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Jeongdong Theater hopes to be cultural destination for all ages

Feb. 14, 2023 - 18:07 By Hwang Dong-hee
Directors of the creative teams for Jeongdong Theater's 2023 season and Jeongdong Theater director Choung Soung-sook (first row, center) pose for a group photo after a press conference held at the National Jeongdong Theater of Korea Cecil, on Tuesday. (Jeongdong Theater)

The National Jeongdong Theater, a public performance hall in Jung-gu, Seoul, has unveiled its season line-up for this year, along with major initiatives for the 2023 season.

“We will develop and promote performing arts of both the contemporary and traditional style, and for that we're preparing a wide variety of programs for not only enthusiasts in their 20s and 30s, but also for children and families, middle-aged and senior audiences,” said director Choung Soung-sook on Tuesday during a press conference held at the Ceil Theater, a historic venue for plays that the National Jeongdong Theater of Korea acquired in 2022. This was Choung’s first press conference following her inauguration in November.

“The Jeongdong Theater will also create a healthy ecosystem for the performing arts and fulfill its role as a national cultural space, restoring and inheriting the spirit of Wongaksa, the first modern theater in Korea,” Choung said.

A total of 29 productions with 427 performances are scheduled, including four plays, seven musicals, four dances, six traditional music performances and more.

In particular, the theater will premiere two traditional acts by its own Jeongdong Theater Arts Group, founded in 2021.

In May, a newly interpreted version of “Chunhyang” will kick off as the first of the five pansori repertoires. Another theatrical show, “Clown” is scheduled for December. The story follows Baudeogi, the only female leader of the Namsadang troupe in history, exploring the love and artistic spirit of traditional performance.

In addition, the theater hopes to develop a unique repertoire by incorporating the local history of Jeongdong, which was the cradle of Korean modern culture.

In line with the initiatives, a historical musical, “Dilkusha,” is scheduled to kick off in December. The piece was first developed through the Cecil CREATing project in December 2022. The musical will be revised and upgraded to have a more solid plot, which revolves around a house built by American journalist, Albert Taylor, and his wife during the Japanese colonial period.

Also, the theater will stage new productions incorporating media arts. For example, the concert “Secret Garden,” scheduled for May, is a combination of music and media arts while also integrating floral scents in the performance to provide an immersive experience.

In addition, the theater will present several productions online through its official YouTube channel with subtitles to reach broader viewers.