As we drive through the high-rise buildings of Hitec city, many of us come across the green belt situated in the middle, where one can just have a break from the traffic jams and sounds. The pleasant Phoenix Arena, one of the popular cultural spaces that made its name in just three-and-a-half years, is located there.
Phoenix Arena is a space for showcasing art and cultural events in Hyderabad. Arena is a CSR initiative of Phoenix India Pvt Ltd, together with TSIIC, to create a dedicated open space to accommodate the growing art and cultural needs in the city for all strata of the society. “Three years ago, it was a normal GHMC Park, surrounded by the IT parks. Our chairman Suresh Chukkapalli, who is now the Honorary Consul General for South Korea, got an idea to convert it into an art and cultural centre and took permission from the government. And, we took it on lease for 5-7 years,” says Ramesh Mekala, manager of Phoenix Arena.
Set up in an area of 5 acres, where none of the natural environment is not spoiled, the facilities it offers include, an open air theatre with a capacity of 500 seating attached to the stage are the green rooms, an indoor auditorium which can accommodate 150 people. The auditorium is equipped with a projector, light and sound systems, where a lot of workshops happen here.
The art gallery which is located in a comfy manner, holds the capacity to display 25 artworks / photographs, “most of the shows that happen here are given for free, only if the dramas which are ticketed for them we charge a minimum of 1000 rupees and if the crowd is not turning out, we do not charge that also” says Ramesh.
Arena is the best place for the book lovers, the books that are available in the library are mostly donated by different people. The library consists of many drama, literature, fiction and culture books. “We take a nominal charge for the books rented by people, upon giving valid ID proof, for two weeks. They can take the book home or they can randomly pick up one and read it here. We charge nominally just to ensure that our books are returned safely,” says Aadesh Yadav, library in-charge.
Initially, the cultural centre couldn’t attract the audiences as the location wasn’t in close proximity to residential areas in the city, but thanks to their social media promotions and active team that, on average, they have a footfall of 250 visitors daily and weekends are filled with more than 700 people.
The cafeteria provides yummilicious veg and non-veg food along with desi chaat, and healthy fruit juices.
As the area consists of many plants, there are chances of mosquitos having a treat during the evening programmes. So, the management ensures safety of visitors by spraying pesticides and fog. “In collaboration with Alliance Française and Goethe-Zentrum, every year, we celebrate World Music Day, national festivals and cultural festivals,” says Ramesh.
Arena is a proud receiver of certification from Save the Rocks Society for not spoiling the eco system. The Arena also organises all government exhibitions and programmes. Apart from that, “the space is given for socially relevant activities and causes – every Sunday, autistic and special children groups and parents convene for an afternoon of sharing and caring while children play in open spaces. And, monthly once, discussion forums for special needs girl child and parenting concerns while growing up happen where they share the problems and solutions”, says Ramesh.
The space can be booked online by visiting their website or through social media where one can get immediate response. The Arena not only provides a platform for many activities but also helps us learn and explore many new things.