Market showcases performers’ skills

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Market showcases performers’ skills

The Performing Arts Market, where performance artists, presenters and promoters from all over the world trade ideas for art performances, exchange information and form networks, will be held for the first time in Korea this Thursday through Saturday at the National Theatre of Korea in Jangchuong-dong, central Seoul.
About 1,000 people, including 150 foreign and 300 Korean performing arts professionals as well as curious onlookers, are expected to attend the event. Over 20 countries will be represented, including Canada, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Belgium, Germany and France.
An art market is a fairly new concept to Korea, but other countries have held similar events, such as the Avignon Festival in France, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Britain and the International Exchange for the Performing Arts in Canada. Art markets have also been held in Asian countries, including Japan, China and Singapore.
The Seoul Performing Arts Market, unlike some other markets, will be open to the public. Event organizers hope that opening the doors will make the event more festive.
The market will cover all types and genres of performing arts: plays, dances, traditional arts, combined arts and more. Besides for the networking, about 150 works will also be performed, 15 of which will be Korean works specially chosen for promotion to foreign buyers and agents.
Among the performances will be “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” done by the Yohangza Theatre Company, “Come on, MUTU” by Wuturi, and “Mirror Princess Pyung-gang Story” by the Gan-Da company.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” is a re-creation of Shakespeare’s famous work, with a Korean take on the material. The story features a tokebi (a kind of goblin), with other re-created characters. The piece has received good reviews from critics so far. The combination of dynamic dance and music with Korean traditional culture was a major reason why the play was selected for the market.
“Come on MUTU,” is a play inspired by Anton Chekhov’s novel, “Kashtanka.” Mutu is a traditional Korean dog who wants to dance well. He goes to a tokebi to receive dance lessons, but the goblin tricks him, and he loses his way and ends up in a circus troupe. The work features Korean traditional mask dances and a puppet play, which are said to create a mysterious and intriguing atmosphere.
In the musical “Mirror Princess Pyung-gang Story,” no instruments or devices of any kind are used ― only the human voice and body. The performance takes place on an empty stage illustrated with bamboo shoots; the stage then is slowly engulfed by lakes, trees, and foliage. This is an a capella musical based on the Korean folk tale of a princess named Pyung-gang. In the musical, the princess’ maid steals all of her possessions except a mirror, which the princess treasured the most.
With the unique story and vocal sound effects, the performance has caught the attention of reviewers.
“In order to compete with neighboring countries including Japan, China and Singapore who are already familiar with such events, many performing arts related to Korean heritage as well as Asian heritage as a whole will be showcased in the event,” said Kang Suk-heung, head organizer of the event.
The event is sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Seoul city government and Arts Council Korea.
For more information, call (02) 782-0406 or visit

by Choi Sun-young
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