2012 Thames Festival – Korean Section

Written by on August 23, 2012 in Worldwide Korea Bloggers

* This post is written by Korean Class Massive, one of the Korea Blog’s Worldwide Korea Bloggers.

2011 Thames Festival – The Kukkiwon Taekwondo Demonstration Team’s Taekwondo Performence (Photo by KCCUK)

It’s been one plentiful summer for all us Londoners this year with the KCC’s All Eyes on Korea programme. We have been treated to numerous exhibitions, performances at the Southbank, art, culture, lectures and for a very lucky few, fashion too! But sadly it’s all starting to come to an end. As mentioned all the way back in April at the announcement of this programme, our Korean summer will be going out with a bang via the annual Thames Festival on 8-9 September 2012. 

Once again Korea gets it’s own stage in the festival, this year in front of the trendy Tate museum and there are many treats in store for us. The Thames Festival is a great annual London event that is fun for everyone, from adults, teens, to young children, there is something for everyone all along the Thames. This year’s schedule looks even more jam-packed than last year’s impressive line up! Schedule from the Thames Festival website:

Saturday 8 September
1.10pm Babbling Comedy 2 by Perfordian Factory
2.20pm Traditional Korean Wedding & Stage Performance
4.40pm Kukkiwon Taekwondo Display Team
5.50pm Yeonheedan Palsandae
7pm K-Pop Contest

Sunday 9 September
12.10pm Babbling Comedy 2 by Perfordian Factory
1.30pm Traditional Korean Wedding & Stage Performance
3.40pm Kukkiwon Taekwondo Display Team
4.50pm Yeonheedan Palsandae
5.50pm Babbling Comedy 2 by Perfordian Factory
6.50pm Kukkiwon Taekwondo Display Team
8.10pm Screening of Jeong Yoon-chul’s film Marathon

2011Thames Festival –  Sookmyung Gayageum Orchestra Workshop (Photo by KCCUK)

Read on for more information on the programme…
Starting off both days will be Babbling Comedy who also performed last year and was one of our favourite sets! In Babbling Comedy you will see some good ol’ fashion Korean slapstick comedy which features some impressive skills. Last year we got some amazing beat boxing that had the whole park booming with laughter. What do the funny guys have in store for us this year? Korean Comedy is always the best and something that we always wish there was more of in the UK! Also returning to the stage this year is the Taekwondo Display Team, a staple of the Thames Festival! Even in the rain last year, they were performing gravity defying high jumps and kicking ass in super in-sync motion. It’s always brilliant to watch and one that gets everyone from Adults to kids excited! 

2011 Thames Festival – The Kukkiwon Taekwondo Demonstration Team’s Workshop (Photo by KCCUK)

The Korean section will include a live performance by Lee Lee Nam before each live performance; audiences will be greeted with a series of stunning large-scale projections. We have no idea what this could mean, but it sounds epic!!! Let’s hope the weather is good this year! Another new and mysterious thing to look forward to is “Yeonheedan Palsandae”. We put on our detective hats and with our amazing Korean Skills figured out it’s 연희단 팔산대 and with the help of google we found the following video to give you an idea of what to expect:
People who went to the MBC Culture Festival or B.A.P fans should recognise this iconic traditional dance! It’s going to be a visually stunning stage and something the London public is sure to find fascinating!

2011 Thames Festival – Performence by The Moby Duck Theatre Company, in collaboration with Korea’s Sadari Theatre. (Photo by KCCUK)

Hopefully we’ll see something a bit more traditional!
One of the highlights of this year’s festival is the Traditional Korean Wedding & Stage Performance. Western white weddings have been featured in numerous Hollywood films and is a concept that people all over the world has adopted and adapted. But Asian wedding traditions are still quite unfamiliar especially in the UK. We’ve been eagerly awaiting this festival for ages and really can’t wait to see all the amazing colourful wedding hanboks. We had a little taster during the MBC Culture Festival with Park Su Nyeol showing off a number of couple hanboks. But we’re hoping the key words “Stage Performance” will mean something exciting in store!
Another familiar work we will be seeing is from artist Meekyoung Shin, who will be leading workshops in making colourful soap bricks! This is actually a lot more interesting than it sounds. Meekyoung is currently featured at Saatchi Gallery’s Korean eye and we’ve talked about her masterful work before. Meekyoung’s signature is using soap to create epic replicate antique vases! The soap bricks will be used to create a replica of Cheomsungdae, the 7th century astronomical observatory in Gyeongju, Korea, one of the oldest scientific installations on Earth. And if soap’s not your thing, how about a workshop with contemporary Korean artist Hong Sang-sik whose work involves creating shapes and objects with dried noodles? Who can say no to noodles?
Both days will end with a suitable finale. Saturday’s schedule will come to an end with a Kpop contest; Kpop fans of London will be taking to the stage and performing for a chance to win grand prizes such as a trip to South Korea! If you’re interested, you can find out how to enter here, you have until 24th August to apply. It’s sure to get everyone dancing and a chance for Londoners to show off their skills! Sunday will then see a more chilled out end, a movie screening of the film Marathon (2005). Now, Marathon holds a dear place in our hearts. It’s a really touching film that will have people shedding a tear then cheering triumphantly. If you have not seen this it’s definitely worth staying for and a fine way to end a weekend of ample fun. Fun Fact: Ema wrote her dissertation on this film! So it must be good right?

We hope to see everyone there! It’s going to be super packed but fun filled weekend! Babbling Comedy is a seat filler so make sure you go early to bag a good spot! It’s going to be sad to see the end of Summer, but we cannot think of any other perfect way to end this crazy summer!

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The Korea Blog was launched on January 31, 2011 by the Korean Culture and Information Service (KOCIS), a part of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. This blog aims to show the hip and contemporary side of Korean life and culture.