While kūṭiyāṭṭam has in earlier Western literature often been seen as a static and archaic form, it is at present a contemporary and evolving art in which women have played an important role since the 1970s. Using the performance innovations and audience development strategies of three pioneers of female performance, Kalamandalam Giirja, Margi Sathi, and Usha Nangiar, the way women are helping to shape the genre will be explored.