KCAF Seeks Rebirth as a Mecca of Culture in Taehangno

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KCAF Seeks Rebirth as a Mecca of Culture in Taehangno

The Korean Culture & Arts Foundation (KCAF) is trying to once again be a Mecca for culture in Taehangno to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The KCAF wants to return to its place as the cultural center of Taehangno, an area where many smaller theaters were pushed underground around residential areas by new restaurants and coffee shops, because even though it was located next to the Marronier Park, the center of Taehangno, many teenagers still did not know where it is located.

First of all, the KCAF will change its interior. It is planing to enlarge the dressing rooms and the space of behind the stage, which is currently used as a storage area, to allow for more variety in direction and entry to the stage. Recently the KCAF opened a coffee shop for the audiences' convenience in the lounge of the main theater. It will also construct an open-air theater and hold some festivals inside and outside by using the top of the building.

The KCAF will also increase the number of special performances which it started producing last year. Usually a dance performance is produced to run for two or three days and a play is performed for two weeks, but the KCAF is considering allowing a producer to use the theater for a month if his work is good. The KCAF said its rental price was 20 to 50 percent cheaper than other theaters, 550 thousand won ($480) for a main theater and 140 thousand won for a small theater, so the competition to rent its theater space became excessive. It had to equally distribute theater time to producers so it was forced to have performances for only a short time in the past. This was especially bad in the case of plays as the play ended when the actors and actresses became accustomed to the stage.

The KCAF invited a full-time planning team to help do the art director's work, including increasing audience size, evaluating a performance, picking out great works in their early running, and to start preparing for long-term performances.

Jang Jung-eun, a member of the planning team, said the KCAF should increase the number of direct productions rather than having co-productions acting to run the theater as well. In another word, the KCAF would do better by increasing its investing to cover all of the production costs rather than paying some of the production costs, doing it not for profit but for cultural development. She added the KCAF would open an independent Internet site and create a membership system to improve cultural organization not for artists but for audiences.

Han Gi-cheon, the president of the KCAF, said he would select a producer to create high quality work on the stage. And he revealed the KCAF would run its theaters following a different theme every month, for example it would stage performances for teenagers in February, experimental performances in April, and for families in May, and it would hold a play and a dance festival from September to October.

by Lee Jang-jik

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