The Advent of the First Indoor Stage in Korean Theatre: Impacts, Consequences and Implications


It is widely agreed that the modern Korean theatre began with the opening of the Hyeopyulsa, the first western-style theatre building, in December 1902. The reason for calling this theatre 'modern' is multifold, but the primary stress should be put on the fact that it introduced indoor stage, which was the first case in the history of Korean theatre. Outdoor performance in found places was one of the paradigmatic elements in traditional Korean performance and play forms, including Pansori (one-man singing-drama) and Talchum (mask dance). In this respect, the establishment of the indoor stage in the Hyeopyulsa was a sea change, predicting a shift in paradigm and environment that would divide Korean theatre thereafter from the previous. This modern stage needed a new play from to present, which resulted in the appearance of Changgeuk, well known as Korean opera to the West. This new play form is often regarded as 'new theatre movement' in that it attempted to extend the theatricality immanent in Pansori in positive way. At the same time, the modern gadgets of stage and play form foreshadowed a series of infringements on Korean theatre tradition. Revisiting the historical moment in the beginning of the twentieth century, this paper examines the impacts, consequences, and implications the advent of the modern stage had on Korean theatre.

Author Information
Jungman Park, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, South Korea

Paper Information
Conference: ACCS2016
Stream: Cultural History

This paper is part of the ACCS2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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