The city’s cultural centre, Epicentre, will be temporarily closed as its lease has expired and will not be renewed.
Epicentre conducts exhibitions as well as plays and hosts various cultural interactions every week. The centre was launched in 2008 and in located at Apparel House, Sector 44. It is quite accessible from the Delhi - Jaipur Highway (NH-8) as well as from MG Road metro station that connects to South Delhi.
The centre, being run by Old World Hospitality (OWH), on the premises of the Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) has a lease agreement with AEPC for the past nine years and this will expire on January 16.
The centre operates out of the AEPC building which has a 40,000 sqft exhibition hall, which can accommodate 2,500 people at a time and 150 exhibition stalls.
It also has an auditorium, built on 11,600 sqft, with a capacity of 312 people and an amphitheatre with a seating capacity of 250 people
When HT approached AEPC for comments, the officials said they were working on a plan and the centre will continue to function. The plan is to provide an improvised version of the venue with some new features.
“We will float a fresh tender soon for new bidders and the centre will be run by some other organisation. As of now, we are not renewing the lease agreement with Epicentre (OWH),” said Govind Madhwal, director, AEPC.
The Old World Hospitality also operates the convention and performing arts centre Habitat World at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.
As the centre will remain closed till the time the lease agreement is renewed, cultural artists and residents are now apprehensive that they will not be able to enjoy events such as the Ishan international puppet show, stand-up comedy by Papa CJ and shows featuring Bollywood stars like Kalki Koechlin at the Epicentre.
“I wanted to perform in Gurgaon, so I called Epicentre to book the auditorium. However, they declined to take my request,” said, Priya Venkatrama, classical dancer.
Another artiste, Swati Mohan, too said that she has been told by the centre that they are not going to operate so they cannot book any dates in for February.
“We do not have a place to perform in the city. I have prepared my production for summer and do not have a place to showcase our talent. We have no information as to when the centre will again be operational,” Mohan said.
Epicentre also confirmed that the lease agreement is not being renewed by AEPC. “We have a nine-year lease agreement with the AEPC and that is going to expire on January 16, 2017. At present, the renewal agreement has been turned down by AEPC. The city as of now does not have a cultural hub,” said Nitin Mathur of Epicentre.