KOCHI: The gateway to Kerala’s tourism destinations, Kochi has always needed open grounds and green spaces for the conduct of various activities. Aiming to provide a stage for local artists, the Cochin Smart Mission recently opened an open-air theatre in Fort Kochi.
Replete with dedicated facilities, the Rs 1.06-crore project on 385 sq m of vacant land within the Kochi Municipal Corporation Zonal office premises attempts to foster a vibrant cultural hub.
According to the Cochin Smart Mission, the theatre boasts a seating capacity of 228 persons and offers scenic views of the backwaters and fishing nets. “The landscape design with art installations and sculptures enhances the aesthetics, while LED lighting ensures safety and security.
Additionally, mural paintings add a touch of vibrancy to the space. A dedicated toilet complex with a green room, covering 45 sq m, caters to the needs of performers and visitors,” the Cochin Smart Mission highlighted in a post on its Facebook page.
The space in the corporation compound had remained vacant, with overgrown weeds and grass, for quite some time. Before getting the facelift, the area was used to sort waste collected by the corporation workers.
But the theatre is yet to host a programme since its opening, M P Sivadathan of the Kerala Homestays and Tourism Society. “It looks pretty now. But as seen in the case of other grounds and spaces, the theatre might soon fall victim to lack of maintenance,” he said.
As per tourism stakeholders, other open spaces in Fort Kochi too are in serious need of renovation and maintenance. Various studies have shown that the current allocation for open green spaces and parks in Kochi is far lower than what is required. At present, open green space comes to just 0.65 sq km, which is less than 1% of the corporation area.