My name is Jan Creutzenberg. I studied at Freie Universität Berlin (Theatre Studies, major) and Humboldt University (Philosophy and Cultural Studies, minors). I am living in Seoul since 2010 and currently work as an Assistant Professor at Sungshin University (German Language and Literature), coordinate the “Asian Composers Showcase” for Goethe-Institut Korea, and conduct research on Korean theatre, both traditional and contemporary. My focus lies on the traditional performing art pansori (판소리), but I am also interested in adaptations of Brecht and Shakespeare, cross-cultural experiments, and drama translation.

I submitted my dissertation on “Creating Community: Moments of ‘We’ in Contemporary Pansori Performances” (see abstract) in February 2017 and am currently preparing my disputation, to be held in June. In my PhD-project, I deal with the various ways that pansori is performed today in Korea.

pansori singer Song Bora of ensemble Taroo


Pansori comes in many forms. The picture above, for example, shows a performance by members of the ensemble Taroo (국악뮤지컬집단 타루), took place one sunny afternoon in 2012 in the backyard of a traditional house in Bukchon, Seoul. The singer Song Bora (송보라) presents a part of the piece Simcheong-ga (심청가), supported by drummer Jeong Jong-im (정종임), for more on this event, see my blog-post. In my dissertation I discuss a variety of performances that range from orthodox “full-length” (완창) performances to touristic potpourris, experimental new works, or theatrical productions that employ pansori singing techniques.

Some of the questions I am concerned with are:

  • How do singers, musicians, and theatre-makers attempt to involve the audience in their performance?
  • How are people participating in pansori in different contexts?
  • How can interaction evoke communal feelings—or, in the contrary, a sense of estrangement?
  • What effects can the peculiar pansori voice have on those who listen to it?
  • Does the image of pansori—as a valuable tradition and a unique art form—make participation difficult and in which ways?