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Performing arts fest for youngsters to kick off nationwide

Bang Ji-young, chairperson of ASSITEJ Korea, speaks to reporters at the ASSITEJ Korea International Summer Festival press conference on Monday. (Yonhap)
Bang Ji-young, chairperson of ASSITEJ Korea, speaks to reporters at the ASSITEJ Korea International Summer Festival press conference on Monday. (Yonhap)
The ASSITEJ Korea International Summer Festival, a performing arts festival for children and teenagers, will be held around the country for the first time this year.

The 23-day event will run July 17-Aug. 8 in major cities, including Seoul, Daegu, Gwangju and Incheon both in-person and virtually.

“Quality performances for children are concentrated in the metropolitan area,” Bang Ji-young, chairperson of ASSITEJ Korea, said during a press conference held at Dream Art Center in Seoul, Monday, in explaining the decision to take the festival nationwide.

Of some 23,492 performances held in Korea during the first half of this year, more than 80 percent took place within the Seoul metropolitan area, according to a ASSITEJ Korea report.

Under the theme “Come with me, now!” this year’s ASSITEJ Korea International Summer Festival will delve into the true meaning of living and bring hope for a swift recovery from the pandemic. The people-to-people and people-to-nature relationships are two key concepts that will be performed onstage and discussed.

Poster for the 2021 ASSITEJ Korea International Summer Festival (ASSITEJ Korea)
Poster for the 2021 ASSITEJ Korea International Summer Festival (ASSITEJ Korea)
A total of 12 plays will be presented -- nine from Korea and three from overseas. Korean productions, including musicals and puppet shows featuring themes such as relationships with family and friends, endangered animals and imaginary monsters, will be staged at local theaters.

Nonverbal performance “Air Play” from the US, Japanese shadow play “Hand Shadow ANIMARE,” and Canadian musical theater play “Papa Hen” will be available online on Naver TV Live starting Aug. 2.

In addition, two special programs -- “Looking back on 100 years of children and youth plays” and “Workshops for theatrical play tutors” will be held through YouTube and Zoom via ASSITEJ Korea’s official website.

Meanwhile, Bang urged the need for a law aimed at promoting culture and arts among the youth. ASSITEJ Korea is working closely with the Korean Playwright Association and the Korea Directors Associations and holding discussions with legislators toward that end, she added.

By Kim Hae-yeon (hykim@heraldcorp.com)
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