About the Book

These twelve examples of early drama broadsheets are made available for viewing here, in a larger format than appears in the printed book, by kind permission of the Roja Muthiah Research Library collection, Chennai, India. The paper on which these advertisements are printed is often of the lowest quality, intended only for brief usage. The remarkable preservation of such early examples of notices allow us to trace their gradual development into the standard form of the Special Drama notice today. From the mid-1960s to the present, that form has stabilized as an 8.5 x 11 single sheet anchored visually by artists' plates in the four corners and center, dramatic roles on top and comedy roles at bottom. This hierarchical arrangement of artistic roles on the notices corresponds to the prestige accorded these artistic roles on stage.

5. Drama notice, 1891   12. Mr. S. G. Kittappa as Sri Andaal in Sri Andaal’s Wedding; horizontal layout, 1928

6. Drama notice for Kovilavan Natakam, 1917

13. Drama notice for Valli’s Wedding announced as a “Special Drama,” 1931
7. Drama notice for Valli's Wedding, 1918(?) 14. Drama notice for Pavalakodi, horizontal layout with multiple plates, including images of comic actors, in English and Tamil, 1936
8. Drama notice for Alli Rani, with English words, 1917 15. Drama notice for Sangeetha Kovalan drama, picturing a female comic actor and other artists known to the author, 1942
9. Drama notice for Rajendran Natakam “with artists trained by T.T. Sankaradas Swamigal,” 1926 16. Film ad for Savithiri featuring several of the same artists as in above drama notice, 1942
10. Madras drama notice for Kovalan; vertical with plates and English text (no date) 17. Drama notice for Tamil Arasi [Queen of Tamil], 1964
11. Drama notice for Valli’s Wedding, announcing "Special Actors! Special Dramas!!" in a horizontal layout with Harmonist plate at center, 1928
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