KATHAKALI – classical dance drama from Kerala in southern India – is coming to The Phoenix Theatre and Arts Centre in Bordon on April 13 in a story highlighting the dignity, strength and compassion of women.

Kala Chethena Kathakali Company will bring emotion, colour and incredible characters to the stage, combining storytelling, dance, drama, ritual, vibrant costumes and intricate make-up.

The cast have undergone years of intense training and have performed internationally for decades. They are aiming to make Kathakali accessible and enjoyable to all.

There are three parts to Kathakali day at the Phoenix, starting with a practical workshop from 4pm until 4.45pm in which people can learn how to tell a story like a Kathakali actor through drama, a 4,000-year-old sign language, facial expressions, characters and movement.

Then from 5pm until 6pm they have a chance to meet the artists, watch the make-up being applied and view the costumes.

Before the performance a demonstration will illustrate how a Kathakali actor tells a story through emotions, facial expressions, characters and gestures, then a short film will take the audience back to when Kathakali emerged 600 years ago.

The performance, which runs from 7.30pm until 9.15pm, highlights the need for women and girls to be respected and to feel safe.

A spokesperson said: “Allow your imagination to enter the magical world of Kathakali and find a place where stories come alive.” 

Tickets, covering all three parts, cost £15 (under-18s £10).

Comedian Suzi Ruffell brings her new show Suzi Ruffell & Friends to the Phoenix on March 11 at 8pm.

Suzi, who has appeared on Live At The Apollo and Mock The Week, is heading out with some friends to test out new material and have a big old laugh.

Ruffell’s show might ruffle a few feathers. It is strictly for those aged 14 and above as it is likely to contain swearing and adult content. Tickets cost £12.

On March 12, Kev F Sutherland – who has written and drawn comic strips for The Beano, Marvel Comics, Doctor Who and Viz magazine – is giving a comic art masterclass for those aged seven and above.

There are two-hour workshops, both with the same content, at 10am and 1.30pm. Tickets cost £15 per person per workshop.

To book tickets for any of these events, visit www.phoenixarts.co.uk