The 340-seat Chongdong Theater might be small but punches well above its weight in championing both traditional and new Korean performing arts, staging a wide variety of work, often reviving overlooked treasures from the past. Its reputation easily equals that of larger venues and for tourists it’s not to be missed.
To improve public access to the traditional arts, the theater holds regular free performances. Among its many innovative events are post-performance parties where actors and the audience can mingle on stage after a show, all of which has helped to establish Chongdong Theater as a much-loved feature of the traditional arts scene.
Traditional performances in downtown Seoul
Chongdong Theater is located on one of the most beautiful streets in Seoul, next to the stone wall of Deoksugung (Palace). The theater’s mission is to champion the beauty and value of traditional Korean arts which it does by staging free “Performing Arts at Noon” events in spring and autumn, attracting large numbers of local office workers.
A long-running traditional performance: “Miso”
First performed in 1997, “Miso” ("Smile") became a permanent part of the repertoire in 2000. The show includes all the traditional Korean art forms: traditional dance, instrumental performances, percussion music and pansori (traditional Korean narrative song). A new version of the show premiered in 2009, transforming “Miso” into a densely-plotted Korean musical with a large cast (30 performers) including dancers, instrumentalists and samulnori (traditional Korean percussion quartet), making for a real high-energy spectacle.