None of the 29 performances at Samsung Hall, a highly regarded state-of-the-art facilities at Ewha, located in the Ewha Campus Complex (ECC) been hosted by Ewha students since the facility opened in May 2009.
Ewha students are required to pay a 1,500,000 won rental fee. Although the fee is lower compared to what the people not affiliated with Ewha pay, it still has been a huge burden for students for not having any students’ discount.
The case of Heo Sun (French Literature, 3) and her friends has become all too typical. In July 2009 they tried to book Samsung Hall to perform a play, but nixed their plans because of the complex rental procedure and expensive fees.
“The play was major part of our play schedule, so we wanted to perform it in Samsung Hall where the stage facilities are the best,” Heo said. “But we could not afford the fee without support from the school.”
Samsung Hall, managed by Interpark Inc., is a futuristic 616-seat theatre with professional facilities equipped to host musicals, plays, and concerts. It has been a pie-in-the-sky that is on the dining room table every evening, teasing students who pass by it every day. Without a discount, Ewha students either must pay the daily fee or find another place.
“I had really hoped to perform at Samsung Hall for graduation, but we gave up after we found out about the exorbitant fees,” Kang Ye-jin (’09, Dance) said. “We really regretted it because the graduation performance is the biggest event for dance majors.”
School clubs like ReleAse (a rock band club) and Ewha Theater Association also abandoned plans to rent Samsung Hall. Instead, they booked cheaper facilities off-campus.
“Even though Samsung hall is a privately run facility, it is a space on the campus,” Park Jee-eun (Politics, 2) said. “It should at least offer a discount on rental fees.”
There are other hidden fees, such as having to pay for heating and cooling. The biggest burden of all is that students must hire professional technicians to handle things like stage lighting.
Not only are those technicians costly to hire, but contacting and arranging them without assistance from the school has been a great barrier for students. Meanwhile, Sogang Universtiy Mary Hall the biggest art theater in Sogang, provides various advantages to its students. Although the rental fee for outsiders is around 1,500,000 won, students can apply for free rental during the week days. Students have complained on the Internet and to each other, but school officials say they have yet to receive official complaints.
“We would like to encourage students to use the space as long as they can afford the fee and arrange technicians,” said an official with the Center for the Performing Arts who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “Some students called to question about the rental procedure, but after hearing about the cost they need to pay, they all gave up.”
Although school officials insist that they want students to host events at Samsung Hall, students wonder when their actions will match their words.
“I do not know how the school can say they encourage students to utilize the place without providing any realistic support,” said Kim Su-hyun (Public Administration, 2). “I hope Ewha will make it easier for students to use the hall.”