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In October 1991, twenty-five theatre enthusiasts comprising of actors, musicians, artists and scholars started working together under the direction of Chandradasan, a prominent theatre person, at Kochi, Kerala, India. This theatre company named as Lokadharmi has flourished as one of the important centre for theatre training, research and performance in India.


 

 

 

 

Lokadharmi
The name Lokadharmi is taken from Natyasastra, the ancient Indian manual on theatre written by Bharatha around 100 BC, a complete book on theatre that classifies and codifies dramatic structure, dramatic language, poetry, aesthetics, actor training, music, construction of theatre house and even the definition of a true spectator. It classifies theatre into Natyadharmi (stylized, abstract and based on an elaborate system of sign language that appeals to a connoisseur) and Lokadharmi (popular, closer to realistic, folk or the style of the people. It also means ‘concerned about the world and its affairs’)

 

 


 


 

 

 

 

 

The training School


The beginning was the theatre training school,
where actors were given intense training in acting and introduced them to the different acting systems from all over the world that included the traditional Indian theatre like that of Kathakali, Koodiyattam, and many folk forms like Mudiyettu, Padayani, Theyyam and a lot other narrative theatre forms widely existing in Kerala. Also the techniques from Greek Theatre, Theatre of Shakespeare, Modern theatre starting from Stanislavski and the method acting, Artuad and the theatre of Cruelty, Grotowski and the physical theatre, Brecht and epic theatre, to the newer experiments done by Peter Brook and Eugene Barba are used. While doing all this at and at the same time rooted deep in the theater and performance tradition of the land.

The study was also on the history and envelopment of theater all over through world; the change in perceptions of theatre and also on the different ages mould a theatre was undertaken. For convenience and clarity we designed a cyclic format for training that is broadly divided into different phases of one year duration focusing on Indian classical and Traditional Theatre, European classic theatre, the Kerala Theatre, Contemporary Indian Theatre, And the Modern Theatre all over the world.
The theatre training school has its regular sections on all Sundays and has been on the run without any break from October 1991. Faculty from all over the world has visited the school and done Workshops to train our artists.
Also Lokadharmi undertakes extension workshops at rural areas, schools and colleges to initiate theatre awareness among aspiring artists and art lovers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The repertory

The trained actors in the school form the repertory of the group, which is the performance unit of Lokadharmi, and has emerged as one of the important theatre centers of the country. The important productions include Karnnabharam (The weight on Karnna, an adaptation of a Sanskrit play by Bhasa), Chathankattu (an adaptation of William Shakespeare The Tempest), Poranadi (The outcast, a play by K.N.Panicker) Nandan Kadha (The story of Nandan, adaptation of the Tamil play by Indira Parthasarathy, Medea (adaptation of the Greek classic by Euripides), Charandas Chor (a children's version of the play by Habib Tanvir), and an eco political version of Macbeth all in Malayalam.
These productions were shown widely in the important theatre festivals all over India, winning popular appeal, critical acclaim and many coveted awards. The group was invited to Greece on August 2001 to the circle of south earth – an International Festival on Ancient Greek Drama. The performance of Medea in the cities of Pelos, Kalamatta, And Athens were accepted with much enthusiasm and rave reviews from the audience and critics.
These productions have won the best play, best director and best actor awards from the National Multilingual theatre festivals 1995and 1996 at Cuttack Orissa, Pataliputra Natya Mahotsav Patna, Bihar 1997and Kerala Amateur theatre festival Thiruvananthapuram 1997. Lokadharmi has performed in many national theatre festivals in various parts of India and also international theatre Olympiad in Cuttack 1996 and 1997.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Theatre laboratory

To find out and renew our theatrical language regular research are being done at this laboratory. These enquiries are theoretical as well as application oriented. One of the attempts is taken by actors is to create one-actor performances, for smaller groups of intimate audiences in which the acting ability of the performer and the sensibility of the spectator are renewed. The performance attempts to attain emotional ecstasies and creates an ambience that is beyond the current practices of theater. Also research projects are undertaken on various performance aspects. The various symposia, seminars, lectures, demonstrations, video projections etc organised by Lokadharmi with eminent scholars and practicing artists from all over the world, addressing the various issues, themes, topics and premises continue this search to renew the theatre idiom and practices. A theatre library has been set up under the name of 'Lokadharmi Nataka Granthasala.'

Lokadharmi dreams the emergence of a village theatre culture with immense energy rooted in Indian ethos and tradition and depicting Indian realities.


History

  • 1991 - Lokadharmi is launched.
  • 1992 - a ten-day theatre workshop with the veteran director Kavalam Narayana Panikker and the production of the play Janame jaya in the workshop.
  • 1993 - The play Karnnabharam is premiered.
  • 1994 - Organizing of a festival of three plays Kalo Basti, Andhakarer Dheu, and Ahalya performed by Alternate Living Theatre group Calcutta, directed by Probir Guha in Bengali language, at Tripunithura.
  • 1995 - Lokadharmi performs in the All India multi lingual theatre festival at Cuttack Orissa. It’s first ever performance outside Kerala. Wins the National award for the best play and best direction from the 110 plays from all over India.
  • 1995 - A workshop on masks, its use in traditional theatre of Kerala and its application in contemporary theatre.
  • 1995 - Production of Chathankattu an Indianised adaptation of The Tempest by Shakespeare is premiered.
  • 1995 - Performance of the play Karnnabharam at the Festival of Letters Bangalore organised by Sahitya Academy New Delhi.
  • 1996 - Performance of Karnnabharam in the International Theatre Olympiad in Cuttack, Orissa.
  • 1996 - A workshop on Mime with Gautam Majumdar (NSD, New Delhi).
  • 1996 - The play Poranadi, a play written by Kavalam Narayana Panikker in Malayalam is premiered.
  • 1997 - A national Theatre festival is organised in December with the collaboration of Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy at Tripunithura. The plays Seelavathi (Kannada play by Lalitha Kala Ranga Mariammanahalli, Karnataka, directed by M.B.Somanna;), Rai (Hindi play presented and directed by IPTA, Bhilai, Madhya Pradesh); Galileo (Tamil play by APTIST Pondicheri directed by Shibu.S.Kottaram;), Pancharathram (Malayalam play by School of drama Thrissur, directed by Ramesh Varma), Paani (Assamese play by Assam Acting Institute Gowhatty, directed by Indra Bania); Mavelipootham and Mandan Sipai (Children s plays in Malayalam presented by Rangachethana Thrissur directed by K.V.Ganesh), Manthareya Antharanga, (a Kannada monologue by Kalyani Bangalore, directed by Sandhya.S.) Meenai Maroo Louba- (Manipuri play by Elite Group of Performing Artists Imphal, Manipur, directed by Soibamcha Indrakumar) and Poranadi (performed by Lokadharmi directed by Chandradasan) have been performed. Also folk forms Ayyappan pattu, Kathakali, Seethankan Thullal, Ayyappan Thiyattu, Bihu dance, Yakshagana, Koodiyattam, Manipuri folk dance, Mohinayattam and Mudiyettu were showcased.
  • 1998 - performance of the play Poranadi in International Theatre Olympiad, Cuttack .
  • 1998 - A workshop on Acting in Classical theatre and its adaptation in contemporary theatre. Margi Madhu, eminent Koodiyattam artist collaborated with actors, directors and technicians from contemporary theatre along with the trained actors from Lokadharmi to exchange skills, techniques and methodology at Tripunithura in July 1998.
  • 1999, - An improvisation workshop with Tuire Hindikka, Pirkko Kurikka (both from Finland).
  • 1999 - Premiere of the Malayalam adaptation of Nandan Kadha by the Tamil Playwright Indira Parthasarathy.
  • 1999 - The initiation of the Natakasala, an interactive body between artists and audience aimed to create a heightened theatre awareness, through sponsoring of productions would be followed by critical discussions between the Natakasala members and the visiting directors and actors.
  • 1999 – performance of Karnnabharam in Pataliputra Natya Mahotsav, Patna, Bihar, 1999 organised by East Zone Cultural center and Dept. Of Culture Govt. Of Bihar.
  • 1999 – Hosting of the Finnish play Louhi and the Golden Girl performed by Theatre Pussuki, Finland, directed by Tuire Hindikka.
  • 1999 - Performance of Nandan Kadha in Nataka Bharathi – National Theatre Festival-2000, organised by Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy, at Eranakulam.
  • 2000 - A ten-day workshop on Children's theatre at Tripunithura.
  • 2001 – Premiere of the Indian adaptation of the Greek Classic Medea by Euripides directed by Chandradasan in Malayalam.
  • 2001 - Lokadharmi visited Greece with its Indianised adaptation of Medea, the Greek classic by Euripides to participate and perform in “the circle of south earth”-an International Festival on Ancient Greek Drama from August 24 to September 1 and performed in the Ancient theatres in the cities of Pelos, Kalamatta and in the Petra theatre of Athens. Critics, scholars and the audience accepted this first ever-overseas performance of Lokadharmi with great enthusiasm and appreciation.


Lokadharmi in Greece

  • 2001 A ten-day workshop on Noh theatre and its encounter with the martial art form of Kerala- Kalarippayattu - with Emily Curtis (Noh artist from Australia living in Tokyo, Japan) and Narayanan Embranthiri the Kalarippayattu guru.
  • 2001 - Organization of the international festival at Aluva Kerala in which, Medea (Theatre Fiasko, Finland, dir. Tuire Hindikka), Karimchuzhi (Thalai-k-kol Pondicheri, directed by V.Arumukam) Medea (By Lokadharmi, directed by Chandradasan) was performed.
  • 2001 – A one month workshop at Honnali Karnataka for Holeranga, an eco theatre group and production in an environment theatre of the Kannada play Maduve Hennu (The Bride, A Kannada play written by H.S.Shivaprakash, art by Sudheer Babu and directed by Chandradasan.)
  • 2002 - A workshop on Chau dance and Choreography with Pandit Gopal Prasad Dubey (the Chau guru from Saraikkala, Jharghand).
  • 2002 - Performance of the play Medea in the fourth Bharath Rang Mahotsav organised by NSD at New Delhi in March 2002.
  • 2002 - A ten-day Children's workshop at Edappally in May 2002 and the eventual launching of a permanent Children's theatre wing under Lokadharmi, named Mazhavillu (Rainbow). This group meets on all Saturdays and does plays, improvisations, and theatre games for children under the age of 17.
  • 2002 A five day workshop on physical theatre by Patrick Vella and Clare Agius from curtain raiser theatre group Malta Europe, was organised. The performance of The Kandor, a play devised and enacted by the Curtain raiser theatre group was part of the workshop.
  • The play Medea was performed in The Multi lingual Theatre festival organised by Progressive dramatic association at Pune, Maharashtra in October and also in the National Festival by chorus Ahmedabad, Gujarat in November.
  • 2002 premiere of the children's version of Charandas Chor (Charandas, the thief) by Habib Tanvir performed by Mazhavillu.
  • 2002. An eco political performance of Macbeth directed by Chandradasan on a special space designed was premiered on 20th December at Changampuzha Park Edappally, Kochi as part of the International Artists meet.
  • 2003 - Mazhavillu, the children’s theatre wing performs Charandas Chor in The Soorya festival Trivandrum, International Children’s Drama Festival New Delhi organised by NIPA and IATA Copenhagen Denmark and also in Sooryotsav Cochin.
  • 2003. The premiere of Andha yugam, a multi media production based on andha yug, a lyrical play written by Dharmaveer Bharathi, translated from Hindi by A Aravindakshan

     

     

    Lokadharmi is governed by a group of eminent theatre persons, artists, journalists and scholars. The members to the board of directors are Chandradasan (artistic director), Dr.K.G.Paulose, Theatre critic, Scholar, and Organizer (administrative director and Chairman), T.A. Satyapal, Artist, Organizer and social worker (vice chairman) Sudheer Babu, actor, Musician and artist (Secretary), V.R.Selvaraj, Actor, Musician, and Folk Artist (Joint-secretary) Sunilkrishnan. N.K , Artist, (Treasurer) and Jeejabhai K.V. artist and costumer, Vijayan.P.M, Actor, folk artist, K.Pradeep, Journalist and Theatre Critic ( members to the board of directors).

    Also we have an eminent Advisory Board constituting of Kavalam Narayana Panikker, (Playwright, Director, and Poet), Dr. Vayala Vasudevan Pillai (Playwright, Director, Academician), T.M. Abraham (Playwright, and Director), Pandit Gopal Prasad Dube (Chau dancer and choreographer), Ramesh Varma (Actor and Director) Thankom Vasudevan Nair (Actress) and T. Kaladharan (Artist).

    and directed by Sudheer Babu.

Director Board

 


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