Our performances are presented by world class artists from Kerala and we endeavour to make our audiences feel welcome and valued. Your comments are very helpful.
These are your comments...
MUSEUM OF CROYDON
30TH APRIL 2022.
- I saw the performance on 30th April. It remains a hight of my year so far and my life. Loved the Chenda playing – please bring it back!
- And the Bharatanatyam.
- The Kathakali needs to be broken down into small sections, preferably with an audio description on a dark board behind.
- Gina – Croydon.
Reply: A very valid point. We have considered an interpretation of the story but feel that it may interfere with the actor’s freedom to improvise. We do provide a demonstration, synopsis and film outlining the story but will look at other options for our future events.
NORDEN FARM ARTS CENTRE – MAIDENHREAD:
19TH APRIL 2022
- Excellent performance! Thoroughly enjoyed it. Wonderful dancing. Thank you to the whole team!
- Sumithra – Maidenhead.
- Amazing performance – Kathakali is something I grew up with. I am from Alleppey, we were members of the Alleppey Kathakali Club. I have watched many overnight shows. Loved it – Thank you.
- Sapna – Marlow.
- Fabulous costumes, dancing, makeup and emotions
- Beautiful performance – really enjoyed – amazing costumes and the makeup was so brilliant. Well done and best wishes.
- Nemu and Rashmi – London.
- It was amazing, I especially enjoyed the explanation at the start, I felt it really helped to understand everything. The only thing I would change is the music – live music would have been even more amazing. Over all fantastic, such talented people !!!! –
- Sanjana – Maidenhead.
- Covid prevented us from brining our musicians, also the delay in the venues confirming their dates left me with insufficient time to apply for a major grant.
- Excellent performance, thank you for all your hard work and effort in promoting this wonderful art form.
- Ashok – Bushey – Herts.
- What a wonderful performance! It feels like I am back in my hometown and watching Kathakali at my local temple. I hope the Arts Council continue to fund and preserve this art form for future generations.
- Rama Varma – Maidenhead.
- Excellent show! Beautiful costumes, an amazing opportunity to witness culture and storytelling. Loved the explanations, and opportunity to ask questions. More people ought to watch and learn. Actors were mesmerising.
- Angela – London.
- A spectacular of colour and sound, very dramatic. Thoroughly enjoyed it and wish yet more people were aware of how good this is. Saw Kathakali in 1970 at the Peoples Theatre in Newcastle on Tyne and was mightily impressed so I came again! Thanks for coming to Norden Farm
- Barbara – Reading.
- What an amazing performance. The way it was put together helped us understand the moves and the story much better. The costumes, actors all excellent. Thank you for a great evening. –
- George – Marlow.
- Nice show but a bit too long.
- It was fascinating and very moving. I needed the explanation as it helped enhance my understanding of what I was experiencing. A wonderful thing.
- A really interesting performance. I did not know what to expect, however, I was very pleasantly surprised and would happily see this again.
- Peter – Maidenhead
- Beautiful and powerful. Enjoyed being reminded of the ancient sign language and Sanskrit involved. Loved the info sheet, film and question time along with such gentle kindness and respect for the audience. Thank you
- Nicola – Taplow
- Really amazing – unlike anything I have experienced before. Seeing this ancient story/language come to life has inspired me to learn more – I will be recommending this to my friends and family.
- Ellie – Maidenhead.
- Amazing and thrilling performance!
- Anjana – Maidenhead.
- Exceptional talented artists, feeling very blessed for the opportunity to see a live Kathakali performance. Thanks for the art form.
- Vinatha – Maidenhead.
- Wonderful performance. Intense expressions that tell the story impeccably
- Prabitha – Maidenhead
- Excellent moves and mudras. Thank for an excellent dance/drama
- Bharati – Maidenhead.
- I loved it - Thank you for doing this – I loved the expressions.
- Shreeya – Maidenhead
- Amazing performance, learning culture and history. Thank you for sharing and thanks to Norden Farm.
- Gita – Maidenhead.
- Thank you for a moving and wonderful performance! Transported me back to my own time living in Kochi, Kerala. Stunning.
- Melinda – Maidenhead.
PHEONIX THEATRE – BORDON - WORKSHOP AND SHOW
13TH APRIL 2022
- Absolutely fantastic! Would love to see you ar Bordon “The Phoenix” again soon. Then I can bring my friend who is from Kerala but was on holiday this week. Thank you so much.
- Kay – Bordon.
- Thank you for filling all my senses. A wonderful afternoon and evening.
- Jennifer – Hindhead.
- Very informative – slightly too long – would have liked Barbara to narrate the story throughout the performance. Thank you all –
- Jill – Nr Bordon.
- We have been asked about a voice over before during the show but feel it would disturb the concentration of the performance. BUT! We are considering a pre – show – study session to go through the story in detail, illustrating what the Mudras mean, key elements, and discussing the content. This would offer people who really want to understand the play a chance to dig deeper. For now we feel that the synopsis, demonstration, workshop and film offers access to our work .However, we will monitor the situation.
- It has been an amazing experience watching the show. Though I grew up in India I never had the opportunity to watch Kathakali. It made me realise the beauty of my culture. Looking forward to watching more shows
- Neera – Whitely.
- The workshop was wonderful, helped to understand the story. Makeup out of this world. A superb night. Thank you all.
- Sue – Bordon.
- Fantastic performance, costumes and makeup very interesting. Thank you for providing a great evening.
- Sam – Farnham
- Fantastic – hope you come back to the Phoenix again.
- Chris – Bordon.
- Mesmorizing!!! Leart lots – thank you.
- Kate – Bordon.
- Very educational and lovely to learn aboutb other cultures. The whole caste were excellent –
- Norma – Sandhurst.
- Excellent, enjoyed the workshop an makeup demonstration –
- Norma – Bordon.
EXETER PHOENIX - WORKSHOP AND SHOW
6TH APRIL 2022
1.What do you think the audience enjoyed most about Kathakali?
I think it was being made aware of an historic art form that most wouldn’t have been aware of.
- Did Kathakali increase awareness of world theatre, if so how?
Definitely! As a programmer it’s so hard to source world theatre full stop. But with your accessible approach that includes a Kathakali workshop and being allowed to be part of the performance preparation i.e. the application of the makeup, it should encourage our audience to look beyond the regular.
- Can you identify any aspect of Kathakali that is of specific importance to the audience?
With a mostly female audience I think the message they’ll have taken away is for men not to take women for granted. I personally took away a message that men have a lot to learn and that women need to be treated right and not have to have the man`s intentions forced upon them.
- Do you think that we made Kathakali accessible and if so how? If not how could we have made Kathakali more accessible to your particular community?
As I mentioned earlier you made Kathakali accessible by including a physical workshop and an opportunity to be part of the performer`s preparation.
5.Any other comments?
Thank you and keep telling the Kathakali stories.
From Patrick`s comments I think he may continue to support Kathakali even though the audience numbers were low.
EXETER ACADEMY FOR DEAF EDUCATION - WORKSHOP AND SHOW
5TH APRIL 2022
[Please note that these comments are written in BSL]
- Very interesting and lots of emotions.
- I liked the show, I liked the costumes, I liked the dancing and the makeup.
- Brett – Exmouth
- Loved the colours and the costumes. Thought it was amazing to watch.
- Lucienne – Exmouth
- I liked your show, it was fab and it was a good time to watch the show and I love it so much. I wish to see it more anytime.
- Timothy – Exmouth
- I like the music and the vibrant colours are amazing.
- Sam – Exmouth
- Good acting – amazing performance
- That was fantastic – thank you.
- Is great theatre and interesting to watch it.
- Milan – Exmouth
- Amazing, fantastic – Thank you.
- Amazing interest for me and learning old languages.
- Jay – Exmouth
- I love to watch a dance named Kathakali.
- Jonathan – Exmouth
- Because I enjoyed watching Kathakali dance – feeling happy.
- Hugh – Exmouth.
- Dance was brilliant. I understood the dance with the snake.
- Megan – Exmouth.
- The show was amazing, I never see that before like that dance from different country. I was really impressed today and well done.
- Ethan - Exmouth
- I was keep watch all old language for learn to me is amazing.
- Jaylish – Exmouth
GUILDHALL CHICHESTER – WEST SUSSEX - WORKSHOP AND SHOW
3RD APRIL 2022
- It was sick – Sammie [I think that is a complement!] - Chichester
- Just brilliant. From my first experience at 8 years old to now at 62. Thank you.
- Sarah – Wootton Bridge
- Fantastic show, unlike anything I have seen before. Thank you for showing the woman telling the man “No thanks – move along”. A small display in the entrance of costumes and history could be a small improvement.
- Owen – Chichester.
- REPLY: A nice idea but as a touring theatre Company we don`t have the space in the van or the time to install costumes etc. We did have our pull ups on display. We could tour more of the pull ups in the future.
- Thank you. I only came because my mother wanted to come but enjoyed it very much. At times I was mesmerised and felt the dancers were talking directly to me! Kate – Chichester.
- A wonderful artistic and special afternoon of storytelling through mime. Interesting and informative too. Thank you.
- Frances – Chichester.
- Fantastic! Wonderful programme – so skilled. A great insight into the culture of Kerala. Thank you.
- Liz – Chichester
- Thank you for the most wonderful performance, we look forward to seeing you back here again very soon.
- Henrietta – Chichester
- I really enjoyed this performance; I think it was engaging. The performers were amazing and it was really cool to see something new and unique.
- Florence – Chichester
- Kapil – Chichester
- A wonderful performance by expert actors. A real privilege and the explanation at the start made a huge difference to my understanding it. Mesmerising!
- Jane – Chichester.
- Wonderful to see Kathakali again and to be able to sketch the makeup and show. It was so inspiring to me as an artist who loves colour and well worth the journey from Somerset.
- Caroline and Liz – Street – Somerset.
NORBURY LIBRARY, LONDON - WORKSHOP AND PERFORMANCE
2nd APRIL 2022
Comments from Norbury Library:
- Exhibition and dance were excellent.
- Sue – Norbury.
- Very colourful and imaginative, must need a lot of room for the dancing. I can pass these pics onto my daughter who has visited south India.
- Andrew – London
- Colourful and exciting – but wouldn`t have known about this unless I came in. Why wasn`t the notice placed on the London Roadside of the Library?
- Wonderful information and colour.
- Well done – great dance.
- Interesting exhibition, workshop and performance, very informative
- An amazing performance, for me and my daughter.
- I loved the people.
- I really enjoyed the show and the costumes. I hope to come again. I loved it.
- Fabulous costumes, dancing, makeup, and emotions.
- Good story, well recorded history
- I came with no knowledge of Kathakali whatsoever. With the workshop it has been a very rewarding experience and an insight into another and older world. Thank you.
- Magical – Thank you.
- Brilliant, exciting, brings Hinduism alive. Great makeup and presentation – thank you.
HOCKERILL COLLEGE - HERTFORDSHIRE - WORKSHOP AND SHOW
29TH MARCH 2022
- It was really cool to learn so much about your culture in such a short time. Everything was amazing.
- Tabitha – Hockerill College.
- I liked learning some of the moves and what certain movements ment. I also enjoyed the performance when the characters interacted with the audience.
- Bella – Hockerill College.
- It was wonderful! The makeup andf the costumes wer so beautiful. I loved the story, it was really engaging.
- Natalia – Hockerill College.
- It was really interesting to watch something completely different to the stories I am usually told. The performance was very impressive.
- Fran – Hockerill College.
- The workshop was very engaging and the costumes and makeup so interesting – thank you.
- Daisy – Hockerill College.
- Shame I couldn`t be around for the workshop but the performance was fantastic and the costumes were wonderful.
- Zoe – Hockrill College.
- It was amazing! Great representation of south Indian culture – engaging workshop – great teachers.
- Serena – Hockerill College.
- Brilliant acting, kind staff and very informative –
- Callum – Hockerill College
- It was very interesting to learn the different moves and some of the language, you can tell that the actors were experts.
- Sasha – Hockerill College
- An absolutely fabulous day! So different – requiring patience in a lovely way. Thank you. Kevin –
- Hockerill College
- Loved it! We were very well prepared for it, so I respected it so much more. Thank you –
- Georgina – Hockerill College
- The workshop was engaging and a lot of fun. I found the instructions easy to follow. The performance was amazing. Thank you –
- Francesca – Hockerill College
- It was amazing to experience and witness how theatre in another culture is performed.
- Florence – Hockerill College
- I absolutely loved learning about Kathakali. The experience was interactive and incredibly interesting. I feel that my eyes have been opened to a new and exciting way of expressing art. Thank you –
- Lecilia – Hockerill College
- The day was wonderful! Very immersive, interactive and informative. I learnt a lot about Kathakali and really appreciate the experience – thank you.
- Olivia – Hockerill College
- It was a really fun today and taught me about the play which was wonderful.
- Freya – Hockerill College
- Fantastic day from start to finish. As a young teacher it gives me something new to teach and discuss with my students. An important aspect of theatre to be part of.
- Georgia – Teacher - Hockerill College
- Barbara and Vijaya set the context of Kathakali in an accessible and fund way, allowing our students to access and understand the key principles. The performance was fantastic and showed the beautiful skill of this ancient art form.
- Natalie – Teacher – Hockerill College.
QUAY ARTS CENTRE – NEWPORT – ISLE OF WIGHT WORKSHOPS AND SHOWS
24TH /25TH MARCH 2022
Comments from Isle of Wight:
- Fabulous, it was emotional, funny, beautiful and magical- thanks.
- That was such a beautiful and touching performances. Thank you for introducing me to Kathakali. Your art is so precious for the world. Melissa – IOW
- Amazing, astounding, mind-blowing. Loved it all – Simon – IOW.
THE BAY THEATRE – WEYMOUTH - WORKSHOP AND SHOW
23rd MARCH 2022
Comments from the Head of Drama:
What do you think the audience enjoyed most about Kathakali?
- The spectacle….costume/makeup
- Did Kathakali increase awareness of world theatre, if so how?
- Yes, simply accessing a different style of work
- Can you identify any aspect of Kathakali that is of specific importance to the audience?
- New cultural references and understanding
- Do you think that we made Kathakali accessible and if so how? If not how could we have made Kathakali more accessible to your particular community?
- Yes….I think you did
KATHAKALI UK TOUR 2017
ALEX CROFT, CREATIVE DIRECTOR - KALA SANGAM, BRADFORD.
"We've been lucky enough to bring these wonderful, authentic Kathakali performances to Bradford on a number of occasions. Each visit is more of a spectacular event than a single performance, starting with the opportunity for audience members to see the incredible makeup being applied, before they're transported to the sights, sounds, and riotous colour of India. We can't wait for them to come back!" July 2020
JENNY FOREMAN NEWLANDS SCHOOL FOR GIRLS - KINGSTON UPON HULL 2020
Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar and Kalamandalam Vijayakumar of The Kathakali Theatre Company were frequent visitors to our inner city Newland School for Girls in Hull. They gave drama and gesture workshops, art and design lessons and music sessions. One year they brought an entire professional Kathakali theatre group of actors from Kerala and together we devised a week of traditional Kathakali performances, music and dance. It was a memorable outstanding educational and imaginative experience. The pupils were totally engaged and always gave Kathakali a warm welcome.
MUSICIAN, POET AND ARTIST
"My experience of working as a flute player with the singers of Kathakali was for me a revelation in combining two different cultures. Under the guidance of Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar l was able to reach a point of unity and mutual understanding between Indian and European musical styles. A wonderful and magical collaboration that proved very successful. " June 2020
MARK JAMES HAMILTON – INDEPENDENT SCHOLAR
“The visit by the team was an extraordinary moment for my students. They stepped past many limits they had before and engaged fully in a whole new range of performance possibilities. They not only learnt about Kathakali, they also learnt a lot about their place in the world as young artists seeking to communicate across cultures with sincerity. It was a turning point for them all” June 2020
BHAGA LAKSHMI THYRAGARAJAN
Over the last 7years I have worked with the Kala Chethana Kathakali Company as a Bharatanatyam performer. During this time, I have learnt a lot about Kathakali from the immersive workshops and the breath-taking makeup and costumes. The Kala Chethana Kathakali Company has taught me that when forged by the desire to create personal change, dance has the profound power to heal the body, psyche and soul. June 2020
HASTINGS STORYTELLING FESTIVAL 2017
DR MANDY CURTIS – DIRECTOR OF 18 HOURS LTD.
" In 2017, Hastings Storytelling Festival was delighted to welcome Kathakali to our programme. Our audience comments include: 'Beautiful', 'Extraordinary', Fascinating', and 'Different to anything I had seen before'.
We wish the Company well in continuing to share valuable cultural opportunities in contemporary Britain." – June 2020
NORDEN FARM ARTS CENTRE, MAIDENHEAD
JANE CORRY – CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND ARTISTIC DIRECTOR.
We are huge fans of Kathakali at Norden Farm
Audiences always engage with their vibrant, colourful work, and the company are a delight to work with. June 2020
Thanks to you Barbara and Vijayakumar for blessing us with your presence and performance. What a power packed portrayal of Poothana by the legendary artist himself. The singing and Melam added another level to the evening. The books, the lecture demonstration and the short film was extremely helpful for the young dancers among the audience. Thank you for the treat. June 2020
We have had an excellent opportunity to participate with a humble man Kalamandalam Vijayakumar, the first lady Kathakali make up artist in the world Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar and a great Bharathanatyam dancer cute Kalakshethra Bhagyalakshmi .It was really such a pleasure moment to know more about Kathakali from their workshop. We are thanking you for given us an amazing experience and taken us as part of it. It is really a great chance to get the knowledge of our Kerala cultural art forms .No words to say our love and pleasure towards you. Once again Thank you so much.
Kia Kotti Kali dancers - London 2019
Arunima Kumar - Kuchipudi dancer - London 2019
The experience was enriching as I got to learn about the nuances of a new form that I had not worked with earlier . Working with Kala Chethena Kathakali Company and Bhagya Lakshmi in a museum site surviving environment was a learning - audience curiosity and interest in my art form, Kuchipudi, was very rewarding , overall a great experience.
Ashvini Ajith - participant - Barking - London 2019
It was a great opportunity to be part of Kathakali and Bharatanatyam Company. The project was very fascinating and entertaining which gave both the audience and performers to learn and experience the cultures and traditions of both art forms. For me, to perform in front of a wide range of supportive audiences was enjoyable and fulfilling experience. I felt honoured to receive so much love, respect and support from my teacher, the project team and the audience gave me the motivation and confidence to do more. I would like to thank the Kathakali and Bharatanatyam Costume project team and my teacher for this amazing experience and opportunity. Thank you
Jyothy Madhavan 2019
I am Jyothy Madhavan, mum of Jona Prakash who was one of the performers for the Kathakali and Bharathanatyum costumes project. We really enjoyed the day and also came to know more about Kathakali and Bharathanatyum. The costumes displayed on those days were amazing and we need to appreciate the people's efforts who arranged for the public to see them.
Jyothy Madhavan London 2019
The Kathakali presentation by Kalamandalam Vijayakumar was amazing and it was introduced by Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar with a very humble manor. There were some other outstanding performances, Bharathanatyum by Kalashethra Bhaghya Lekshmi and Kuchupadi by Arunima Kumar and were real treat for the audience. Some other talented people made the day more interesting for the audience by Bharathanatyum solos and group performances, also people got chance to know about a very ancient form of arts from Kerala, Kikottikali, it was another visual treat. Thanks to all who gave chance to us to participate in this project and looking forward to the future ????
Jona Prakash London 2019
Dancing with the Kathakali and Bharatanatyam costume project was a great experience for me, as it gave me a great opportunity to dance In different places that are well known and it also expanded my understanding and knowledge of the "Kerala Kalamandalam" dance school in India and "Kathakali " the dance/drama form. While performing with this project I got to meet Kalamandalam Vijaykumar who is a Kathakali actor from the Kerala Kalamandalam in India. I learnt more about this form of dance/drama through the demonstrations and presentations within the project. It helped me understand the different meanings of the expression and how they came together to convey different stories within the Hindu religion .I also met Kalamandalam Barbara Vijaykumar who is the first female Kathakali makeup artist in the world. She was a truly inspiring woman as she told us about her story of how she became the woman she is today, by accidentally taking the wrong train and ending up in the Kerala Kalamandalam.
With these truly inspiring people there was also my dance teacher, Bahgya Lakshmi ,and a Kutchupudi dancer Arunima Kumar. They performed beautiful dance pieces for the audience which allowed them, including me, to understand the proper ways of the kalakshetra style and the two dance forms. I danced with my friend "Ashvini". We performed a piece called Jathiswaram. I also did a solo performance called Shiva stuti.
This experience was truly extraordinary as it gave me an exposure to the different dance forms. It was a pleasure to dance alongside this company as a dancer.
Kathakali in France 24th July 2019
Thank you to the wonderful audience who came to see Kathakali in France on 24th July 2019. comments:
Thank you for a wonderful evening. You have put a tiny place in France that no one has heard of into an international sphere and I am proud of you for doing it. You are both a truly great team. We all woke up happy this morning after having spent a unique evening with wonderful people. Tony - south west france. 2019.
We would like to thank you both for a truly wonderful evening. The ambiance was fantastic, the food superb and the performance was out of this world. It put the equilibrium and spark back in my life and I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Marianne - south west France 2019.
It was an honour to have seen such a brilliant performance - David and Linda south west france 2019. I was blown away by the whole thing - it was incredible
Sheenagh France 2019.
National Maritime Museum 25th May 2019
It was a pleasure to work with you [Kalamandalam Vijayakumar and Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar]. I enjoyed seeing you both working together doing the planning/preparation, getting costumes ready, workshops etc, and educating us all in the history and art of Kathakali. You are both very professional in your own fields I also got to know Vijaya as a professional performer.
Cole Williams - guest film maker.
It has been such an honour to work on this project as a Kathakali costumer. The costumes are such an important part of bringing Kathakali to life for the audience and it has been wonderful to see so many great reactions and share the heritage of Kathakali with so many people.
Sophie Cavey student of Kathakali costuming with the Kala Chethena Kathakali company.
Alison Neasom - Senior Lead Practitioner for community arrts and specialisms D1Arts Wildern School, Hampshire.
I had the privilege to stage manage the Kathakali performances at The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, on Saturday 25th May 2019.
Having worked with Barbara and Vijay before, I was aware of the format of the show and that this event would provide a challenge as it was in two distinct performance spaces.
The museum provided a lot of support who were very willing to help and helped everything run smoothly and to time. Julie took over running the sound upstairs which worked well as the music station was not easily accessible from the stage.
Upstairs,the Great Map provided a fabulous performance space, with the exhibition of costumes and pop up banners being eye catching and informative in their own right. It was great to see the work produced by the primary school children on display, and those attending the museum had an unexpected treat, which they were enjoying between performances.
The sound system was excellent and once the music began, good solid audiences gathered. I would estimate over 80 people for each performance time slot.
The film upstairs took a long time to set up, but once running, again had a lot of people watching.
Each of the shows upstairs lasted for approximately 45 minutes, and most people stayed to watch it all. They applauded each dance generously and wanted to see Moore. It was hot, but no hotter than under stage lighting. They were delighted to receive the books and take the opportunity to have their photographs taken with the dancers.
With hindsight, It would have been better to have a microphone to announce the main demonstration and show in the lecture theatre. However I did speak independently with most of the people watching who were in the main family groups and once I explained they would need to buy tickets, they were not as interested.
The lecture theatre did not have the advantage of walk by appeal being behind a closed white door, it was not obvious to the public that a show would be happening there. However, as a space for the lecture demonstration it worked well, although if you were sat further back in the audience, the less you could see of the beautiful footwork. The audience here, though more select, were fully engaged throughout and asked some great questions.
As a stage manager, I definitely felt that I had had my exercise for the day working between the two spaces, and the various changing areas, but everybody was willing to be in place, on time and made my job both pleasant and easy.
It is always a pleasure to work with Vijay and Barbara as their knowledge and passion is inspirational.
National Maritime Museum Staff. 2019
Incredible, Really interesting, - many small children emulated the dancers, suggesting they were engrossed with and inspired by the event.
ASnet, London 18th May 2019
Comments from the audience:
A True privilige to watch an art form portrayed by Kalamandalam Vijayakumar and Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar. 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] 2019
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 [Ilford] 2019
I enjoyed it. It was very enjoying, something different to learn.
Reheela [Ilford] 2019
Great, interesting, educational. I filmed this and found the dancing inspiring, it gave me an insight into another culture.
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] 2019
Very informative talk and displays - extremely dramatic performance! Fantastic performance.
Not just entertaining but also very educational. A great experience
David [Ilford] 2019
Very energetic performance! Totally amazing dedication. This is one of the best shows I have seen.
Ming [Ilford] 2019
Comments From The Victoria And Albert Museum 12 May 2019
What a wonderful day you gave us at the V&A on Sunday – it attracted a lot of interest and while the audiences for the pop-up in the silver gallery and the performance in the lecture theatre had notable overlap, there was a very different, large, audience for the garden performance – how lucky the sun shone at the right time! and the little girls trying to copy movements in the background were charming rather than distracting. So please convey my thanks to everyone involved.
The display of costumes worked very well – the space was right – enough so they could be appreciated fully, and the information panels could be easily read but leaving sufficient space in the centre for the performance. Of course, I would have liked the lecture theatre to be absolutely packed but it was nevertheless an excellent and genuinely interested audience.
I must say that every time I see your performances I learn more and the Kathakali solo performed by Vijay is wonderful – so powerful.
Many thanks and very best wishes -
Jane Pritchard - Curator for Dance V&A.
Comments from the V&A Audience 2019
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]
Training In How To Preserve Kathakali Costumes at the V7A London - June 2019
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.
I had no idea that there was so much detail required to document the costumes.
I understand the responsibility that we have to pass on accurate information to the next generation.
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.
I value that wear and tear is all part of the costumes story/history.
Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar – Kathakali costume specialist.
I knew absolutely nothing about cataloguing of any description whether heritage costumes or anything else.
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.
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.
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
Kathakali UK Tour 2017
Comments From promoters and Members of the Audience:
“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.
Rachel – Publicity/Marketing
The music workshop and seeing the make-up really helped me to appreciate Kathakali
“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!!
"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.
Kathakali UK Tour 2015
“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.”
“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
“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.
“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 o