THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In 2009, when Jose Thomas of Choice Group ventured into a theatre for performance arts, he wanted to give Kochiites a unique experience, that of education through arts and promote artists and fast fading art forms.
Through Jose Thomas performing arts centre (JTpac), he wanted the local crowd to experience world-class art forms and exploit the unknown arenas in the world of art. But, much to his dismay Jose Thomas says seven years of running the place, which boasts standard sound and light system, has only earned loss to the tune of crores and he would have to ‘mentally shut down’ the place as Kochiites are yet to warm up to it.
“JTpac runs on loss to the tune of Rs 1 crore every year. I find it difficult to shut up a venture I began and that’s the sole reason why JTpac is still running,” says Jose Thomas.
According to him, except for brand names (like Shankar Mahadevan and equally famous people), there isn’t much of a viewer population for any other artist in Kochi.
“Only brand names sell in Kochi. I have brought the best artists of the country to Kochi. But the response is so dissatisfying. It’s true I have over 100 faithful clientele who are present for every show but where are the youth,” asks Jose Thomas.
Lack of Theatrical Culture to Blame
Jose Thomas says that it is the lack of a theatrical culture that makes people shun such aesthetically and artistically rich venues. “The whole problem is in the mindset of people. The only venues people throng in hundreds are marriages where there is a lure of food,” says Jose Thomas. He points out that the ticket rates are not a hindrance. “It takes a lot of money to fly down these artist. But, even then Rs 200 or Rs 300 is a meagre amount. People are willing to spend thousands on a mall but can’t think of shelling out half the amount to enjoy a good music or performing art show,” says Jose Thomas.