Performing arts festival to open in Daehangno Saturday

By Kim Rahn

A feast of theatrical performances will take place starting Saturday through Oct. 30 in Daehangno, the central Seoul district that is the mecca of plays and theater performances, according to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The sixth edition of the Welcome Daehakro (Daehangno) Festival, organized jointly by the ministry, the Korea Tourism Organization and the Korea Performing Arts and Tourism Association, will showcase some 150 plays, musicals, nonverbal and traditional performances as well as special events in the neighborhood, as part of efforts to promote the nation’s performing arts.

The opening ceremony, titled “Welcome Roadshow,” will start at 5 p.m. on Saturday. The 500-meter main street of the Daehangno area will be car-free to transform into large outdoor stages for 32 performing teams, which will include Lee K-Dance and rock band YB.

Actor O Yeong-su, who won the Best Supporting Actor award at the Golden Globes for “Squid Game,” and dancer Monika, will present special performances during the opening ceremony as honorary ambassadors to promote the festival.

During the festival period, the “Welcome Theater” program will offer nine plays and musicals that the organizers believe can appeal to audience members of foreign nationality, at the SKON theater, with English subtitles. They are: “Legendary Little Basketball Team,” “Brahms,” “Marionette,” “Home Shopping Inc.,” “Aesop’s Fables,” “Living With Father,” “Mia Famiglia,” “Gangster is Nonsense,” and “The Last Man.”

Those unable to visit Daehangno theaters can watch plays and musicals in the “Welcome K-Stage” program via several online channels including YouTube at 8 p.m. every Wednesday through Nov. 23. English, Chinese and Japanese subtitles will be available.

In the “Welcome Fringe” program, 36 teams will present performances at outdoor locations including Marronnier Park on every weekend and holiday.

The organizers also offer a guided tour of the Daehangno area, where participants can learn about the history of the neighborhood and visit famous spots. An English guide service is available, and prior reservation is required.

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