The Republic of Korea’s largest scale performing arts festival, Seoul Performing Arts Festival (SPAF) (Sept. 25 – 0ct. 19) opened with Germany’s Schaubühne theater’s production of Die Gelbe Tapetel directed by British director Katie Mitchell. In its 14th holding this year, the festival program included 21 works from seven countries, including the Republic of Korea, Germany, Great Britain, Belgium and Colombia. One of the highlights of the program was works from various generations of Korean artists. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, Tae-Suk Oh’s Theatre Company Mokwha presented Why Did Shim-Ch’ong Plunge into the Sea Twice?
; the play Chronicle of Alibis
directed by Jae-Yeop Kim joins the program as the winner of Dong-A Theatre Awards in three categories; and choreographer Yong-Geol Kim presents Inside of Life
. Also on the program are MUSH-ROOM
by the Belgian company Needcompany know for their crossover use of avant-garde music and dance, and the winner of the Best theater work award at the Adelaide Fringe Festival, the three works of The Bunker Trilogy
directed by Britain’s Jethro Compton. The venues for the festival are the ARCO Arts Theater and other theaters in the Daehakro Arts Theater.
Held this year for the 17th time, SIDance (Seoul International Dance Festival) (Sept. 29 – Oct. 18) was organized by the Seoul Section of the International Dance Council CID-UNESCO and presented a lineup of 59 programs, including invited works from overseas and the Republic of Korea and international collaborations, involving a total of 62 companies and groups from 19 countries. The opening featured from France Maguy Marin’s new work Singspiele
. Other highlights included a new interpretation of Mary Wigman’s Witch
Dance by Pedro Pauwels’ dance company SorsAand the Swiss Company Linga performing their work Remapping the Body
that uses medical monitors attached to the dancers’ bodies to generate sound and light with their movements. The festival program also includes numerous international collaborations such as with the Africa-South America Dance Exchange as well as many new works.
Other international festivals held around the country in the same autumn season are South Korea’s representative arts market, PAMS (Oct. 7-11) held in Seoul and the contemporary art biennale “Gwangju Biennale” (Sept. 5 – Nov. 9) in Gwangju, and Busan’s new comprehensive festival, “Made In Busan” (Sept. 27 – Oct. 26).
SPAF (Seoul Performing Arts Festival) http://www.spaf.or.kr
Launched in 2001 after a merging of the Seoul Theater Festival (founded 1977) and the Seoul Dance Festival (founded 1978), the Seoul Performing Arts Festival (SPAF) is now an independent comprehensive theater and performing arts festival. From 2014 it is organized by the Arts Council Korea.
SIDance (Seoul International Dance Festival) http://www.sidance.org
SIDance was first held in 1998 and since then has presented programs of 10 to 20 works each year involving around 100 performers from various countries and drawing an audience of over 10,000 annually. The artistic director is also SIDance’s founder, Lee Jong-Ho
. In addition to the festival’s programs of invited works from Korea and abroad, it also puts major efforts into collaborative productions with overseas artists each year.