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Non-verbal performance marks first year in Hongdae

NANTA is celebrating its first anniversary at its newest theater in Hongdae.

After a successful 15 years touring almost 300 cities around the world, NANTA is targeting young Korean audiences.

“NANTA has an old image so we built a new theater in Hongdae to attract the youth,” marketing director of NANTA Hongdae Baik Hyun-wook, said.

“The content of the show is appropriate for all ages, but the comedy and drama of the show is especially appealing to young people.”
A scene from “Nanta.” (PMC)
A scene from “Nanta.” (PMC)

The non-verbal performance set in a kitchen revolves around five characters challenged to prepare a wedding banquet, who then go about their task using a variety of musical and comedy styles.

One of the stand-out elements of the show involves the innovative use of cooking utensils as musical instruments, but Baik wants to re-invent local perceptions of the show.

“Korean people have misconceptions about NANTA. They usually think it’s just drum stuff, but it has drama, comedy and a story,” he said. “The story is simple but good. You get good vibrations that make you forget about stress and work.”

Another reason for the placement of NANTA in Hongdae is to attract a more local audience.

Eighty percent of people seeing the show are foreigners, Baik said. In Myeong-dong, more than 90 percent of audience members are Japanese, and other theaters in Jeong-dong and Jeju perform to a high number of Southeast Asian tourists.

“We want to make Korean audiences proud of us and get more local people to enjoy the show,” he said. “We have found that because of the location of NANTA in Hongdae, we are now getting a 60-40 balance of foreigners to locals.”

A 20 percent discount for Korean nationals is also available all year to celebrate NANTA Hongdae’s anniversary.

The Hongdae location will be the newest NANTA theater in Korea for some time as producers shift focus overseas to open theaters in Thailand and China.

By Maryann Wright, Intern reporter