The Kala Chethena Kathakali Company

Barbara Vijayakumar

Member Type



Performance Artist





The Kala Chethena Kathakali Company was founded in 1987 by Kathakali actor, Kalamandalam Vijayakumar and Kathakali make up specialist, Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar.
The company has presented more than 1,500 performances and 3,500 workshops introducing the art of Kathakali to thousands of people.

Company Directors:

Kalamandalam Vijayakumar born in Kerala, South India, trained at the world famous Kerala Kalamandalam, is an outstanding actor, experienced teacher and the leading Kathakali specialist in the UK.

Kalamandalam Barbara Vijayakumar is a Kathakali make up specialist, visual artist and the workshop co-ordinator, trained at Rochdale College of Art, Winchester School of Art and the Kerala Kalamandalam graduating as the first female Kathakali make up artist in the world.
Barbara provides the link between Asian and non-Asian culture and is responsible for the structure of the workshops.

2013 will again explore a heritage project kindly supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund - South East to document the traditions that the people of Kerala brought to Hampshire when they settled in the area and what traditions they had to leave behind.

The project will take the heritage of the traditional classical and folk dances of Kerala through practical workshops, lectures and performances.The project will feature the popular songsof the great music director G Devaragan and the classical songs of Kerala.

The Oral Histories of the people from Kerala living in hampshire will be documented and the retained by the Wessex Film Archive.
The project will conclude with two Kerala Day Celebration for te whole community to enjoy at The Berry Theatre, Hedge End, Southampton on 27th September 2013 and the Discovery Centre, Winchester on 28th September 2013.

The Discovery Centre will also host an exhibition of the Kathakali costumes opening on 14th September next year - 2103.

Founded in 1987, we're now celebrating our 25th anniversary with a UK tour. we are the most successful Kathakali company in Europe.

KATHAKALI is a masterpiece of sacred theatre that erupts on stage with striking visual images that expose the magical world of South India. Nurtured for centuries by the remarkable people of Kerala, Kathakali leads the audience into the entrancing world of storytelling.

The training of all members of a Kathakali Troupe takes years of hard work and devotion. Each section has an Ashan - Guru - who will guide his student throughout his life. For the actor it takes a minimum of 13 years to train a Kathakali actor.

Traditional stories in India were often told through dance and drama and were passed from one generation to the next to be performed in the heart of the community.

To follow

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