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National theater troupe aims to establish online screening model like NT Live

Book on cultural blacklist scandal will be published, new head of NTCK says

National Theater Company of Korea Artistic Director Kim Kwang-bo speaks during an online press event Monday. (NTCK)
National Theater Company of Korea Artistic Director Kim Kwang-bo speaks during an online press event Monday. (NTCK)
The National Theater Company of Korea plans to interact with audiences at home through online screenings of high-quality productions in these COVID-19 pandemic times.

Kim Kwang-bo, the new artistic director of the state-run company, said in an online conference Monday that the company‘s online screenings would be systematized, offering performances of a high caliber.

Kim took office in November for a three-year term. An established stage director, Kim was previously head of the Seoul Metropolitan Theatre from 2015 to 2020.

Most NTCK performances were canceled last year due to the coronavirus breakout, like many other theater groups around the world. As stages shut down, the company moved its staging of “Sweat,” “Dongyang Theater 2020” and “Fireworks” online.

With the COVID-19 pandemic crisis unlikely to be fully resolved this year, the theater company announced it would focus on screening performances online more than before.

While the company has plans to screen performances of some 10 plays this year, two of them -- “The Orphan of Zhao: Seeds of Revenge” set for April and “Roadkill in the Theater” in October -- are to be produced in a way more fit for the online screening environment.

“We set the goal, aware of the exceptional quality of NT Live. We aim to produce online screening works like NT Live,” Kim said, referring to the online offerings of the National Theatre in London.

“Out of the 10 billion-won ($9 million) annual budget for the troupe, about 1 billion won is designated for online productions,” said Oh Hyeon-sil, secretary-general of NTCK. “Last year, there was no designated budget for online performances, but we specifically allocated funds for that purpose.”

At the event, Kim apologized for the blacklisting of cultural figures by the two previous administrations of Park Geun-hye and Lee Myung-bak, which unjustly penalized nearly 9,300 artists or groups.

“It is very unfortunate that the National Theater Company of Korea was involved in the blacklist scandal. The company will publish a book detailing the incident with the aim of restoring the honor of the victims and ensuring that society remembers the incident.”

Kim also said that the state-run theater company will support young artists, present barrier-free performances and minimize carbon emission in its productions.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)
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