Sejong Center for the Performing Arts unveils beefed-up 2023 program

Ahn Ho-sang, CEO of Sejong Center for the Performing Arts announces this year's program during a press conference on Tuesday at the Sejong Center in central Seoul. [SEJONG CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS]

Sejong Center for the Performing Arts in central Seoul announced its lineup for this year on Tuesday. It will be presenting a total of 28 different performances that will stage a total of 251 shows, which is 74 percent increase from last year. The surge is mostly due to the country going back to normal after Covid-19, but also because of CEO Ahn Ho-sang’s determination to increase the number of performances by the center’s resident companies.

“With the new pedestrian-friendly Gwanghwamun Plaza, people can now access the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts more easily and on foot from different directions. I believe, has helped bring the center closer to people,” said Ahn. “In turn, I felt a sense of responsibility to show changes in this year’s program to make them more ‘friendly’ as well,” said Ahn.

The center has six resident companies — Seoul Metropolitan Traditional Orchestra, Seoul Metropolitan Dance Theatre, Seoul Metropolitan Chorus, Seoul Metropolitan Musical Theatre, Seoul Metropolitan Theatre and Seoul Metropolitan Opera. Of all the shows set for the year, 23 performances of 222 shows will be from resident companies. It’s a big increase from last year, saw 19 performances with 114 shows from the residents.

“I believe polarization of the performing arts market with K-pop stars is rapidly accelerating,” said Ahn, explaining that performances like musicals that can’t afford to cast a K-pop idol star can barely stage a show while ones that can, sell out in minutes.

“Therefore, it was crucial for us to make sure that the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts establishes a stable production environment by increasing the production quality of the resident companies.”

Ahn said he sowed the seeds last year, by appointing young new heads for most of its resident companies so they can produce innovative new works, and “hopefully they can bloom flowers this year.”

Some of the highlights of the program include Seoul Metropolitan Theatre’s new works, “Kiss,” “Getting Out” “Carmen,” Good Doctor” and “Collection,” all by Korea’s acclaimed playwright Koh Sun-woong, who was appointed as the company's new director by Ahn last year.

Seoul Metropolitan Dance Theatre's ″Ilmu,″ which premiered last year, will be staged at the Sejong Center's Grand Theater from May 25 to 28. [SEJONG CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS]

There’s also “The Magic Flute” and “Turandot” by Seoul Metropolitan Opera, as well as Seoul Metropolitan Dance Theatre’s “Ilmu,” which premiered last year and received a great response from both critics and audiences. “Ilmu” is a collaboration work between the new head Jeong Hye-jin and fashion designer Jung Ku-ho, who produced hit works like “Dan” and “Hyangyeon” for the National Dance Company of Korea.

Three different season tickets, which allow audiences to pick a number of performances offered by the Sejong Center this year at a discount price will go on sale from Wednesday at 2 p.m. through the Sejong Center’s official website ( or by calling (02) 399-1000.