Lifestyle Books and Art 01 Feb 2017 Phoenix Arena: Space ...

Phoenix Arena: Space for creativity

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | NEHA JHA
Published Feb 1, 2017, 2:10 am IST
Updated Feb 1, 2017, 2:14 am IST
Rahul Reddy, one of the brains behind the Phoenix Arena, hopes to provide an affordable platform for budding talent.
Rahul Reddy
 Rahul Reddy

Hyderabadis are worried about the dearth of cultural spaces as the existing ones are unable to host many events. Coming to their rescue is Phoenix Arena which was started by city-based theatre artiste and entrepreneur, Rahul Reddy, along with the Phoenix group and TSIIC. With an amphitheatre, auditorium, art gallery and a library with over 6,000 books, it is spread across seven acres with ramps lining the place, making it disabled-friendly.

Before being turned into a cultural centre, it was a park that belonged to TSIIC. During construction, care was taken not to chip a rock or kill a plant. Rahul, who played a key role in bringing Raahgiri, a community driven cultural initiative, to the city, says that the event caught the attention of Phoenix group, which approached them to do something similar with the park. “My quest for starting a new cultural space and their idea of making use of this space came together. The construction began in August, after months of planning,  and it was ready by November. The stage has been designed by Dr Rammohan Holagundi, founder of the Nishumbita theatre group.”

 

About the idea, Rahul says, “I had started working on it long ago. I approached the previous governments but none were interested. I also made a list of parks which have less than 100 visitors a week. I visited the parks and submitted a letter to GHMC, but nobody took it up,” he says and adds, “The dearth of cultural spaces has always  been there. By 2011, Lamakaan was always busy. Back then, it was the only space to support artists. There were places like Ravindra Bharathi too, but they were expensive. Upcoming artists cannot pay so much. Lamakaan then came to the rescue, and Phoenix Arena is inspired from that. The idea behind Phoenix Arena is to provide an accessible platform for artists who can meet like-minded people and showcase their talent. Marketing will be done by us.”

 

Rahul is aiming to organise over 1,000 events a year. “We will host more number of upcoming artists rather than established ones as the latter can get space anywhere.” Around 50 events have been conducted at Phoenix Arena since November. “The events that were organised, like plays, storytelling sessions, musical performances, stand-up comedy, helped us know what is working and where we need to improve. Rahul plans to charge Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 for organising an event, making it affordable. However, if an event is free for the participants, there will be no charge.

 

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