Special Projects

We are delighted to be back


October 2021 to July 2022.

Our, “Life Behind the Costume” heritage project, presented by The Kala Chethena Kathakali Troupe, based at the Museum of Croydon and kindly funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund, will be starting in October 2021.

This project features exhibitions, performances and workshops to explore the culture of Kerala and the remarkable world behind the Kathakali costumes - the history, festivals, people, traditions, food and the arts. Kerala has preserved it`s heritage for centuries as a testemony of how people value and celebrate their identity. 


A section of a Kathakali costume



Professional artists

The activities will be led by internationally renowned artists:

Kathakali - Kalamandalam Vijayakumar and Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar.

Bharatanatyam - Anusha Subramanyam


Oral History.

October 2021

Rolf Killius, Oral History specialist, will be training people to collect Oral Histories safely and leaglly from the people of Kerala who are settled, or work in, Croydon. These memories will be lost in a single generation if they are not recorded. This valuable documentation will enable future generations to hear the stories and recollections of .the past.

For further information please contact Rolf on: rolfkillius@yahoo.com



Workshops and training

Archbishop Lanfranc Academy, Croydon.

March 7th to 11th 2022. 

The academy will be hosting a series of workshops for their students enabling them to understand, appreciate and enjoy Kathakali and Kerala culture. The students will explore identity, ancient performing techniques, rituals and an ancient 4,000 year old sign language called Mudras used ot tell a story. A comparative study of Kathakali and Bharatanatyam will bring centuries old performing skills to the young people of Croydon. 

The group will gain the knowledge to welcome visitors into the academy to see performances of Kathakali and Bharatanatyam accompanied by an exhibition of Kathakali, Mohiniattam and Bharatanatyam costumes, tradtional dress of Kerala, photographs and films. 


Exhibitions, workshops and solo performances.


Archbishop Lanfranc Academy, Croydon.

March 16th and 18th Marc 2022. 

Following on from a week of study the academy will host an exhibition of costumes and solo performances of Kathakali and Bharatnatyam for the academy, local feeder schools and the community to enjoy.  

Performances by internationally renowned artists Kathakali - Kalamandalam Vijayakumar and Bharatanatyam - Anusha Subramanyam


Subrang Arts - Croydon

March 19th and 20th 2022

Subrang Arts will be hosting two workshops.

March 19th - exploring the similarities between Kathakali and Gujurati folk dance.

March 20th - exploring Kathakali fcharactes, how they move, who they represent and make a mask to take home.

led by Kalamandalam Vijayakumar and Kalamanadalam Barbara Vijayakumar


The Norbury Library - Croydon.

April 2nd - April 21st

Will be hosting an exhibition of Kathakali costumes, photographs, films, workshops and solo performances to bring Indian storytelling alive.

Ideal for all ages to access Asin stories and culture. .

Dates of activities to be confirmed.


The Museum of Croydon

April 30th - May 21st 2022

Will be hosting an exhibition of Kathakali, Mohiniattam and Bharatanatyam costumes, traditional dress of Kerala, photographs, films and an evening of celebration featuring performances of solo Kathakali and Bharatanatyam, a guided tour of the exhibition and  performances of Chenda Melam - drumming and Kia Koti Kali [folk dance]. Delicious Kerala food to complete the evening. 

Workshops in Kathakali and Bharatanatyam will bring the exhibition alive as people can see how the costumes move, create a character and tell stories through acting, movement, emotion and characters.

Performances by internationally renowned artists Kathakali - Kalamandalam Vijayakumar and Bharatanatyam - Anusha Subramanyam

Dates of activities to be confirmed


Beeja Dance Company - Croydon

Date to be confirmed

Will be hosting two workshops to explore the heritage and techniques of Bharatanatyam and Kathakali.
led by Kalamandalam Vijayakumar and Kalamanadalam Barbara Vijayakumar


Play for Progress - Croydon

Date to be confirmed.

Will host two workshops exploring the ancient healing qualities of Kathakali to focus the mind and body.

Explore how stories can be told through emotion, gestures and body language and the power of visual theate. 


The Kerala Community - Croydon.

As the project comes to an end the Kerala community of Croydon will provide the powerful druming of Chenda Melam, the centuries old dance of Kia Kotti Kali and delicious Kerala food. Their ancestors created and nurtured these remarkable arts so it is appropriate that the Kerala community bring this project to a close during a celebration of Onam. 

Dates to be confirmed. .


For more information please contact us.Arts Council Logo

Behind The Costume - Kathakali Heritage Project 2021 - 2022

Exhibition Of Costumes, Workshops and Performances

Dates to be confirmed.

Heritage Logo
Museum Logo
Kathakali Logo
This project presented by the Kala Chethena Kathakali Company and kindly funded by the Museum of Croydon and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The aim is to bring people together to celebrate the culture behind the costumes featured in Kathakali - the classical dance, drama of Kerala, south west India"
Kathakali Performer



An opportunity to discover a whole world behind the costumes, the rituals, traditions and culture and understand how Kathakali, Bharatanatyam and other sacred art forms, emerged from the temples centuries ago.


See the costumes come alive

Workshops and performances of Kathakali, led by Kalamandalam Vijayakumar, and Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar and Bharatanatyam, led by Anusha Subramanyam, will bring the costumes alive. The Kerala community will add to this experience by providing Chenda Melam, [powerful drumming] and the ancient dance of Kia Kotti Kali [a dance performed by women] to celebrate the remarkable heritage of Kerala.


Kathakali Dancers

Oral History

Oral History specialist, Rolf Killius will be recording Oral Histories of some of the people originally from Kerala and settled or working in Croydon.to capture their memories. https://www.rolfkillius.com/


Kathakali Mask

Kathakali Mask

This exciting project was inspired by the colour, design and symbolic importance of the Kathakali and Bharathanatyam costumes, their origin, their history and how they have carried the remarkable history of South India from the temples into the communities of this country.

The desire to make beautiful things, dance, play music, tell stories and decorate our bodies has existed since people became aware of their identity and is an integral part of our unique heritage.

Traditions carried through migration illustrate the importance that people play in the preservation of our culture and ultimately our heritage.


Kathakali Dancer
Kathakali Dancer


Contact: Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar: Tel: 02380 420114 or 07740 123070 or barbaravijayakumar@yahoo.co.uk