PHUKET: When the Phuket Gazette
interviewed them a few months back, Sonu Kapoor and Vikram Singh, the owners of Events International, had just settled in Phuket and were about to set out on their mission to quench the island's thirst for more fun. Now, with two sold-out Abba Forever shows behind them, we know they placed their bets right – Phuket is a Wonderland for businesses dealing with arts and entertainment – two things the island needs more of, and as much as Abba Forever delivered, it was just the beginning. “We got an overwhelming response, people started asking what's next. That’s why we're serious about the upcoming shows,” says Sonu.
But before they move on to the upcoming events, they take a minute to reflect on the past and what they learned from the shows in Laguna. “We got a better response than we expected, and I think the main reason for that was the tremendous amount of publicity that we did. In the future, as time goes by and people become more and more aware of the kind of activity we offer, we should tone down the publicity,” explains Vikram, adding that the effort did pay off. “We broke even. Which we didn't expect, because whenever you do something for the first time, normally you expect to lose a bit of money. As in any business, it takes some time to build it.”
But what Sonu finds especially gratifying is not only the financial side of the enterprise, but the way the previous shows brought different people together to share good fun. “What was great was the different age groups coming in. We had five-year-olds having fun, 30-plus, 40-plus and even 70-plus enjoying the show. It was meant to be a family entertainment show and that's something we achieved.”
And even though their next show, another Gazette Headline Event, is aimed at the youngest members of Phuket’s audience, Sonu and Vikram are convinced that it will attract people of all ages again. “We're bringing a children’s musical from London – Alice in Wonderland
. But I'm sure a lot of parents will also show up with their kids. The venue is absolutely amazing – fabulous sound, light, great food and a lot of parking,” says Vikram. Sonu confirms, “I was talking to one 50-plus lady about Alice in Wonderland
and I asked if she's going to come and she replied, 'Of course I'm going to come!', even though she doesn’t have any kids here to bring to the show. So again, the age of the audience could be anything from four to 70.”
There sure is a lot in the upcoming show to attract people of all ages. “There were many versions of Alice in Wonderland
in the past but this has its own special take on the classic. There are a lot of songs and music, and as we can't carry all 25 actors from London, there will be seven or eight actors playing multiple roles, which means many costumes,” explains Vikram. “There's a lot of audience interaction too,” adds Sonu.
Not only are Sonu and Vikram experimenting with their target audience, but also with the venues.
“We use a different venue every time. Last time, Laguna did a fabulous job. Now for Alice in Wonderland
, we managed to get the Simon Star Theater in Phuket Town, which is a completely different venue,” explains Vikram.
And to keep true to their idea of bringing the island closer together, this time Events International wants to attract more locals to the show. “We want to reach out to the Thai community. So we reach out to Thai schools to have the students participate,” explains Sonu. “A dear friend of ours, Kuhn Kiranee Narabal, who comes from an educational background and is a lecturer at one of the universities, has been helping us to contact all the big schools like Thai Hua, Satree, Phuket Wittayalai and all the others, and they have been very, very welcoming and positive about it. So we're hoping to see a good Thai crowd as well,” she adds.
Thanks to Events International, both Thais and foreigners will get many more chances to enjoy live music and theater in the upcoming months. After Alice in Wonderland
, Phuket will be rocked by a Beatles tribute band, a show from the West End, and a Jazz concert. “We all have different tastes. The idea is to bring in different productions, get as many people as possible to enjoy the shows, and get the whole community together.”
“We are experimenting, but at the same time the idea is to reach many people and different age groups to make sure everybody is happy when they leave the concert,” explains Sonu. “And I think everybody on the island should be enjoying culture, not just the international community, or Thai community, but everybody. Music goes beyond all these borders.”Here are the schools that helped market Alice in Wonderland: British International School, Headstart, Kajonkiet International Schools, QSI, Oak Meadow International, Phuket Wittayalai school, Satree Phuket School, Darasamuth Phuket School Daorung School, Phuket Thai Hua School, and Anuphas Phuket Town.Events International presents Alice in Wonderland on January 25 and 26, 11:00am at the Simon Star Theater in Phuket Town. Tickets are 600 baht and are available at Les Diables Boat Lagoon, Villa Market Chalong, and Canal Village Laguna. For more information call 091-326 0276 or e-mail email@example.com.