Performance Comments

Our performances are presented by world class artists from Kerala and we endeavour to make our audiences to feel welcome and valued. Your comments are very helpful.

These are your comments...

ASnet, London 18th May 2019

Comments from the audience:

A True privilage to watch an art form portrayed by Vijaya and Barbara. In an intimate setting it was inspirational and I always take something away.
To watch Bhagya perform Bharatanatyam was wonderful. I look forward to more. Dee [Ilford]

Too much to take in at once - by next week I might be able to make a coherent comment. At the moment, just a few minutes after immersion in a different cultural experience, I feel numb - but nicely! Max [Ilfod]

I enjoyed it. It was very enjoying, something different to learn. Reheela [Ilford]

Great, interesting, educational. I filmed this and found the dancing inspiring, it gave me an insight into another culture. Cole.

This is not the first time I have seen Kathakali but I find I learn something every time. This performance was especially inspiring and informative as we were a small audience able to ask lots of questions Diane. [Ilford]

Very informative talk and displays - extremely dramatic performance! Fantastic performance. Phil [Ilford]

Not just entertaining but also very educational. A great experience - David. [Ilford]

Very energetic performance! Totally amazing dedication. This is one of the best shows I have seen. Ming. [Ilford]



  • What a wonderful, enlightening performance and display, so worthwhile and appreciated. [Kent] 


  • Enjoyed thoroughly. A refreshing series of performances depicting some of the greatest intricate arts of South India. Thank you V&A!


  • A wonderful initiative. Though my roots are in Kerala this is the first time I`ve had the good fortune of watching a Kathakali performance. Hope you will consider bringing a Kalari Payattu performance to the UK? [London] 


  • Brilliant mix of performance and costumes. Fantastic to see these costumes come to life. Well done! [Harrogate, North Yorkshire] 


  • Enjoyed thoroughly because I know most of the stories. [Ilford]


  • Good show. Incredible performance of Vijayakumar – superb in communicating the feelings of an actor to me. Really great. Kuchipudi was also superb. Great to see other dance forms too. [London] 


  • A brilliant exhibition of live dancing and the history was interesting. [Ilford] 


  • Wonderful day. A great experience - thank you very much. Good to whiteness the traditions kept and taught to younger generations. [London]


  • An incredible experience thoroughly enjoyed myself. Can not put into words the experience of live Kathakali by Kalamandalam Vijayakumar who was outstanding. Thank you for organising this, a request to keep continuing these efforts and for generous funds. Heartfelt thanks. [Workingham] 


  • How good for an audience to have explained to them what the expressions of the actor would show in the story we were going to see. Excellent performance by all of the dancers and everyone back stage who make the performance. [Southampton] 


  • What a wonderful performance [Leicester] 


  • A wonderful display of dancing and theatre. It`s so good to be able to learn about and appreciate other cultures, learning and appreciating promoters of peace and harmony. [Southampton]


  • All of the dancers were great but the girl 3rd from the end of the show was as close to 10/10 as it is possible to get. Thank you all very much. [Stevenage] 


  • Very worthwhile and informative. Great to have this performance at the V&A. [London] 


  • It is such a delight to see Indian classical dance portrayed in its most traditional manner in one of the biggest museums there is! I hope for more programmes. [London] 


  • Had a great time, the expressions, music and dance moves. Hope to see this again every year. [London] 


  • Beautiful costumes and dancers. Amazed to be able to enjoy and learn about it for free. I would love to see more activities like this in the V&A. Thanks for all the hard work. [London] 


  • Absolutely amazing performance and beautiful exhibition of costumes. An inspiration! More please. [London]


  • Fabulous performance of all south Indian classical dances. Best Kathakali performance I have seen so far. Most beautiful Kuchipudi and beautiful Bharatanatyam. [Croydon]


  • Wonderful performance [Croydon]


  • Very interesting.  I didn`t know anything about this dance and this performance. I want to learn about the culture/dance and maybe learn some basic steps. [London]


  • Wonderful to see live performance at the V&A. Really hope for more. Kathakali performer and costumes absolutely fabulous. Give it all 100%. Thanks. [London] 


  • Thank you for representing my culture of Kerala in the V&A. It made the museum more great in my eyes. [Croydon]


  • What an incredibly wonderful experience – it means so much more being able to hear the music and connect it with the beautiful colourful costumes – what a wonderful way to bring everything alive at the museum. Thank you so much. It has been a beautiful introduction to the stories and culture of south India. [Portsmouth]


  • Great performance, lucky to see it so close and on a great stage. I would love to see more performances in this theatre. [London] 


  • Brilliant performance and event. Please do whatever it takes to keep traditions all over the world. Many thanks for organising this and good luck with everything. [London] 


  • An amazing experience. Beautiful to watch. [Portsmouth] 


  • Wonderful performance – so skilled and amazingly colourful. Thank you for the opportunity of seeing it. [London] 


  • A wonderful moving performance that reflects the magical culture of Kathakali and the superb skill and devotion of the artists, dancers and all those who brought these performances to the UK audiences. “Brilliant”. [London] 


  • Colourful, complicated, unique, entertaining. [London] 


  • Brilliant show [ London] 


  • Absolutely marvellous, there is so much about the world that we don`t know. Thank you for showing us your absolutely incredible culture. [Portsmouth] 


  • Kalamandalam Barbara – today`s performance was a highlight of 2019! I love Kathakali. Brilliant work. Barbara is a true inspiration. [London] 


  • Mesmerising performers and performance. Thank you for brining this to the V&A. Memorable event. [London]


  • Absolutely outstanding day at the V&A with superb performances. [London]


  • Beautiful mesmerizing performance really enjoyed the way everything was explained and introduced. A lot of amazing knowledge and insight from this great art and spiritual expression. [Sutton, Surrey] 


  • It`s really important to have access to different types of cultural art, as it enriches our view of the world. Amazingly beautiful. [London] 


  • Never, ever have I seen anything like it, Great [South America] 


  • Superb! Wonderful surprise at the V&A. Top marks to all involved. [Oxford] 


  • Amazing performance, loved every movement. Fantastic costumes and make up. [Croydon] 


  • Really had a great time. Lovely costumes, amazing dance. Make me want to dance. [London] 


  • Incredible, very organised, amazing performance! [London] 


  • Really beautiful traditional dancing. High standard and wonderful mew experience for me. I learnt a lot. [London] 


  • This was amazing! Please continue with the great work. [Dartford, Kent]


  • Thoroughly enjoyed the exhilarating wonderful experience! [London] 


  • A fantastic performance and new art form discovered that I didn`t know about at all. Thank you [London] 


  • Wonderful costumes, brilliant performance, lovely exhibition. Very badly publicised by the V&A. There were no posters, no signs for the exhibition and no schedule for the performance. Marketing by the V&A was abysmal!! Why? [Kent]


  • Wonderful and inspirational performance. They brought history, culture, tradition to the stage at the V&A. [London] 


  • Absolutely wonderful, enjoyed it immensely. [London]


  • I`ve learned so much! Beautiful emotional performance. Thank you [Stroud, Gloucestershire] 


  • Fantastic performance it was wonderful to see the dancing which I have never seen before. Vijaya did and epic performance.  [Ilford]


  • Great! Not only a series of amazing group and solo performances, but it was also very well introduced and framed by helpful commentary/ demonstrations. Makes me want to learn more. [London] 


  • Absolutely excellent. Please develop this for bigger audiences it deserves it. [London]


  • A wonderful performance. Truly great. [Essex]


  • Fantastic occasion and performances and display – thank you for brining such world class artists to the V7A. I am honoured to have had the delighted chance to whiteness this moment in the museums history. [London] 
  • Wow Wow wonderful, amazing, love it, a window on Indian culture. [Kent] 


  • Such a great performance, I would love to see more of this – Thanks. [London]



The training provided by Jane Pritchard, Curator of Dance at the Victoria and Albert Museum, in how to document our Kathakali costumes to V&A standards was excellent.



  1. I had no idea that there was so much detail required to document the costumes.
  2.  I understand the responsibility that we have to pass on accurate information to the next generation.
  3. I appreciate why the V&A preserve the costumes acquired for their collection in the condition in which they received them as opposed to restoring/repairing them.
  4. I value that wear and tear is all part of the costumes story/history.
  5. Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar – Kathakali costume specialist.


  1. I knew absolutely nothing about cataloguing of any description whether heritage costumes or anything else.
  2. I have seen the costumes a number of times on stage but I was amazed at how much I learned about the costumes themselves. I knew that every part had some significance but no idea what. I also had no idea just how many layers there were and how hot and heavy it must be to wear them. Must be much worse in a hot country like India. Vijaya’s knowledge is tremendous.
  3. I’m not sure how I can use my experience of the workshop in the future but it will make me more aware, when I am viewing exhibitions, how the information was gained.
  4. Ann Low – member of the public.


What did you learn about cataloguing Kathakali costumes?

It made me realise the various stages and how complicated it is. You have to imagine an alien has landed and has never seen them before or worked with them before. I have learnt how to document and what is expected to enable V&A staff members to be able to dress a model and what all the intricate parts mean, what they are and why. Also, not just to be respectful of the costumes due to their age, but their religious significance and the symbolism. 

What did you know about cataloguing heritage costumes before the workshop?

I didn't know very much. It is much more detailed than I realised!!! I don't think I understood how intricate the Kathakali costumes are. 

What do you think you can use from the workshop in your future work?

I am not sure yet, but it was incredible to be part of this momentous occasion and to see first-hand the start of their spiritual journey. 

Any other comments?

It will be an amazing thing for your company to do; to make sure they are captured correctly for generations to discover and appreciate. 

Your knowledge is unique and I can't believe I touched something that will eventually be behind glass!

Shermaine Slocombe: artists, dancer, manager




“You need some well-earned rest. Thank you for your show and thank you for your passion”. Phil Tattersall-King – Head of Drama.

 “It was such a pleasure to have you and the Kathakali Company here and so great to be sharing the same vision. I also hope that we can work together in future and it would be really great to have a workshop to engage the local residents. Look after the beautiful Kathakali tradition and spirit”. Valerie, Manager of Hangleton Centre

 “Just a note to say how much my wife and I were enchanted by Friday night's performance of Kathakali at The Haymarket Theatre. The understanding and co-ordination between the drummers and the dancers was astonishing. We also much admired the expressive use of the dancers fingers and feet. We would love to watch them perform again. Regards “– Barry – member of the audience

Thank you so much for Tuesday`s performance. It was clearer than ever that the work you and Vijaya have done throughout your adult lives has not just protected the unique art form of Kathakali, but at the same time developed it in a sustainable and authentic way, and contextualized it in the variety of workshops and performances. It will form an extraordinary legacy for you both, preserved physically in the collection of costumes that you leave with the V&A, but more importantly in the minds of a new generation of artists and students beginning to come through. You should be very proud of what you have achieved. Nigel Gann Chair of the Kala Chethena Kathakali Company.

“Just wanted to thank you for bringing such an amazing group of performers to the Atrium theatre. The interplay between musicians and dancers was particularly stunning. It was thrilling and amazing to see Kathakali at this standard on our doorstep.” Dr. Robert Smith Senior Lecturer in Popular Music | Uwch Ddarlithydd mewn Cerddoriaeth Boblogaidd

“Those who attended the Kala Chethena Kathakali performance at the ATRiuM on 11th October were treated to Kathakali at its finest. This internationally renowned group entranced the audience with their amazing make-up, spectacular costumes and precise music and movement. I have seen this company perform on numerous occasions and every time they delight me as they keep an ancient tradition alive, enabling modern western audiences to appreciate its character and complexity”. Dr Lynn Foulston - Course Leader – Religious Studies

Kalamandalam Balasubramainan

“It was a real joy to work with you all.  You all have such knowledge and experience and it was wonderful to watch you work!”

Linzie Whitton – Brighton Dome

 We have been really impressed with the quality of the work and the support giving to the theatre by the company.  The workshop was very well received and the performance itself was excellent.  We are very proud to have the chance to represent a different culture and type of performance on our stage and wish the company all the best in the future. 

We would like to see more support for developing work from different cultures across the globe bought to Powys and Wales.

“What a wonderful performance last night. Thank you so very much for bringing your company to Pontardawe - such a special evening. I know it will be talked about for some time to come.  Angie Dickinson - Area Artistic Manager

Pontardawe Arts Centre

I wanted to drop you a line to thank you very much for your time and all members of Kathakali for a truly lovely experience.  I know the youth participants had a great time and really appreciated the opportunity to experience Kathakali.

 I am truly amazed at your skill of applying the rice paste so precise – you have one steady hand.  You are a very talented lady. J Rachel – Publicity/Marketing

The music workshop and seeing the make-up really helped me to appreciate Kathakali – student

“It was a superb performance, sharp, clear and well delivered”. Geof Keys Director Queens Hall Arts Centre

 “Thank you so much for bringing Kathakali here to our venue.  The feedback was amazing and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it.  We’d love to have you back again”.  Ann Whittaker – venue director

It’s great to work with such a professional company and with artists of the highest calibre.  It was brilliant to see your amazing skills in applying the make-up!  The performance was just wonderful and such a unique opportunity for young people and their teachers to see here in Gateshead….well done to you and all the team!! Vikas – Director of GemArts

Kings School, Gateshead

 World-renowned artists come to town

All Year 5 pupils took part in workshops exploring the skills of a Kathakali actor, which have been passed on through generations for over 500 years. Students explored how a Kathakali actor tells a story, and how culture travels when people migrate taking skills and traditions with them.

Comments  two Year 5 pupils describe the experience:

"Year 5 was lucky enough to be able to experience Kathakali dancers in March. Kathakali is a form of dance or sign language. It originated in Southern India. Year 5 learned that a Kathakali performer would have to train four hours a day for 13 years, which is a total of 18,980 hours. 

Kathakali costumes work in harmony with the make-up to create a specific character to tell a story. If the Kathakali performer has a green face, it means that they are noble and victorious, whereas if the performer has a red face, they are evil and cruel.

We performed a simple sentence in the Kathakali sign language; “I am sad because the wind destroyed my flowers!” It was a great experience that we were very lucky to have, and we all enjoyed having professional Kathakali artists at our school."

I just have to say how WONDERFUL it was to see the BRILLIANT performance of Kathakali that you gave!  It has resounded with me ever since again! Words will never do justice to the experience of seeing Kathakali and I feel so lucky and thankful to you for making that happen. Edith really enjoyed it too - she is an artist herself and fully appreciated the work involved and the sheer purity of the performance!  So a BIG THANK YOU from us both!! Sue Sirit

"As an organisation that looks to support the very best of south Asian arts it was fantastic to be able to bring such a rarely seen art form to Bradford. Our audiences loved the opportunity to get meet to the artists and see the fantastic costumes and make-up close up - I look forward to welcoming you all again in the future!" Alex – arts development officer for Kala Sangam.

I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. I haven’t been to one where the short film is on first and I thought that was so helpful. I enjoyed the performance by the nurses as well. I didn’t realise so many of the hospital nurses came from Kerala. I was pleased to see so many people there and they all seemed to be having a great time. Ann Lowe


“It was amazing, to be able to witness a genuine south Indian ritual performance like that, in the comfort of St Georges! I came away quite mesmerised from watching the succession of minute movements, gestures and expressions!”- St Georges, Bristol - volunteer.

The comments and feedback from your visit have been so amazing. Everyone really enjoyed it and had a wonderful time. Adults and children alike were totally absorbed by Kathakali – Thank you. St Georges Bristol

It was incredible that we had such a wonderful performance in our area and secondly that it was such a high quality, professional performance that has not been experienced before, or might be experienced again, in our small village, Whiteparish Village Hall

It was so lovely to have so many children and parents from our academy and from the local community in the hall - it really was something special. Karen Brooker – Head Teacher Whitesheet Academy, Zeals.

“I have never seen anything like this before”. – audience member Southbank Centre, London

“The artist`s just keep getting better and better” – Garry Laybourne _ “You can`t see Kathakali as good as this in Kerala” – person from Kerala

“It was an absolute pleasure for the whole Southbank Centre team to work with you to make this event happen. I can truly say that your workshops and performance was a highlight of the festival that uniquely informed, enchanted and entertained the huge audience for the entire day. We also felt it was very moving to see such a mixed crowd watch with such interest and attention.” Rachel Harris - Creative Producer, Festival Development, Southbank Centre, London

“Thank you for bringing such quality work to Chichester, we never get Asian theatre here and normally have to go to London.” Audience member.

“We never expected to see Kathakali in Chichester, it was great to see something from our part of India” – a family from Kerala. “The children loved it, the colours were stunning”- mother.

“I came to your Worthing performance yesterday with nine others and it was everything I hoped for and more. Transporting me into a world of extremes, subtle delicacy, deep passions, and great power, woven together by the highest qualities of musicianship, dance, acting, and mime that was presented in a simple setting without scenery . This, with the richest of colours and fantastic costume filled me with respect and a great desire to find more ways to appreciate my own culture. The drama helped reinforce my feeling of unity with, and support for, the underlying sacredness of life and love of our differences both past and present. I send you appreciation and thanks for your inspiring work and the wonderful experience you have given me”. Merry Curd

“I wanted to email to thank you and the company for taking the time to meet the Arts Award student Group yesterday afternoon. They absolutely loved the show, and all felt very lucky to have witnessed the makeup process. They will be using the show as part of a post-show discussion during their next Arts Award session. From a personal point of view, I feel very privileged to have been able to see the Kathakali performance and the makeup process. It was certainly the most amazing thing I have seen at Norden Farm in the 4 years I have been here. Robyn Bunyan, Education Officer – Norden Farm Centre for the Arts

“The event was most enjoyable, with true dedication by the team. I just loved the whole event as one of the most memorable”. Rais Hasan - Photographer “I was in a state of wonder at your performance! It was amazing to have the privilege of seeing Kathakali and to be aware of the wonder of Kathakali! I feel truly blessed to have seen such a spectacular performance. Kathakali has enriched not only my life but many others too.- Sue Sirit.

“Coming from Kerala It was a “dream come true” for all of us and a magical night for the Glasgow Temple to have a live Kathakali performance! The feedback we have had was extraordinary from everybody in the audience. Gopinathan from Kerala and lead promoter

“Thank you for giving me a chance to play edeka [drum] on stage alongside such world-class artists as Kalamanadalam Krishnadas and Kalanilayam Manoj, I will never forget this opportunity in my whole life” – Renjit - from Kerala and now settled in Glasgow.

“Thank you for bringing such quality artists into the centre for us all to enjoy” – Asian member of the audience.

We feel very fortunate to have welcomed the Kala Chethena Kathakali Theatre Company into our community and the energy brought to us by this amazing company will continue to ripple and inspire us, as a community, to promote further arts activities and events.” Ian Prescott - promoter

Strachur Youth Drama Group had the amazing experience of watching a performance of KATHAKALI. We have all been blown away by the skills of all the actors, singers, musicians and the make-up artist. The children have not stopped talking about it and I have no doubt it will be one of those moments they will remember for a lifetime! It was an experience not to be missed !!!!!!! Thanks to the Kala Chethena Kathakali Company who where amazing !!”. Strachur Drama Group.

“The enactment of Kathakali in Aberdeen was a unique opportunity for many in the region to appreciate the classical theatre in all its finesse. Many commented that it was an unforgettable performance and the skill of the artistes entranced them all. A few who watched Kathakali for the first time were totally enthralled, some others who have watched in the past were gratified at the opportunity to feel at home. Arun Pilia – Kerala community Aberdeen.

“It really is impossible to express how much we loved having you here with us on St Agnes! There aren't words that can convey how much the children gained through working with you all. Their singing during the workshop was quite astounding and their confidence grew throughout the day. We all loved the meal on the beach- there were memories made last week that will stay on the islands forever.” Lou Simmonds, Head Teacher, St Agnes Base – Five Islands School – Isles of Scilly

“I have been a theatre technician for 25 years and have never seen anything like Kathakali before!” Dermont – technician for Exeter Phoenix.

“ I trained in Bharathanatyam in India for 15 years and have seen Kathakali many times but this is the best I have ever seen. Everything was so perfect –music, acting, costumes – wonderful.“ audience member from France.

“I have spent a lot of time near mount Kailash [Lord Siva`s mountain home in the Himalayers] and when I saw Kathakali I felt a special kind of spirituality” – audience member

“Many thanks for visiting us, the performance was amazing and for Deaf students the visual quality of Kathakali had the students engaged and focused throughout. The make-up and costumes were inspiring and wonderful, and by using an ancient sign language to tell a story, it was easily followed by our students who are sign language users”. Mark Stocks - teacher

“Thank you for coming to Dwight International School yesterday. It was, as always, a fantastic experience, the workshops were brilliant and show amazing. It was a real privilege for the children to see such quality international work in their school, especially children from a non-western background. The students were fully engaged throughout the performance as indicated by their enthusiastic standing ovation at the end. Fiona Kennedy – Head of Drama Dwight School.

“Thank you all so much for coming to our village and for giving us an unforgettable experience. The local school were very impressed and did a presentation on the workshop and performance at school assembly on Monday. Carolyn, Derek, Ella and Alice Corlett - promoters

“It was so good to see your performance at Lanfranc School, Croydon. Excellent, Excellent, Excellent is all I can say!! . Wonderful musicians, Great actors, Fantastic make up. I am so proud of you and your achievements. Hope more people manage to see this wonderful company”. Lata Desi

“Superb artists, I am proud to be a Malayalee!” - Jayaprakash

“Tonight made a huge impact on the local Kerala community, the demonstration and film helped people access and enjoy the performance even more. Next time we could provide workshops in local school to increase the audience.” – Prakash – promoter

“It was truly an honour and wonderful to be with you all over the past few days. Everyone we spoke to had positive comments about the event and Gaunt House staff said that it was the best festivals that they had ever staged. Our warmest best regards” - David and Jill – Gaunts House.

“Kathakali is everything to me, I love everything about it! Something I will never forget – audience.” Ann Hare – folk singer.

“Superb, what an inspiration” – Usufi - storyteller

“We thought your performance on Thursday was outstanding. It's amazing that you've been doing this for so long - it must be very demanding, but perhaps it's keeping you young! Your attention to detail and the sheer spectacle is wonderful - long may you continue. The performance made a memorable start to the WOMAD festival 2015”. David Eno – web site designer and artist.

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