Phare, The Cambodian Circus in Siem Reap

Circus News

Phare, the Cambodian Circus in Siem Reap

Phare, the Cambodian Circus in Siem Reap, is more than a conventional acrobatic circus; rather, Phare artists create and perform stories based on their own life experiences. Drawing from recent history, folklore, and modern society, the artists blend drama, dance, live music, and circus arts to share a part of their lives with their audiences.

Phare Circus artists are students and graduates from Phare Ponleu Selpak’s vocational training center in Battambang.

Phare Ponleu Selpak–roughly translated as “The Brightness of the Arts”— is a non-profit art school that offers support to children, youth, and their surrounding communities through artistic, educational, social, and community outreach and engagement programs. Their performing, visual and applied arts leisure classes and vocational training programs aid children and young adults in developing their own creativity, communication, and concentration skills.

The Phare Ponleu Selpak association was formed in 1994 by nine young men coming home from a refugee camp after the Khmer Rouge regime. These young men were greatly helped through that hard time by an art teacher using drawing classes as a form of therapy. They wanted to share this new skill with the poor, socially deprived and troubled youngsters in Battambang. Thus, the nine men founded an art school, which was then followed by a public school in order to offer free education.

A music school and a theatre school were next. And, finally, for the kids who wanted more, there came the circus school.Today, more than 1,200 students attend the public school daily, and 500 attend the alternative schools. Basically, Phare, The Cambodian Circus, is the social business extension of the Phare Ponleu Selpak non-profit schools. Phare Ponleu Selpak also has extensive outreach programs, trying to help with the problems highlighted in their own tales. The students come from unimaginably difficult social and economic backgrounds.

The circus offers students and graduates somewhere and some way to hone their skills and a place to earn a decent wage: money that will help them break the cycle of poverty and give them and their families self-respect and freedom. These circus school graduates have the opportunity to develop sustainables career as artists in the Phare Circus whilst also helping to preserve and promote Cambodian arts and culture. And you can do your part, too. By attending a Phare Circus show, you financially support the school and help provide opportunities for Cambodian artists. Or, if you’re not near Siem Reap but want to do something tangible right now, you can donate here.

 

On their website, Phare, The Cambodian Circus, promises, “the young circus artists will astonish you with their energy, emotion, enthusiasm, and talent.” The many enthusiastic reviews of Phare promise the same. Here are a few reviews from TripAdvisor: “A wonderful night out that is entertaining, awe-inspiring, and thrilling. The performers are brilliant and very athletic. What they do, mere mortals could not even contemplate. Great fun.”“An excellent and super fun production. This is a show with a storyline (no language used) and advanced acrobatics. Very well done. The storyline is easy to follow and incorporates a lot of humor with facial expressions, etc. We all really enjoyed it. There is a food court before the show where you can purchase traditional food at a very reasonable price and eat it before going in. The show lasts about an hour. Highly recommend.” “Fabulous from the beginning until the end. Phare embraces artistic excellence with a Khmer touch. Simply put, it was amazing! Don’t expect a circus in its conventional definition, but a truly engaging, one-hour piece of pure entertainment with a deep social message. This was my second time seeing Phare, and it will certainly not be my last one.”

So it’s time to book a flight to Cambodia. Or to, at least, keep this inspirational circus group on your to-do list for when you travel through Southeast Asia.

Phare Official Website / Phare on Tripadvisor / Official Website Phare Ponleu Selpak’s Vocational Training Center

This article was originally published on TheatreArtLife.com. 

Liam Klenk
Liam Klenk was born in Central Europe and has since lived on four continents. Liam has always been engaged in creative pursuits, ranging from photography and graphic design, to writing short stories and poetry, to working in theatre and shows. In 2016, Liam published his first book and memoir, ‘Paralian’.
...
Thanks for reading CircusTalk.News.
Support us by registering and subscribing!
FOR UNLIMITED ACCESS TO ALL NEWS CONTENT + JOB LISTING.

Learn more about PRO and PRO Casting

Do you have a story to share? Submit your news story, article or press release.

Liam Klenk

Liam Klenk was born in Central Europe and has since lived on four continents. Liam has always been engaged in creative pursuits, ranging from photography and graphic design, to writing short stories and poetry, to working in theatre and shows. In 2016, Liam published his first book and memoir, ‘Paralian’.