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In its bid to preserve and promote the lingering vestige of Sanskrit theatre of India sustained in Kerala, the Sangeet Natak Akademi, National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama and an autonomous body of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India, launched a Kutiyattam Project in 1990-91. The Project was designed as a total care programme and it provided regular support to the handful institutions and artists existing in the field, by way of funding training and regular performances, maintenance etc.
The Kutiyattam Kendra, Thiruvananthapuram, is a logical development of Akademi’s project in support of Kutiyattam. It has been set up as a ‘Centre for Kutiyattam’ meant to provide support to the entire field of this classical Sanskrit theatre. The Kendra was inaugurated by the then Governor of Kerala Shri. R. L. Bhatia in the presence of the then Chairman of the Akademi Shri. Ram Niwas Mirdha on 27th May 2007.
In addition, the Kendra has instituted a monthly ‘Gurudakshina’ to veteran Gurus who have significantly contributed to sustain the tradition against all odds. The Kendra also conducts performances, workshops, interactive lecture-demonstrations, etc at frequent intervals to disseminate the art, with an increased focus on the youngsters. Since August 2012, a regular venue for the art has been provided – marked by performances on the evenings of every first and third Wednesday at the Government Museum, Thiruvananthapuran, in collaboration wth the Department of Museum, Govt of Kerala. From November 2015 onwards, in association with Naimisharanyam Festival, Kannur, the Kendra is conducting monthly performances on the second Wednesday of every month at Jawahar Library Hall (Near Old Bus stand), Kannur. Programmes at these venues to start at dot 6 pm with a class on hand gestures and lecture-demonstration on the episode under performance by a competent practising artist. The priority is being accorded to outstanding young artists who are from outside the traditional communities and are deprived of traditional and ritual performance space like the temples.