Theru Koothu is a traditional folk dance form, generally performed during the village festivals, in the months of Panguni and Aadi, in the northern districts of Tamil Nadu
. It is a true Tamil tradition, unlike the classical music, which combines story telling, dialogue rendering, songs and dance.
Theru Koothu, (Theru - street, Koothu - performance in Tamil), can be categorized as ‘Nattu Koothu’ (including ‘Vali Koothu’ and ‘Kuravai Koothu’), ‘Samaya Koothu’ - dealing with religious topics and ‘Pei Koothu’ (including ‘Thunangai Koothu’ and ‘Porkala Koothu’ dealing with martial events).
Theru Koothu is usually performed in a junction, in open air. The place is lit by gaslights and singers and musical troupe are seated on a wooden bench. The play generally starts in the late evening and gets over only during the small hours of the nights. Make-up and costumes are considered of prime importance in Theru Koothu.
Theru Koothu is performed only by men; they also perform female roles. The themes are based on the stories from Puranas, including Ramayana and Mahabharata, and local folklore.