In October 1991, twenty-five theatre enthusiasts comprising of actors, musicians, artists and scholars started working together under the direction of Chandradasan, a prominent theatre person, at Kochi, Kerala, India. This theatre company named as Lokadharmi has flourished as one of the important centre for theatre training, research and performance in India.

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Lokadharmi The name Lokadharmi is taken from Natyasastra, the ancient Indian Manual on theatre, written by Bharatha around 100 BC; a complete book on theatre that classifies and codifies dramatic structure, dramatic language, poetry, aesthetics, actor training, music, construction of theatre house, and even the definition of a true spectator. It classifies theatre into Natyadharmi (stylized, abstract and based on an elaborate system of sign language that appeals to a connoisseur) and Lokadharmi (popular, closer to realistic, folk or the style of the people. It also has a meaning ‘concerned about the world and its affairs’)

karnnabharam group Lokadharmi group after the performance of Karnabharam

The Training School The beginning was the theatre training school, where actors were given intense training in acting and introduced them to different acting systems from all over the world that included traditional Indian theatre like that of Kathakali, Koodiyattam, and many folk forms like Mudiyettu, Padayani, Theyyam and other narrative theatre forms. Also the techniques from Greek theatre, Shakespearean theatre, Modern theatre starting from Stanislavski and his method of acting, Artuad and the theatre of Cruelty, Grotowski and the physical theatre, Brecht and epic theatre, to the newer experiments done by Peter Brook and Eugene Barba, are introduced. While doing all this, we are rooted deep in the theater and performance tradition of our land.

getting-ready The history and envelopment of theater all over the world was also featured; the change in perceptions of theatre through the different ages was undertaken. For convenience and clarity we designed a cyclic format for training that is broadly divided into different phases of one year duration focusing on Indian classical and traditional theatre, European classic theatre, the Kerala theatre, Contemporary Indian theatre, and the Modern theatre all over the world.

workshop with zita

The theatre training school has its regular sections on all Sundays and has been on the run without any break from October 1991. Faculty from all over the world has visited the school and done workshops to train our artists.
Lokadharmi also undertakes extension workshops at rural areas, schools and colleges to initiate theatre awareness among aspiring artists and art lovers.

The repertory. The trained actors in the school form the repertory of the group, which is the central performance unit of Lokadharmi. The important productions include Karnnabharam (The anguish of Karnna, an adaptation of a Sanskrit play by Bhasa), Chathankattu (an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest), Poranadi (The outcast, a play by K.N.Panicker) Nandan Kadha (The story of Nandan, adaptation of the Tamil play by Indira Parthasarathy, Medea (adaptation of the Greek classic by Euripides), Charandas Chor (a children's version of the play by Habib Tanvir), Paattabakki (The Balance Lease - a the first political play in Malayalam written by K.Damodaran) and Ubu Maharaja (Ubu Roi – a parody in/of theatre written by Alfred Jarry) Panjara Saala (the prison/school) written by BV Karanth and Alibabayum Nalpathu Kallanmarum (Alibaba and Forty Thieves) written by Chandrasekhar Kambar, all directed by Chandradasan; Madhura Kandam (The Madhura Episode - written by HS Shivaprakash and directed by R.Raju produced in collaboration with NSD RRC, Andha Yugam (The Dark Age - based the Hindi play by Dharmaveer Bharathi directed by Sudheer Babu and Mathavilasa-Bhagavadajjukam a juxtaposition of two Sanskrit comedies written by Mahendra Vikrama Varman & Bodhayan directed by V.R.Selvaraj, Innalathe Mazha (an environmental theatre production based on the novel by N.Mohanan scripted & directed by Ullas Mavilai).

These productions were shown widely in the important theatre festivals all over India, winning popular appeal, critical acclaim and many coveted awards.from-l-to-r-habib-tanvirchandradasansaleema-raza

The play Karnnabharam, won the distinguished META National Award 2008 (Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Award) for the Best Play, Best Costume Design and Best Set Design.


The group was traveled to Greece on August 2001 to perform in ‘the circle of south earth – an International Festival on Ancient Greek Drama’. The performance of Medea in the cities of Pelos, Kalamatta and Athens were accepted with much enthusiasm and rave reviews from the audience and critics.  group phot in greece

Theatre Laboratory Regular researches are being done at this theatre laboratory to find out and renew our theatrical language. These enquiries are theoretical as well as practical. One of the attempts is taken by actors to create one-actor performances, for smaller groups of intimate audiences in which the acting ability of the performer and the sensibility of the spectator are renewed. The performance attempts to attain emotional ecstasies and creates an ambience that is beyond the current practice of theater. Also research projects are undertaken on various performance aspects. The various symposia, seminars, lectures, demonstrations, video projections etc organised by Lokadharmi with eminent scholars and practicing artists from all over the world addressing various issues, themes, topics and premises continue this search to renew the theatre idiom and practices. A theatre library has been set up under the name of 'Lokadharmi Nataka Granthasala’ (Lokadharmi Theatre Library).

Lokadharmi dreams the emergence of a village theatre culture with immense energy rooted in Indian ethos and tradition, depicting Indian realities.

Director Board

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).

Also we have an eminent Advisory Board constituting of Kavalam Narayana Panikkar, (Playwright, Director & Poet), T.M. Abraham (Playwright & Director), Gopan Chidamparam (Director & Academician), Shirly Somasundaran (Actor, Playwright & Director) and Adv. Jayaraj (Folklorist).