P. Rajagopal and Hanne de Bruin established the School in 2002. They realized that there were very few good Kattaikkuttu teachers left. And that it had become very difficult for young people to become a Kattaikkuttu performer. The theatre was about to disappear. If that happened, village people would lose a part of their own culture and a medium of expression that respects their identity and beliefs. Young people would no longer have the possibility to choose a career as an actor or musician.
Rajagopal is a famous Kattaikkuttu actor. He began his career in the company of his father when he was ten years old. He played many leading roles and became a Kattaikkuttu teacher, director and script writer. It took him about fifteen years to become an all-round performer.
Rajagopal is not his surname. It is his own name. The 'P' stands for the initial of his father, Ponnusami. That is the custom in Tamil Nadu: you use your own name and add the first letter of your father's (or, when you are a married woman, your husband's) name to it as an initial.
In 1987 Rajagopal met Hanne M.de Bruin, a Dutch woman. She studied South Indian culture and Kattaikkuttu. They fell in love and got married. With sixteen other performers they founded the Kattaikkuttu Sangam. Together Rajagopal and Hanne do a lot for Tamil actors.
Hanne speaks Tamil and English. She used to work at a university. But now she works full-time for the School and the Sangam. One of her duties is to find money to realise the dreams of Rajagopal and the students of the School. She also makes costumes for Kattaikkuttu plays.