Koothu-p-pattarai Trust

Theatre Development

Grant Period: Three Years

The Koothu-p-pattarai Trust was founded in 1989 to offer a flexible organisational base for the varied activities of Koothu- p-pattarai (K-p-p), a path-breaking theatre group functioning in Chennai since 1977. Under the leadership of N. Muthuswamy, K-p-p has been a seminal force in the growth of a contemporary theatre consciousness in Tamil Nadu.

K-p-p's highly original performance idiom and actor training methods have grown out of its close engagement with folk artists, in particular, representatives of therukoothu, the folk drama form of Tamil Nadu. K-p-p's sustained interest in therukoothu has also helped to advance the cause of folk drama in Tamil Nadu.

With this three-year grant, K-p-p has broadened its interaction with cultural, social and develop­mental organisations, local government agencies, folk performance troupes in Tamil Nadu, and theatre groups from other states. Broadly speaking, these interactions have helped K-p-p strengthen the training of the actors, offer theatre training to schoolchildren and other theatre groups, attract greater recognition and opportunities for lesser-known, localised folk performance forms, develop collaborative productions, and perform to new audiences.

Although K-p-p's artistic growth in the last three years has been remarkable, it appears not to have exploited its talents, resources and assets, and its growing credibility and visibility, to the extent necessary to become self-sustaining in the longer term. Moreover, at the artistic level, K-p-p's most glaring weakness has been its inability to function as a repertory company. The diversity and range of K-p-p's theatre has not been accessible to audiences and critics around the country.

K-p-p now recognises the need to begin functioning as a repertory for both its own survival and increased reach in the community. For this purpose, major productions of the past will be revived, and the training of the actors will focus on enhancing their consistency and professionalism in performance. The work on non-formal productions will also continue.

With the establishment of a resource generation division, K-p-p has developed elaborate fund-raising plans for the coming three years. A more systematic effort will be made to enhance the income K-p-p has been generating through performances, workshops, hiring stage lights, and its design and printing expertise and facilities. Furthermore, the grant will be released in diminishing annual instalments, to encourage the group to reduce its reliance on the theatre laboratory programme for support.