Owning to its rich tradition, long history of nearly four hundred years and its roots in the socio- cultural history of the region, Yakshagana has ever increasing popularity and appeal to a wide range of community. It had one drawback: lack of systematic training to the artists. This lacuna drew the attention of Dr. K. Shivarama Karanth who had, by his master research work, Yakshagana Bayalata tried to preserve this traditional art from the onslaught of its decreasing values and increasing commercialization. Dr. Karanth with assistance of Prof. K.S. Haridasa researched on how to arrest decline of Yakshagana tradition. Out of these deliberations came the idea of starting the Yakshagana School for training the young aspiring artists. The land was donated by Sode Mutt, for the cause. Thus, the Yakshagana Kendra Udupi was came into being in 1971 under the Guru Scheme of the Department of Culture, Government of India. The sole objective was to provide formal training of Yakshagana artform to young boys and prepare them thoroughly before they join professional troupes.
Yakshgana Kendra has came a long way since its inception. In around 2008, Guru Bannanje Sanjeeva Suvarna ( current Principal) observed that artists, after completion of their training and on joining professional troupes often stop practicing the traditional style of Yakshagana in which they are trained. Instead, artists would modify the form as per the entertainment and audience needs, losing the essence of traditional Yakshagana. Audience enjoyed modernization in the artform. And artists to keep them entertained, resorted to gimmicks which went against the tradition. Artists did this to earn repute, and thereby to earn more. In the process artform tradition was lost slowly. Guru Sanjeeva Suvarna realized that this was happening because, artists had no other means of livelihood and most of them had meagre formal education. Hence, the system was changed so that the student can practice the art while continuing their formal education. This would help them in future to takeup other jobs too, while continuing practising Yakshagana, or become a good audience. All expenses of students are borne by Kendra. Presently children from 5th standard to students pursuing graduation reside at the Gurukul.