July 7, 2022

The South Korean performing arts sector despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was able to record a steady recovery this year.

According to data from the Korea Performing Arts Box Office Information System (KOPIS), so far in this month theatrical plays, musicals, classical concerts, and other performances generated revenue at 47.7 billion won ($40.21 million). For the first time since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has surpassed the 40-billion-won mark.

The steady recovery in December can be attributed to the government’s “Living With Corona” policy rolled out in November, which the country has currently halted due to a rise in new coronavirus cases.

The combined revenue earlier this year was recorded to be as low as 3.7 billion won in January, when performing arts theaters began putting two empty seats between every audience member.

However, in February, the rule was comparatively relaxed to allow visitors to sit together with an accompanying friend or family member, with one empty seat on each side.

After such a steady recovery, the revenue shot up over 30 billion won in October, backed by the usual contributor — musicals.

The country’s musicals usually take up more than 70 percent of the total revenue in the performing arts. And this year so far it generated revenue of 230.9 billion won, or 76 percent of the sales, coming from the art form.

Some of this year’s hit musicals were – “Dracula the Musical”, “Frankenstein” “Wicked,” “Hedwig,” “Chicago,” “Phantom,” and “Rebecca”.

In the meantime, the country’s classical music industry rather suffered due to its reliance on overseas musicians, their absence instead contributed to the discovery of domestic musical talents.

From August, concerts of overseas artists such as Rudolf Buchbinder and the Vienna Philharmonic were able to be held as they were allowed to be exempted from self-quarantine. However, the resurgence of the daily cases of the COVID-19 and omicron variant again forced various concerts to be canceled again.

However, domestic artists were able to fill the gap left by the absence of overseas artists. This year also saw emerging musical talents being recognized at global music competitions.