Kattaikkuttu Sangam
Transforming Culture
Transforming Lives

Artistic Training

The Gurukulam follows the guru-shishya system of transmission. This means that students and teachers are in constant close contact with each other in formal and non-formal settings. The Gurukulam's students are tutored in life and in all aspects of the Perungattur style of Kattaikkuttu by their Guru and principal Kattaikkuttu teacher, P. Rajagopal.
Kattaikkuttu is a complex, ritual, Tamil language theatre involving voice, body and mind. It requires the performer to build a character through songs, dialogue, movement, body and facial expression and to maintain this character throughout an all-night (i.e. 8 hour) performance.

The artistic curriculum of the Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam comprises two levels of four years each, followed by a professional level:

  • Junior programme: Basic Kattaikkuttu training of junior students (typically 6-12 years old at the time of admission)
  • Senior programme: Advanced Kattaikkuttu training for (selected) senior students (12-16 years old)

During the first 4 years the student learns the basics of Kattaikkuttu music, singing, movement, acting and make-up. At the end of these 4 years a selection takes place. Those students who are selected receive another 4 years of training preparing them for a professional career as Kattaikkuttu actor, actress or musician.

The advanced students specialize in music or acting. They work towards a greater self-discipline, self-expression and refinement of what they know and can perform. They learn to collaborate with others on the stage and respond actively to their co-performers. They build their own dialogues on the basis of songs and background information of the Mahabharata and its characters. Lastly, they augment the number of roles they can perform and build up an active repertory of plays.

The artistic training covers every aspect of the theatre, including its "professional secrets". Its results — in the form of new productions — are put to test before a critical audience at several different stages during the training.

Along with consistent theatrical, musical and dance training and stage experience in Kattaikkuttu, the students receive exposure to a range of other performance styles and techniques through workshops by renowned guest teachers. This training enables them to pick up new ideas and artistic genres very easily.


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