Korea has long stuck to evening for cultural performances. But the trend is changing to stage more daytime shows in line with the growing number of theatergoers among housewives in their 30s and 40s.
"I prefer matinee performances because a lot of times you get discounts, sometimes free entrance. Parking and traffic conditions are also much better in the early hours," said housewife Lee Jae-hyun, 42.
Most of these performances further attract audiences with snacks or coffee creating an atmosphere like that of a brunch or afternoon tea time. Sometimes viewers are also given chances to meet up with the actors for discussion.
It was Seoul Arts Center that first adopted daytime performances in the early 90s through their "11 a.m. Concerts." They were mostly classical concerts and the performances succeeded in tapping the niche market.
The practice later spread to other state-run theaters including Goyang Aramnuri Theater and Seongnam Arts Center. Soon theaters in Daehangno and other major art halls would also begin staging daytime shows.
Musical drama "Aimez vous Brahms?" starring veteran play actress Park Jung-ja, is one of the hit daytime shows. It ended its run at the Installation Theater in Daehangno last month and is set for an encore run at the National Museum of Korea starting April 2.
Around 90 percent of the viewers of the 2 p.m. performances were middle-aged women who wanted to enjoy their day after sending their family members off to school and work, said a spokesperson for Monthly Gaeksuk, which produced the play.
The piece will be shown at the national museum every Thursday until April 23. Tickets are 20,000 won. To find out more, call 1544-5955 or visit www.theateryong.or.kr
Uijeongbu Arts Center launches their "Morning Play" project later this month.
The opening play will be "The Vagina Monologues," featuring popular experienced theater actresses Choi Jung-won, Jeon Soo-kyung and Lee Kyung-mi who starred together in "Mamma Mia!" "We found out that our existing morning concert audiences outnumbered that of evening theatrical pieces. Because of the high demand, we decided to stage theatrical works in the morning, too," an Uijeongbu Arts Center spokesperson said.
"The Vagina Monologues" will be showing at the arts hall every Friday at 11 a.m. For details, call (031) 818-5833.
By Koh Young-aah