Ottan Thullal: A Vanishing Indian Preforming Art

In satisfaction of my PhD dissertation at McGill University, I intend to conduct both archival and field research on Ottan Thullal, a classical art form from Kerala, India. This surviving art form embodies an intangible cultural heritage which is on the verge of disappearing from the historical record. This dissertation aims to trace the historical origins of Ottan Thullal and document the knowledge of its few practitioners. This performance tradition combines dance with music and poetry written in the Malayalam language. Part of this research will entail the documentation and analysis of the Malayalam poetry which is incorporated and adapted into the performance. I plan to collaborate with Dr. Philip John, Professor of Malayalam at Deva Matha College (affiliated with Mahatma Gandhi University) in Kottayam, Kerala, for this project. The results of this collaboration will go a long way in safeguarding the knowledge, techniques and foundations of Ottan Thullal.

Faculty Supervisor:

Samuel Nelson


Helena Reddington






McGill University



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