Top national theaters set to open after two quiet months

Key national theaters and art companies, including the National Theater of Korea, above, is to resume their shows and exhibitions from this month. [YONHAP]

Key national theaters and art companies are coming back to life to resume shows, ending their nearly two-month closure over the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced Wednesday that five national theaters - the National Theater of Korea, Jeongdong Theater, Myeongdong Theater, the Asia Culture Center and the National Gugak Center’s four regional branches - will resume their shows next week.

Seven other national art companies, including the National Theater Company of Korea, the Korea National Ballet, the Korea National Opera and the Korea National Contemporary Dance Company, will also start to put on shows again this month, according to the ministry.

The business resumption ends the national institutions’ shutdown about two months ago, due to the government’s intensive social distancing guidelines, aimed at curving the coronavirus outbreak.

Over the weekend, the government announced laxer quarantine guidelines, effective Wednesday onward, as Korea’s new daily infection cases dropped to the single-digit level recently.

As the first show to go on stage after the pandemic, the National Theater of Korea will premier “Chunhyang” on May 14 onward in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the national institution, according to the Culture Ministry.

On May 12, the Asia Culture Center will premier a commemorative show, “I was not in Gwangju,” marking the 40th anniversary of the May 18 Democratization Movement this year, the first show since the lockdown.

Starting May 16, the National Gugak Center will resume its weekly Saturday performance series, while the Korea National Ballet is planning to stage “Giselle” on June 10.