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“A research-space; a laboratory..” What Kattaikkuttu and the Kattaikkuttu Sangam means to Evelien Pullens:

13 Aug

Kattaikkuttu Sangam…… for me this is a research-space; a laboratory where a continuous exploration is happening in to the best way(s) of translating and adapting ancient knowledge to the requirements of our modern times. How can we ensure that authentic, religious, literary Kattaikkuttu plays are best understood and valued in a globalizing India? How do children from a marginalised, rural background get access to and complete a theoretical and artistic education that enables them to incorporate modern media and ancient spiritual knowledge? How can these child-ambassadors of this rural Tamil culture, translate the values of their descent into information that can be used in a non-Tamil context?
Well-grounded and well-guided cultural exchange is an important medium to achieve these goals. Mutual learning will inspire Indian and non-Indian people, as well as these young students of Kattaikkuttu.

Hanne and Rajagopal have spent their entire lives to investigate what is the essence of culture, (good) education and the arts. Their combined academic and practical knowledge and skills helps them to look at these issues from different points of view. All other people who work at the Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam with passion and great involvement contribute to the overall aim. Even if it is not recorded – written down or filmed – the memories and energies of each and everyone are being preserved and handed down through collective memory to the next generation.


Kattaikkuttu Sangam….

16 Aug

Kattaikkuttu is the University of the People, who cannot write and read (too well). It is our theatre and our culture.


The Kattaikkuttu Sangam is a social mission-driven, grassroots performing arts organization that uses the integration of academic education and performing arts training to promote, contemporize and make sustainable the unique folk theatre form of Northern Tamil Nadu—Kattaikkuttu. The Sangam was established in 1990 by seventeen performers including the Sangam‘s current Executive Director and Artistic Leader, P. Rajagopal, and his Dutch wife, Hanne M. de Bruin.
Our principal stakeholders are marginalized young, rural people between 5 and 20 years, in addition to professional Kattaikkuttu performers and their audiences, representing the poorest and most disadvantaged sections of the rural society.

To nurture and transform Kattaikkuttu into a contemporary theatre that is alive and kicking, a carrier of traditional artistic knowledge and skills as well as a theatre open to innovation and change.
The effects of this transformation will benefit the social and economic status of professional Kattaikkuttu performers, the art form itself and the local community.

We believe that—


      • Quality artistic training and education are compelling instruments to break the vicious circle of chronic poverty and social and cultural disempowerment;
      • Professional Kattaikkuttu training and performances should be equally accessible to men and women, irrespective of their caste and religious backgrounds;
      • Traditional, all-night Kattaikkuttu performances for rural audiences should be nurtured and developed parallel to innovative Kattaikkuttu plays and ensembles catering to the tastes and needs of urban and international audiences. Both will inspire each other and help build traditional and new audiences.