(Last Updated on : 18/06/2012)
Theatre of Tamil Nadu has an ancient and a rich tradition which defines the popular theatre of today. Ancient Sangam literature of Tamil Nadu
, the epical works like Shilappadhikaram, provides evidences of the rich theatrical culture of South India. The theatre in the Southern Part of India was initiated in the 8th century AD. Tamil theatre had its roots in dance too and dance performances by noted artistes enriched the acting. The drama was staged with explanation of the theme. Tamil theatre was structured and a great deal of play composition were experimented by the stalwarts of Tamil Theatre
. The theatre in Tamil Nadu journeyed through the ages and reached to this modern period with the constant effort and commitment of the Theatre Personalities of Tamil Nadu.
In its earlier form, Tamil theatre was known as "koothu". Tamil Koothu was basically a dance performance and had one variant the kattai koothu. Koothu formed an integral part of the religious rituals in those days. The coming of the British brought about a revolution in the Tamil theatre. Most of the plays were staged with an aim to characterise the existing moods. Reformist ideas were very notion that created the Tamil Theatre. The modern Tamil theatre however evolved, as the Indian Theatre
has absorbed the cultural richness of the classical drama, the folk traditions of the medieval times and above all the influence of the West. In those developing phases of Tamil theatre several Theatre Personalities of Tamil Nadu contributed for its contemporary growth. The commencement of modern Indian theatre
can be traced to the days of S. P. Srinivasan and S. Ramanujam
and M Karunanidhi
Annadurai Canjeevaram Natarajan
was another distinguished Theatre Personalities of Tamil Nadu
. He was popularly known as the "Bernard Shaw of Tamil" and pioneered the drama of ideas. Annadurai Canjeevaram Natarajan was regarded as the revolutionary of Tamil theatre. His popular plays include propagandist Chandrodayam i.e. 'Moonrise' and the historical Sivaji kanda indu samrajyam i.e. "The Hindu Empire Founded by Shivaji
. Theatre personality G. Swaminathan was also regarded as the one of the innovative performer. His famous play Bhagavata Mela
received recognition. At the age of 15, his interest in acting made him renowned. He was trained under all the surviving maestros, including Balu Bhagavatar.