Vinay Kumar KJ began his journey as a theatre actor at the age of 12 with the Communist Party’s Theatre Repertory Company which travelled all over Kerala. An alumnus of School of Drama, Kerala, he is trained in Kathakali under Guru Kirshnan Namboodri and in 1992, he studied Kalaripayattu at Anghanam Theatre in Chavakkad, Kerala.
In January 1993, he joined Veenapani Chawla, theatre director and founder of Adishakti Laboratory for Theatre Arts Research while it was still in Mumbai. He has remained an actor in residence with Adishakti since then and currently leads the team.
Vinay joined Veenapani in her research into breath for performance, Koodiyattam and Kalaripayattu and has acted in some of the most notable plays of Adishakti such as Impressions of Bhima, Brhannala and Ganapati. He has assisted Veenapani in her endeavour to develop a physical craft for feeding the physical, vocal, and psychological expression of the actor based on traditional Indian knowledges. He gave expression to this craft in his performances and led workshops which disseminated this methodology of performance.
Recipient of various fellowships including the APPEX Fellowship, he collaborated with international artists such as musician Paul Dresher, Chinese Peking Opera Director Chen Zhi Zhen, filmmaker Lucia King and also created a theatre work on Villa Waldberta in Munich.
He is a recipient of a Senior Fellowship from the Ministry of Culture in the field of Theatre for the year 2012-2013 and the Amrish Puri Award. Vinay was also featured in Sharada Ramanathan’s film Natyanubhava.
Vinay ventured into direction with lonesco’s Rhinoceros . He is also engaged in studying the various readings/telling of the Ramayana out of which he created a script, The Tenth Head, which was directed by Veenapani Chawla.
In 2018 Vinay played the lead role in Adishakti’s new production Bali, directed by Nimmy Raphel, which was the very first production after Veenapani’s demise. Vinay’s latest directorial play is ‘Bhoomi’, an adaptation of renowned writer Sara Joseph’s Novel ‘Bhoomirakashasam’. Bhoomi has received critical acclamation and wide appreciation and continues to travel across India and abroad.