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Johanna (Hanne) M. de Bruin


Dr. Hanne M. de Bruin (1959) studied Indology and received her PhD for her research on the Kattaikkuttu theatre at the University of Leiden in The Netherlands. She has published widely on Indian popular theatre, women performers and Indian culture, and translated the all-night Kattaikkuttu play Karna Moksham into English. Since its establishment in 1990, Hanne has been the principal fundraiser and facilitator of the Kattaikkuttu Sangam and the Gurukulam. She is married to Kattaikkuttu actor, director and playwright P. Rajagopal. Rajagopal and Hanne co-created Karnatic Kattaikkuttu, a collaborative production together with Karnatic vocalists T.M. Krishna and Sangeetha Sivakumar featuring Karnatic concert music and Kattaikkuttu theatre in conversation with each other on the same stage. A Fellowship of the International Center Interweaving of Performance Cultures of the Free University Berlin (2016-2019) has allowed her to re-engage with her academic work. This has resulted in several new publications investigating Kattaikkuttu as a knowledge system, Kattaikkuttu’s performance spaces and the making of two of the Sangam’s new productions, RamaRavana and Karnatic Kattaikkuttu. In March 2020 the Kattaikkuttu Gurukulam, a residential theater school for rural children offering them artistic training and formal education under the same roof, had to close its doors after 18 years because of the Covid-19 pandemic.