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© Leontien Allemeersch

The History of Korean Western Theatre

Jaha Koo

What is Korean theatre? This deceptively simple question gives rise to a host of others, all of them crucial and unanswerable. In 2008, South Korean theatre, celebrating its hundredth anniversary, seemed to Jaha Koo like a sterile practice, diluted by forced westernization. Yet this peninsular nation was once stirred by dance, ceremonies, and rituals full of mythical figures. Jaha Koo, as heir to an amputated memory, probes the shadows of childhood and the blind spots of History to create from the ruins of the past a form of theatre that responds to the present.

The History of Korean Western Theatre follows the irresistible Cuckoo, whose disarming uniqueness delighted Montréal audiences in 2019. Always applying himself with a whimsical rigour to subverting documentary, this genre-defying artist is spreading his wings wide, filling the stage with his delicate, enchanting sound and visual creations.

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© Leontien Allemeersch

Jaha Koo (Seoul + Ghent) CAMPO

Jaha Koo graduated in theatre studies from the Korea National University of Arts in Seoul and continued his training at DasArts in Amsterdam, where he moved in 2012. Jaha Koo has been splitting his time between the Netherlands and Belgium for the past ten years.

Full biography

Media Coverage

The history of Korean Western Theatre reassesses a lost culture while at the same time meticulously analyzing the influence of superpowers; on the individual man, on a nation, on a culture.”


Moos Van den Broek, (Germany), 2021-05-27

“Every detail in that story is given a function and, in this way, he makes connections between history and autobiography.”

Moos Van den Broek, (Germany), 2021-05-27


“We must work to reappropriate the full truth of our heritage and make sure our ancestors do not become sacrifices to history. I want to make the voice of my grandmother resonate with my son, whose job it will be to help shape the world to come.”

Read the interview