K.Kochunarayana Pillai

K. Kochunarayana Pillai hails from a family of artists. He began his career as a teacher. Defying traditional methods he introduced innovative teaching methods. He has also reputation as an actor, director and researcher of theatre.

Rangaprabhath is the brain-child of K. Kochunarayana Pillai, teacher by profession and an actor by inclination. As the founder-president, it was he who initiated an effective Children’s Theatre Movement in Kerala. Of course, there had been sporadic attempts--known and unknown--to impart training in theatre arts, particularly to children but none had proved fruitful and socially relevant. It is here the Rangaprabhath which began as an experiment in character building through the arts has its niche and pioneering a conscious effort to weave performing arts in to education in order to promote emergence of a new culture which recognizes and promotes children and their rights.

Children’s theatre has been a passion to him and he dedicated his life to the promotion of Children's Theatre. The setting up of the theatre complex at Rangaprabhath is the realization of his dream. In order to make the dream come true he had to struggle a lot physically, emotionally and financially.  His dedicated efforts, though scoffed at initially, won him both National and International recognition. The Rangaprabhath Children’s Theatre gradually grew into a Community Centre undertaking a variety of experiments to involve educational planners, artists, children’s specialists, writers and others in a conscious effort to develop an authentic centre for Children’s comprehensive development.

As an associate and loyal disciple of Prof. G.Sankara Pillai, Sri. K.Kochunarayana Pillai was an integral part of many of the experiments and play productions organized by Prof. Pillai right from the earlier days of the latter’s experience, both as a writer and organizer of theatre groups. This led him to concentrate on the folk arts and folk music of Kerala. Sri. K.Kochunarayana Pillai’s passionate involvement in the welfare of children and his dedicated efforts to help create a generation of children who are nurtured in values earned him respect from all quarters and he was respected as a Guru. He was a thorough-bred Gandhian, both in temperament and lifestyle. A spartan in habits, he lived a simple life and verily he was an inspiring individual whose principled life and mission in life were model to both young and old.
The establishment of Prof. G.Sankara Pillai Memorial Centre of Performing Arts and G.Sankara Pillai Award for Theatre Excellence by him are eloquent expressions of a disciple’s loyalty to his Master. 
Recognition to his work came from different quarters. Among the most outstanding recognitions he received are, the Senior Fellowship from Ministry of Culture, Government of India; the G.D. Birla International Award for Culture, Ramachandran-Ikeda Award for outstanding service, Excellence in Community Experiments (Indian Council of Gandhian Studies). He passed away on 01.10.2007 following a sudden heart attack.

K.Kochunarayana Pillai

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