The Chongdong Theater was opened in 1995 as an annex to the National Theater of Korea. Come to watch performances of traditional genres of Korean theater, such as pansori, a type of singing.
Chongdong’s flagship show is Miso (meaning “smile”), which has been performed here since 1997. Miso is a family-friendly love story that incorporates vibrant Korean costume, music and dancing. Hear a traditional percussion quartet and witness a fan dance called buchaechum. Miso is widely hailed as one of Seoul’s top visitor attractions. Entertainment is fused with education to produce a show that provides insight into Korea’s cultural heritage.
There is little dialogue in the production, and any Korean words are translated into English and other languages. At the end of the show, performers come out to mingle with the audience. Have your camera ready to snap photos with the cast.
A gift shop sells mementos of the show and other Korean culture-related souvenirs. If you want to eat before the show, consider the theater’s restaurant, where dishes of pasta, steak and risotto are served throughout the day.
In the mild spring and fall weather, lunchtime performances are held at the Ssamji Madang, Chongdong Theater’s outdoor courtyard. Shows are free, and there’s no need to book. That said, it’s recommended you arrive early to secure a good position.
Chongdong Theater is open Tuesday through Sunday. Get there by subway to Seodaemun, Gwanghwamun or City Hall. The box office opens one hour before the performance starts, but arrive early to secure tickets. Miso lasts for about 70 minutes, and there is usually a matinee and an evening performance.