Started in 2001, the Seoul Performing Arts Festival (SPAF) is Korean largest, oldest and most iconic international performing arts festival, held every October for a month in Daehak-ro in Seoul and its vicinity. The SPAF serves as a venue of dialogue for artists and audience, offering contemporary performing art works, performances, workshops, forums and programs.

Artistic Vision

SPAF is an international performing arts festival that offers contemporary perspectives and values of the time. It appreciates the imaginative and creative powers and experimental nature of artists. The festival bases itself on the diversity, inclusivity and accessibility of art, while also pursuing and practicing an environment-friendly festival in response to the climate crisis.
SPAF also provides opportunities for contemporary audiences and local communities to enjoy and participate in performing arts. It promotes contemporary art based on the locality and translocality of Seoul, Korea and Asia, creating a venue of solidarity and cooperation with an international and global perspective.

Curatorial Direction 2022-2026

SPAF suggests five curatorial directions to achieve the new visions and missions of becoming “an international performing arts festival that embodies contemporary perspectives and values of the time”. At the same time, the SPAF aims to become an international performing arts festival that symbiotically exists along with the Korean ecosystem for performing arts.

Diversity, inclusivity and accessibility: The SPAF focuses on the transforming contemporary perspectives of art. Based on the diversity, inclusivity and accessibility of art, it embraces artists’ questions on gender, disability, aging, women and homosexuality.
Art and the climate crisis: The SPAF explores the relationship between art and the environment in the face of the climate crisis. It not only engages in art activities that think for the environment, but also questions various art forms and the roles of art in response to the climate crisis.
Art and technology: The SPAF questions art in today’s technology-driven world and promotes new experiments to connect the innovativeness of science and technology with art. It also views art from the posthumanistic perspective of non-humans and materials and the various perspectives of science and technology.
Locality and Translocality: The SPAF focuses on locality and locationality that are based on the history of Seoul and Korea, society, space, architecture and people. It pursues the translocality of art that communicates with the world based on the unique concept of location. Next mobility: The SPAF contemplates on the international mobility of artworks and artists in the post-pandemic world, its method and changes in its form. It asks new questions on the international meaning and globalism of the contemporary time.

Artistic Director Kyu Choi

2022-2026 Artistic director, Seoul Performing Arts Festival
Creative director, Performing Arts Market in Seoul

Kyu Choi joined the performing arts industry in the 1990s when his interests in the body (physicality), movements and materiality of play led him to festivals. He has produced location-specific performances and festivals based on cities’ spatiality and locality, focusing on art and spatiality. His recent interests lie in the relationships between art, city and people. Lately, Choi has been focusing on sound and music, which triggered his curiosity in the expandability of art through sound.

Furthermore, he explores the relationship between art and technology in the technology-driven world of today and new perspectives on contemporary performing arts that are based on diversity and inclusivity. He contemplates on the expandability of art along with scientific and technological advances and the roles of art from the posthumanistic viewpoint.

Starting with the Chuncheon Mime Festival 1994, Kyu Choi has served as the art director of the Ansan Street Arts Festival, UK/Korea 2017/18 and other festivals, directing and producing festival works. He founded AsiaNow in 2005 and has since been developing international exchanges of Korean theatrical play, various international collaborations and international residency projects for the last decade, working as a producer and dramaturgist. He also directed urban art project <Connected City> for the UK/Korea 2017/18 as a researcher. Another work of his includes the 2019 Korea DMZ Research Lab, which he directed under the theme of "the boundaries and co-existence of our times through the lens of the DMZ". He co-directed <Accessibility of Theatrical Space and Services for Disabled Audience>, a project on art’s diversity, accessibility and inclusivity. He co-directed <Disability Arts as Inclusive Accessbility•Creative Development and Building Creative Space> for the Jeju International Conference.

Choi promotes the independence and solidarity of the private sectors. He has been serving as a member of the steering committee of Asian Producer’s Platform and APP Camp, a collaborative network created in 2014 to support various project development of Asian producers.