Kattaikkuttu Sangam
Transforming Culture
Transforming Lives

Youth Theatre School

Meet senior most Kattaikkuttu Girl P. Thilagavathy

P. Thilagavathy, then 12 years old, joined the Gurukulam first in 2002 as one of three girls. Her father is a Kattaikkuttu actor. Thilagavathy graduated in 2010 and is now an apprentice at the school.

" I love the Gurukulam and being here… I am proud of being one of the ground-breakers in making Kattaikkuttu available to female actors. Rajagopal Taata is my role model. I want to follow in his footsteps. My dream is to become a theatre director .... "

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The Kattaikkuttu girls are the first to enter the all-male bastion of Kattaikkuttu. They are the first to dare challenge the social and cultural barriers connected to the stigma of women performing on stage. They will be the example for generations of female performers to come.
The Kattaikkuttu Girls run their own company, the All Girls Company.

Gurukulam's History

The Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam was founded in 2002 by the Kattaikkuttu Sangam to enable rural children to opt for a career in Kattaikkuttu without having to give up their formal education. The residential school is home to a small group of up to 50 talented students, mainly from around northern Tamil Nadu, the theatre's traditional home, and also from the Andhra Pradesh/Tamil Nadu border where the theatre enjoys pockets of popularity.

Prior to the establishment of the Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam in 2002 there was no formal training in Kattaikkuttu. The theatre tradition was transmitted through apprenticing young boys to all-male theatre companies. Here they learned the profession from other senior performers. Helping out in the company and performing small roles in all-night plays resulted in these child-actors dropping out of regular education.

The school began in a group of small rooms, shelters and an open stage in Kanchipuram with 21 students (3 girls and 19 boys). In 2006 the school moved to a purpose built facility, the Kuttu Kalai Kudam in Punjarasantankal. Once settled into the larger facilities the Gurukulam was able to increase the number of students, taking on another group of junior students and greatly increasing the number of girls. Since 2002 there have been 4 student-intakes.

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