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Culture Minister shares Korea’s experience in keeping theaters open amid pandemic

Culture Minister Park Yang-woo (right) and his British counterpart Oliver Dowden hold a videoconference on Wednesday evening. (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)
Culture Minister Park Yang-woo (right) and his British counterpart Oliver Dowden hold a videoconference on Wednesday evening. (Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism)


Culture Minister Park Yang-woo on Wednesday evening held a videoconference with British counterpart Oliver Dowden and shared Korea’s experience with COVID-19 safety guideline compliance in performing venues.

According to the ministry, the videoconference took place at the request of Britain, which sought advice and guidance related to preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus, especially in the cultural sector.

During the videoconference, Dowden asked about Korea’s experience of resuming “The Phantom of the Opera.” Korea is still seeing musicals staged even as the global pandemic has shut down Broadway and the West End.

“The performing theaters have been strictly following the guideline that calls for zigzag seating configuration, wearing masks throughout the performance and this has led to an increase in the number of theater audience members and moviegoers,” Park said in response.

Park also noted some of the tax benefits and financial assistance that the Korean government is providing, including emergency loans for performing artists, in an effort to revive the culture sector that has been experiencing financial difficulties due to the spread of the virus.

“We discussed challenges facing our sectors and also how we can start to reopen with safety precautions. Fascinating to hear what they’ve been doing to reopen West End shows safely,” Dowden tweeted after the videoconference.

During the conference, the two culture chiefs also discussed holding the “ROK-UK Creative Industries Forum.”

Established in 2014, the forum aims to share British and Korean policies and the creative industry. The latest forum was held in London in 2018 with the theme “Cultural Technology.” The two chiefs said they will work on holding the next forum in Korea in the second half of this year.

By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)
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