Therukoothu, an ancient Indian Theatre form of Tamil Nadu
Therukoothu is an ethnic folk art of India. It is an ancient Indian Theatre form of Tamil Nadu. “Theru” means street and “Koothu” means play. Therukoothu is usually performed on the streets in the open, mostly during temple festivals in villages. It has been practiced in the state of Tamilnadu for several centuries. In the olden days only men took active roles in Therukoothu program. Men used to dress up like females and enact female roles. Nowadays this art form is very much evolved and Women take part in this art form the open air. All artists have very powerful voices and they do not require mikes for their performance.
It has always been highly narrative since inception and it uses reciting, singing, music and dancing as its main elements. This art form is more popular in the northern Tamil Nadu State than other parts of Tamilnadu. It has no formal dance structure and usually is organised in the summer months of an year in Tamilnadu.
Therukoothu is one of the many rural art forms which are on the verge of dying. As an effort to conserve this folk art form as well as other folk art forms of Tamilnadu, and also, to encourage the practicing artists, the, Management of Perks Matriculation Higher Secondary school decided to often conduct programs in its campus and introduce these art forms to the younger generation.
Udalveli Art Foundation is a Non-Profit organization founded by the talented Mr. Dharanidharan. He aims to revive and bring back the culture of live audiences and the lost forms of Indian Theatre. Udalveli recently collaborated with Theatre Akku to bring us “ADAVU” – a play based on Therukoothu. The main character in the play Duchathanan was played by accomplished Theatre artist Mr. Kumar Kaliyaperumal. The Storyteller, the musicians and the other supporting artists have all undergone rigorous training in theatre and exceled on the stage. Mr. Vetri wrote this play.
Our first audiences came 1 hour before the play was to be staged and they had the opportunity to see the artists up close while they were make-up. We were delighted to welcome audience of all ages for the show. We could really see some grandparents come with their grandchildren and reminiscence about their childhood during village temple festivals and how they had seen Therukoothu with their families.
The play was a 45 minute show with the combination of song, music and drama which kept the audience spell bound. It was surely an evening to remember for everyone who witnessed the play. Our deepest gratitude for the performers of the play and the audience.