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National theaters brought back to life after 2-month closure over coronavirus

All News 15:00 May 06, 2020

SEOUL, May 6 (Yonhap) -- Key national theaters and art companies are coming back to life to resume shows, ending their nearly two-month closure over the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced Wednesday that five national theaters -- the National Theater of Korea, Jeongdong Theater, Myeongdong Theater, the Asia Culture Center and the National Gugak Center's four regional branches -- will resume their shows next week.

Seven other national art companies, including the National Theater Company of Korea, the Korea National Ballet, the Korea National Opera and the Korea National Contemporary Dance Co., will also start to put on shows again this month, according to the ministry.

An image of the National Theater of Korea (Yonhap)

The business resumption ends the national institutions' shutdown about two months ago, due to the government's intensive social distancing guidelines, aimed at curving the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the weekend, the government announced laxer quarantine guidelines, effective Wednesday onward, as South Korea's new daily infection cases dropped to the single-digit level recently.

Under the latest decision, schools are on their way to resume on-site classes this month, while some companies ended their at-home work policies, bringing the country close to normal.

The national theaters are still bound to require visitors to wear masks inside their compounds and to keep a distance of at least one meter among spectators.

Visitors will also take a fever test upon arrival at the institutions, while fewer than the usual seats will be available for purchase for a show to keep a distance between spectators.

As the first show to go on-stage after the pandemic, the National Theater of Korea will premier "Chunhyang" on May 14 onward in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the national institution, according to the culture ministry.

Next Tuesday, the Asia Culture Center will premier a commemorative show, "I was not in Gwangju," marking the 40th anniversary of the May 18 Democratization Movement this year, the first show since the lockdown.

Starting May 16, the National Gugak Center will also resume its weekly Saturday performance series, while the Korea National Ballet is planning to stage "Giselle" on June 10.

This promotional poster for "Chunhyang" to be premiered by the National Theater of Korea on May 14, 2020, is provided by the national theater. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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