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The Team

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Kalaimamani Kannappa Thambiran

Thiru. Kannappa Thambiran, represents the fourth generation of the Purisai Theru-k-koothu artistes. He has been performing for 70 years. He started his training in his 10th year under the illustrious Koothu artiste and his father, Purisai Duraisamy Thambiran and paternal uncle, Raghava Thambiran. He has witnessed the courses the art has taken over the last half a century. Today he represents the only major source of the northern style of Theru-k-koothu. He has mastered the art and its sources. He can compose, improvise the revels the many splendoured aspects of the art. He draws his texts from the traditional sources, adding to them his proficiency in major classical texts in Tamil.

Thiru. Kannappa Thambiran has won several awards and honors. The Sangeet Natak Akademy ( Government of India) conferred on him the prestigious national award. Hw is a recipient of Kalaimamani title conferred by Tamil Nadu Eyal Esai Nataka Madram. He has been awarded a fellowship by the Union Ministry of Education and Culture.

Thiru. Kannappa Thambiran has been alert to need to adopt the traditional form to new context. The two major attempts in such adaptation he has demonstrated the strength and flexibility of the Theru-k-koothu art. He composed a Koothu text for the Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez “The old man with huge-wings” for a performance in Koothu style. This production was staged at the 5th International theater festival 1996 at Bogotá, Columbia, winning critical acclaim. Similarly, he composed and choreographed Bertolt Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle performed as part of Brecht’s centenary in 1998. He has also composed the music for the collaborative production ‘ God has changed his name’ with Dr. Avanthi Meduri and Koothu-p-pattarai, Chennai.

Kannappa Kasi

Kannappa Kasi Thambiran, a fifth generation Theru-k-koothu artiste, was born to Kannappa Thambiran and Kannammal as the second child in 1945 in the village Purisai in the present Thiruvanamalai District. He completed his school education in Chennai. He has been performing for nearly 30 years now in his father’s troupe Purisai Duraisami Kannappa Thambiran Parambarai Therukoothu Manram, in the most important and demanding role as Kattiyakaran. He has performed all over the India. He has accompanied his troupe at the festival of India performances in France (1985), Sweden (1987). He has also performed in Singapore (1990), Colombia (1996) and France (1997). The important cultural festival he has performed includes SAARC festival (1984), Madras Festival organized by South Zone Cultural Centre (1984), Interstate Cultural Exchange Programme (1982) in U.P., Apna Utsav (1988). He has trained students in Koothu at the National School of Drama, New Delhi (1986,1987), Students at Central University, Pondicherry (1989, 1991,1994); he has participated in the International Theatre Workshop at Alwaye (1992,1994).


Kasi is also actively interacting with contemporary theatre in Tamil. He has participating in many plays of Koothu-p-pattarai and workshops conducted by internationally well know theatre directors like Peter Brook (1989), John Martin (1984, 1991), Inga Mayer (1985,1990), Prof.S.Ramanujam (1992), Anmol Vellani(1991) and N.Muthuswamy (several years).

Kalaimamani Dr.P.K.Sambandan

Born 1953. Younger son of Kalaimamani Purisai Kannappa Thambiran.A fifth generation artiste of the Purisai School of Therukoothu. He have been performing since 1977 in the main roles. In 1977 He participated in the National School of Drama workshop conducted by Bansi Kaul at Gandhigram. Later participated in the workshops of Badal Sircar and Ingbor Mayor. He conducted workshops Therukoothu at National School of Drama - New Delhi, International Theatre Workshop – Alwaye, the Central University – Pondicherry, Bhaskar’s Arts Academy - Singapore. He directed the Group’s Koothu version of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘An Old Man with Huge Wings’, for 5th International Theatre Festival at Bogotá, Colombia in 1996. Also directed the Brecht centenary Koothu production ‘Caucasian Chalk Circle’ in 1998, Thenali Raman and Basan’s Dhoodha Gadothgajan. He choreographed production ‘God has changed his name’ between Koothu-p-pattarai and Dr.Avanthi Meduri. He choreographed the Therukoothu part in Ms. Arianne Mnouchkine’s “Une Chambre En Inde” of Theatre du Soleil, Paris, France.

Sambandan got Sangeet Natak Akademi award in acting for the year 2012. He was conferred the Honorary Doctorate from Tamilnadu Dr.J.Jayalalitha Music and Fine Arts University in the year 2020 and also conferred the prestigious title Kalaimamani by the Tamilnadu state Eyal, Isai, Natak Mandram in 1995. He also has given a scholarship under the Young talented artiste scheme of the Union Ministry of Culture, Government of India in 1985. He was also conferred the prestigious Title Nataka Thamizh Ariangar by Pongu Thamizh Arrakattalai in the Year 2002, Dakshina Chitra Kalai Virudhu by Madras Craft Foundation in the year 2004, Podhigai Award by Chennai Doordharshan in the year 2007, Nritya Kala Nipuna Award by Nrityalaya Aesthetics Society, Singapore (2008), Kalai Sudar award by Tamilnadu Progressive Writers and Artistes association in the year 2014 . He also got Dr.M.A.Chidambaram Chettiar award for his excellence in Fine Arts in the year 2015, Naataar Kalai Kon- special award in Folk arts by Abhai(Association of Bharathanatyam artistes of India) in the year 2022 and Nanban Arts and Crafts Award in the year 2023.

Sambandan has accompanied his troupe in all major performance within India and abroad. He has performed in France (1985, 1997, 2018 & 2019), Sweden (1987), Singapore (1990), Colombia (1996), Singapore (2004, 2005 & 2008), the USA (2006), La ReUnion (2008) and SriLanka (2009).

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