Till the end of 19th century A.D., the drama art form did not gain much attention or significance. This was due to the dominance of temple-theatre art forms such as Koodiyattam, Thullal and Kathakali. However, there was
Kakkakrissinatakam, which is an an art form that blends music, dialogue, dance and drama. The advent of Portuguese helped the development of a theatre form Chavittunatakam and the Christians who lived primarily in central Kerala staged plays on the history of Charlemagne, Jacob of the Old Testament



When Valia Koyil Thampuran translated Kalidasa's Abhinjana Sakuntalam in 1882, drama gathered attention. Abhinjana Sakuntalam gave way for a good number of translations and borrowings from Sanskrit, and English and other foreign languages. C. V. Raman Pillai also produced adaptations of English neo-classical dramas and wrote a model Malayalam satire drama entitled Kurupilla Kalari. His successor E. V. Krishna Pillai had written many farces that helped to form a new dramatic tradition in Malayalam.

Thottakkat Ikkavamma

Thottakkat Ikkavamma, was the first woman dramatist in Malayalam who wrote the play Subhadrarjunam. Drama played a vital role in the growth of Communism and revolutionary thoughts among the common people that resulted in the emerging of a new political culture in the state. Thoppil Bhasi's socialist realist play Ningal Enne Communistakki (1952) was staged by the KPAC (Kerala People's Arts Club) widely in the state. Contributions of C. J. Thomas, N.Krishna Pillai, N. N. Pillai, K. T. Muhammad Ponkunnam Varky, C. N. Srikantan Nair, Kainikkara Kumara Pillai, Thikodiyan, T. N. Gopinathan Nair, K. T. Muhammad, P. R. Chandran, C. L. Jose and a good number of other litterateur helped the refinement of the drama and emergence of touring theater companies, which became a major cultural part of Kerala. Kerala also witnessed a new wave of post-modern drama in the mainstream theatre. G. Sankara Pillai, Vayala Vasudevan Pillai, Vasu Pradeep, Kadavoor Chandran Pillai, S. Ramesan Nair, Narendra Prasad and Kavalam Narayana Panickar were the leaders of the new generation theatre. Efforts are also going on to re-link modern theatre with traditional ritual theatre.


Left to right:EV Krishna pillai, NN Pillai, Thoppil Bhasi, CNSreekantan Nair, G.Sankara
Pillai, Kavalam and K.T.Muhammad.

School of Drama

School of Drama was established at Aranattukara in Thrissur District in the year 1977. The institution is functioning under the University of Calicut. It conducts a three-year course in Bachelor of Theatre Arts, Direction, Acting, Children's Theatre etc., are the subjects, which are being taught here. The activities of the School have created awareness about serious theatre among the public.