Seoul’s, Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in order to revitalize the aging cultural complex that is facing competition from newer facilities along with financial difficulties on Monday announced a series of plans.
Ahn Ho-sang, a former CEO of the National Theater of Korea, mentioned that the center had faced competition not just from other performance facilities but also digital content platforms such as Netflix.
The center which has nine performing arts companies under its wing, Sejong Center has Seoul Philharmonic, Seoul National Philharmonic, Seoul Metropolitan Theater Company, City of Seoul Musical Company, Seoul Metropolitan Chorus, Seoul National Traditional Dance Company, Seoul Metropolitan Opera, Seoul Youth Orchestra and Seoul Youth Choir; all of which will be creating more original works, in order to attract crowds.
According to Ahn, the decision was made as resident art groups’ performances made up only 12 percent of the total audience, despite 42 percent of the budget and manpower being allocated to the art groups.
This year, for its spring season, from March 26 to June 26, there will be 61 performances of nine works, of which eight are produced by the resident companies.
The center’s theater rental business is also likely to face more competition in future as specialized venues for different performance genres are under construction across Seoul.
The revitalization plan for Sejong Center includes an extensive renovation of the facility along with several other performance halls, galleries and a convention center, which was built in 1978, to accommodate the needs of the resident art troupes.
The exterior of the building which is designated as Seoul’s Future Heritage by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, which provides 60 percent of Sejong Center’s annual budget is likely to be kept intact.
While the upcoming renovation will be designed to meet the new needs and opportunities created by the opening of the new Gwanghwamun Square slated for the second half of this year.