[SMA Insider] Jeongdong Maru_Korean Tradition in the Heart of the City
Theater manager Park Jinwan discusses how the unique event venue is a space where people and culture can mingle.
Manager Park Jinwan from Jeongdong Maru Theater
Representational Performances of Traditional Korean Art
Opened in 1995, Jeongdong Maru is a theater filled with history, being a restoration of Wongaksa, Korea’s first modern theater, which in turn opened in 1955. Jeongdong-gil, the street along which the theater is located, is also a place of rich history and tradition, creating a uniquely Korean atmosphere for all who visit the theater. Perhaps this is why Jeongdong’s popularity with locals and international visitors is growing. Following is our chat with theater manager Park Jinwan, who talked about how Jeongdong Maru is a place where people and culture can coexist.
Bringing People and Culture Together
In Korea, a maru is the center space of a traditional Korean house, or hanok, where residents and guests would come together. The name is the perfect fit as Jeongdong Maru a perfect place for corporate events, special occasions, and traditional activities. According to Park, “Jeongdong Maru is not that big. It’s a unique venue that can hold up to 80-100 people. When you enter Jeongdong Maru via Jeongdong-gil, you can see the panoramic space created by the hanok’s unique doors and wide floors. Within, you can enjoy everything from business events to various other experiences in a traditional Korean atmosphere.” Park also explained the theater’s special features. “Since Jeongdong Maru is designed to have a low ceiling and no thresholds, international visitors can really get the feeling traveling in time.This feeling maximizes during the janggu, dance performances and pansori traditional Korean storytelling performance in traditional Korean costumes (hanbok). These experiences can be extra special for MICE participants.”
Asked what he considered to be the most memorable event held at Jeongdong Maru, Park responded, “Every event has been very special and meaningful, so it’s hard to choose just one. However, if I absolutely had to pick one, I would say our very first MICE event, ‘The Seoul MICE Supporters Debut Ceremony’. This was the starting point of Jeongdong Maru to become a ‘unique venue’. Beyond that, ‘Seoul Culture Night’, the ‘Korea-Taiwan Student Music Exchange’ event and ‘Seoul 50 Plus Foundation MOU Agreement Ceremony’ are all very notable.”
Park also emphasized the role Jeongdong Maru plays in bringing the world to Korea. “It’s important to offer a space showcasing ‘living’ traditional culture so that visitors from abroad can go beyond wandering around historical sites and eating traditional Korean food. This is why we are putting a lot of effort into creating events for MICE groups as well as the activities and performances mentioned earlier. Ideally, we want to create Korean experiences that can move minds of our international guests.”
“Jeongdong Maru is a space that motivated me.
I’m going to put all of my passion into my work
to offer various experiences as a gift
to foreigners who visit Korea.”