Arya specialises in researching and writing on Indian Theatre, with particular reference to Kudiyattam, the oldest existing theatre form in the world. She is a Kudiyattam performer with over twenty years of performance expereince from both India and UK. Her research and writing focuses on the aesthetics and praxis of Kudiyattam with an intention to develop new theoretical concepts derived from its practice. Arya completed her PhD from the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies, Aberystwyth University in 2008, which focused on the acting and actor-training of Kudiyattam from the perspective of consciousness studies. Her first monograph was published in 2010 entitled “Kudiyattam theatre and the Actor’s Consciousness”. According to Boris Daussa-Pastor “Arya Madhavan’s book is a rare effort of theorization in kudiyattam that draws from Indian and Western scholarship. Rather than providing a descriptive account of kudiyattam practice she attempts to analyze elements of its acting technique under a number of theoretical frameworks” (Asian Theatre Journal, Fall 2010).
Since 2013, Arya has been developing a new research area, Women in Asian Performance that remains understudied till date. She organised the first international Women in Asian Theatre symposium in Lincoln on 14th September 2013 with delegates participating from UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Korea, India, Japan, US and Australia. She completed edting a journal special issue on Women in Asian Theatre for the Asian Theatre Journal (Fall 2015) and the Routledge anthology on Women in Asian Performance (2017).
Arya currently accepts PhD students in the area of Indian theatre and dance, women in Asian performance, Asian Performance research, Intercultural theatre and Indian pedagogical practice.
Indian Theatre and dance, Performance Studies, Women in Asian Performance, Performance traditions of Asia, Cultural Diversity