Sejong Center eyes major overhaul under new CEO
The rise of OTT platforms like Netflix has not only been a threat to cinemas, but also to performance venues, says Ahn Ho-sang, CEO of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul, China. especially for 44 year olds. old cultural complex that shows signs of age, both inside and out.
According to Ahn, who took charge of the center last October, the Sejong Center has so far relied heavily on renting out its facilities to outside productions despite having six major resident companies under its wing.
“A total of 42% of the annual budget and workforce is allocated to resident companies, but they only represent 12.3% of the total audience,” Ahn said on February 21 during his first conference. press since taking office. “It is inevitable that businesses will undergo a major overhaul.”
The six companies are: Seoul Metropolitan Traditional Orchestra, Seoul Metropolitan Dance Theatre, Seoul Metropolitan Chorus, Seoul Metropolitan Musical Theatre, Seoul Metropolitan Theater and Seoul Metropolitan Opera.
Ahn decided to appoint young new conductors for the traditional orchestra, musical and opera and said they would act as lead producers.
For the upcoming spring season’s lineup, Ahn reflected on his plan to “turn the Sejong Center into a ‘theater of original works.’ During the spring season, which begins March 26 and ends June 26, the resident companies will present eight of the nine works.
The season will kick off with Seoul Metropolitan Theater’s “Bulgabulga” on March 26, a play written by Lee Hyun-hwa, depicting the Korean political scene in the 1980s. The Seoul Metropolitan Musical Theater will stage “Fiddler on the Roof” from of April 22. The dance company will premiere “Ilmu” on May 19, a collaboration between new chef Jeong Hye-jin and fashion designer Jung Ku-ho, who produced hit works like “Dan” and “Hyangyeon” for the National Dance Company of Korea.
Regarding the center’s aging exterior, Ahn said the center would undergo a full renovation if it gets the green light from the Seoul Metropolitan Government, which provides 60 percent of the Sejong center’s annual budget.
Sejong Center currently has a 3,033-seat Grand Theater, a 609-seat M Theater, a 300-seat box-type S Theater and a 443-seat Chamber Hall. It also has two art galleries and a convention center. As the building itself is designated as Seoul’s future heritage by the Seoul Metropolitan Government, the exterior will not undergo major renovation. The renovation could begin after offices move inside the center to the Sejong Center’s second branch, scheduled to open in 2026 in Mullae-dong, western Seoul.
BY YIM SEUNG-HYE [yim.seunghye[email protected]]