Creative collective

(From left) Martin C. John, Saji Kadampattil and Sanandan Sankaran, members of Oorali bandPhoto: Sachindev   | Photo Credit: Sachindev

‘Creativity is contagious, pass it on’. Albert Einstein’s famous quote defines best the creative pursuits of Sadhana Centre for Creative Practice. And their performance in the city today is just one among the many interventions of this collective that works towards learning and understanding art and the artiste, be it in theatre, dance, music or visual art.

Based at Manakkudy in Thrissur district, Sadhana, in the words of Martin C. John, its founder-director, is where “art is treated as practice, not as something meant for competition”. It is a “vibrant family” with musicians, dancers, theatre artists, visual artists, actors, martial artists, yoga practitioners, Ayurveda doctors, academicians, traditional art practitioners… as members, who collaborate with productions of the group at various points of time.

Sadhana was born as a result of theatre activist Martin’s work in Latin American countries, particularly Chile. “I met Chilean theatre artiste Elias Cohen when he came down to Kerala and, eventually, I joined him after finishing my course in the School of Drama, Thrissur,” says Martin.

Since its official launch in 2010, Sadhana has been presenting plays and music shows, holding workshops and seminars and has collaborated with artistes from Chile for theatre productions.

Residential workshops for foreign students are also conducted.

“We cover themes such as art, philosophy, education and culture, and the like. When we have a performance, we come up with ideas depending on the space available. More than being just spectators we expect our audience to be part of what we do,” says Martin.

For example, Sadhana’s Odichodichu – Oru Bus Natakam is actually staged in an open bus. “It is a bus carnival. On the day of the performance, we meet up with kids in the area and organise different activities for them, related to theatre, music or art. We sometimes come up with workshops, installations or exhibitions before staging the play in the evening,” Martin explains.

‘Oorali’ is the latest venture from Sadhana. It is totally different from a conventional music band, the group says. “We call it a contemporary conversational band. Our songs are based around contemporary themes. We interact with the audience and involve them by making them play an instrument or sing or dance with us,” says Martin.

Oorali performs at Gandhi Park today as part of One Billion Rising campaign organised by Sakhi Women’s Resource Centre, Vanchiyoor. Time: 6.30 p.m.


Martin, an alumnus of the School of Drama, has worked in Chile for eight years. An actor, director and theatre musician, he has associated with music bands in Chile as a singer and percussionist. He has taught at various universities in Chile and was a guest actor at National Theatre, Chile.

In addition to Martin, the core members of the team are Shaji Surendranath and Saji Kadampattil. There are a bunch of artistes from across the state who associate with Sadhana as and when required. Sadhana has produced five plays and many collaborative productions. Their play After the Silence featuring foreign artistes won four awards at Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards (META) in 2013: best lighting designer (Shaji Surendranath), best innovative sound design (Claudio Clavija), best actress (Valeria Olguin Espinoza) and best choreographer (Martin C. John). Shaji is the lyricist of Oorali. Martin, Saji, Sanandan Sankaran and Abhilash A.B. are the members. “Oorali is a term taken from Padayani, it stands for ‘spokesperson’,” Martin says.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 5:43:21 PM |

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