Kalari Theatre Workshops - A Report

The KALARI Folk Cultural Centre was set up by the Kottar Catholic Diocese in 1994.( ’Kalari’ means ’battlefield’). Since then this Centre has been promoting various traditional art forms and offering training programmes in various parts of Tamil Nadu and the nearby States. Dr. Vincent P.Wilson, a Catholic Priest, has done a doctorate in this field and is fully committed to the cause of this Centre. Throughout the year they conduct different Theatre and Folk Art workshops and training programmes in a very systematic manner. During the month of May, 2007 two workshops were conducted there. A&D selected 15 persons from different NGOs for the first workshop and 24 persons for the second workshop.

 Shirley Rebello

Street Theatre Workshop :
The one-week Street Theatre Workshop was inaugurated on 6th May, 2007 at Kalari Folk Cultural Centre, Nagercoil. Fifteen candidates from six organizations participated in this workshop. They were sponsored by A&D.

The participants of this workshop gave a presentation of their programme in a village called Alanchy on 12th May evening. The villagers appreciated and enjoyed this programme. At the end of this programme, all the participants of the workshop were given a Certificate by Kalari. This workshop concluded on 13th morning with a written and oral feedback. The overall impression of the participants was that the workshop was an informative and enriching experience.

Folk Art Training :
A 10-day Folk Art Training began on 20th May at Kalari Folk Cultural Centre, Nagercoil. There were altogether 47 candidates. Out of these A&D sponsored 24 candidates. As per the original plan 15 candidates had attended the one-week Street Theatre Workshop in the same venue from 6th to 13th May. They all came back to participate in this second training too. In addition to these 15 candidates, A&D had sponsored 10 other candidates from different NGOs.

The participants were taught six types of dance forms and puppetry. The unique feature of this training program was the daily worship that consisted of Respect to Mother Earth, Respect to Teachers and Respect to the Musical Instruments. On 29th May the participants of this training program presented various dances and songs at Madathattuvilai village. The people of this village enjoyed their performance. At the end of this program the participants were presented with Kalari Training Certificates. Radha Kunke, the Executive Director of A&D-India, distributed these Certificates and appreciated their performance. This training program concluded on 30th May with a Valedictory Session consisting of oral and written feedback of the participants.