LOKADHARMI is a centre for theatre training, research and performance, established in 1991 by a collective of theatre enthusiasts in Kochi.. During its formative days it was known as Bhasabheri Nataka Sala. It was renamed as Lokadharmi in 1997. The Lokadharmi Centre for theatre which started with a membership of 25 has now expanded to a strong team of 300 members. It is registered under The Travancore-Cochin Literary, Scientific and Charitable Societies Registration Act, 1955.
Lokadharmi is governed by a group of eminent theatre persons, artists, journalists and scholars. The Board of Directors includes Chandradasan (Artistic Director), Dr.K.G.Paulose, theatre critic and scholar, previous Vice Chancellor of Kerala Kalamandalam (Chairman), Babu Methar, organizer and journalist (Vice Chairman), Madan Kolavil, actor and organizer (Secretary), V.R.Selvaraj, actor, musician, and folk artist (Treasurer), Vijayan.P.M, actor and folk artist (member), Kalamandalam Prabhakaran, Ottanthullal artist & choreographer (member), Shobha Menon, visual artist (member), and Roshan Andrews, film maker (member). Lokadharmi also has an Advisory Board consisting of eminent personalities, such as Kavalam Narayana Panikkar, (playwright, director & poet), T.M. Abraham (playwright & director), Gopan Chidambaram (director, writer & academician), Shirly Somasundaran (actor, playwright & director) and Adv. Jayaraj (folklorist).
Lokadharmi is now one of the foremost theatre companies in India. It has established its presence in the theatre scene in India with 34 productions, of which 7 were collaborative works with different theatre groups from India and abroad and 7 were children’s plays performed by Mazhavillu, the children’s theatre wing of Lokadharmi. Lokadharmi has been conducting its acting training sessions on Sundays continuously from 1991, where hundreds of actors and technicians got training. Many of the alumni of Lokadharmi have established themselves as theatre and movie actors, theatre and movie directors, academicians, theatre writers, and technicians. Many distinguished theatre directors, actors, musicians, technicians, academicians, and researchers from various parts of the world have associated with Lokadharmi in their creative pursuit, sharing their expertise with the artists of Lokadharmi. Seven of our artists have been awarded with the junior fellowships, eleven with senior scholarships and seven with CCRT scholarships by the Department of Culture, Government of India.
ACTIVITIES: Beginning with Karnabharam (1991), its maiden play, Lokadharmi has always remained in the cultural spotlight of Kochi with successive programmes such as plays, theatre workshops and seminars. Over the years, Lokadharmi has brought alive on stage as much as 40 theatre productions. ‘Draupadi’, ‘Medea’, ‘Charandas Chor’, ‘Poranadi’, ‘Lankalakshmi’, Bommanahalliyile Kinnara Yogi are just some of the other major productions from the Lokadharmi repertory. Lokadharmi group has extensively toured India with several of its productions. It has about 500 performances to its credit till date. Lokadharmi has performed in many of the important International and national theatre Festivals in different cities of India, which were received with critical and popular acclaim. Lokadharmi has performed the plays Medea (Euripides), Poranadi (the outcaste by Kavalam Narayana Panikkar), Karnabharam (The anguish of Karna, by Bhasa) and Lankalakshmi (by C.N. Sreekantan Nair) in Bharat Rang Mahotsav, the International Theatre Festival of India at New Delhi. Medea was also staged at the International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama in Greece held in the cities of Pelos, Kalamatta and Athens. Lokadharmi received for ‘Karnabharam’, the coveted Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) in 2008 for Best Play, Best Costume Design and Best Stage Design. With it, Lokadharmi became the first regional language group to bag META accolades. Lokadharmi was empanelled by ICCR in 2012. Chandradasan, the artistic director received the Kerala Sangeet Natak Academy award 2004 for his overall contribution to theatre. Two other leading members of the group, Bijibal, and Roshan Andrews, have won national and state awards for music direction and film direction respectively.
Time and again Lokadharmi has taken its outreach activities to educational institutions in the state with a special stress on rural areas. It has also been conducting a weekly session on Sundays to impart theatre training to both children and adults. Lokadharmi’s theatre wing for children is known as Mazhavillu (rainbow).
As an institution focusing on theatre through its plays and related activities, Lokadharmi could bring about a dramatic change in Kochi’s perception of theatre. Lokadharmi can rightfully take credit for reviving a creative ambience for theatre activities in the city of Kochi, inspiring many to look at theatre seriously. Many well known performers have chosen Lokadharmi to be the launch pad of their creative careers.
NEW DREAM for OWN SPACE- Lokadharmi has been conducting its workshops, training sessions, rehearsals and performances at different venues like Changampuzha Park (Edappally),Govt. Sanskrit College (Tripunithura), and also in some rented spaces in and around Kochi. One major problem we have been facing is the lack of a proper, permanent space for performance and rehearsals as well as to keep and preserve theatre equipments. In fact, Kerala lacks anywhere in the state, a proper theatre space equipped with proper acoustics, lights and other technical support needed for staging plays, where continuous shows can take place throughout the year.
In this scenario, Lokadharmi dreams to set up its own space to house its activities; a permanent space that can facilitate theatre performance, research and training and also functioning as a meeting point of different performance forms, artists, connoisseurs and experts….
Our dream is to have an intimate theatre with a capacity of around 200, with a flexible performance space that can be adapted to productions in proscenium, theatre in the round, sandwich, thrust and specially designed spaces; a space which can meet the varied space designs as demanded by the new emerging experiments in theatre, facilitated with acoustics, lights, and other technologies.
We are thinking of a space within 20 kilometers from the heart of the city of Kochi, in the serenity of a village, away from the hustles of the city, but easily accessible by road. This space should be suitable for serious theatre to function and grow and at the same time easily connected with the Kochi urban-scape
· An intimate theatre with around 200 seats. This space should be flexible to adapt itself to performances in proscenium, sandwich, and arena, theatre in the round or any other designed spaces.
· This space should have state of the art technology, acoustics, lighting devices and controls, projection systems, air conditioning, proper green room etc that would facilitate the new needs of performances and comforts of viewing.
· A Performance library, with books, dvd and other digital material on theatre, plays and other performance forms. This will be a unique space that facilitates research and documentation.
· A bigger outdoor performance landscape than can hold spectacles and engage audience upto 1000 along with an intimate in-house theatre
· A rehearsal space, a conference area, space for performance workshop (these three can be conceived as one)
· A technical work area, (where carpentry, set making, mask, property and costume making, painting etc) can be done.
· Provision to store set, stage furniture, properties, costumes, music instruments, lighting equipment etc.
· Provision for office, box office room, administration room, technician’s room, office of the director etc.
· Guest rooms and dormitory that can house visiting artists and research scholars.
· Cafeteria and other public utility spaces; and a kitchen.
Maintenance and administration of the space will be equally important as its design and construction.
We look forward to your valuable suggestions and ideas with regard to site selection, design & architecture, technical amenities, sources for financial and other resources and anything else that matters. Since this dream is so big and important for us and for the growth of theatre in and around Kochi and the state, we need collaboration, pooling of experience and expertise from all those who are concerned about theatre.
Let us join together to make this dream a reality. Please contribute in Planning, Executing, and Generating Resources.
Please email your responses and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone – 09447414200.