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar

Kathakali Chutti artist

Kalamandalam Vijayakumar

Kathakali actor

Kalamandalam Kutty Krishnan, Sadanam Mohn & Sadanam Suresh

Kathakali actors