Phare, The Cambodian Circus

*Disclaimer – No Animals Are Used In This Circus*

Amidst all the partying and historic temples Cambodia is a wealth of beauty, history and surprise. Phrae, The Cambodian Circus certainly ticks all of those boxes!

If you’re looking for something unique to do when the borders re-open, check out our guide below….

The History

Courtesy of Klook

Phare artists are students and graduates from Phare Ponleu Selpak’s vocational training center in Battambang. The association was formed in 1994 by 9 young men coming home from a refugee camp after the Khmer Rouge regime.

They were greatly helped during that time by an art teacher using drawing classes as therapy and wanted to share this new skill among the poor, socially deprived and troubled youngsters in Battambang. They founded an art school and public school followed to offer free education.

A music school and theatre school were next and finally, for the kids who wanted more, the circus school. Today more than 1,200 pupils attend the public school daily and 500 attend the alternative schools. Phare Ponleu Selpak also has extensive outreach programs, trying to help with the problems highlighted in their own tales.

Phare The Cambodian Circus offers these students and graduates somewhere to hone their skills and a place to earn a decent wage. Money that will take them out of poverty and give them self-respect and freedom.

The Circus

Thanks to Nomad is Beautiful for this shot

Phare the Cambodian Circus isn’t a conventional circus, with an emphasis on performance art and a subtle social message behind each performance . Operated by Cambodia’s biggest circus, theatre and performing-arts organisation, Phare Ponleu Selpak opened its big top for nightly shows in 2013, Located in Siem Reap it is a must see when visiting.

Local artists enthral spectators every night as they combine their talents with local music and tales that depict Cambodian culture and society and the lives (and struggles) of Cambodians – both traditional and contemporary. Themes include war, discrimination, relationships, poverty, and spirits.

The Stories

Get ready for some interesting stories told by the circus crew…..

Phsong Preng (The Adventure) 

The Adventure tells the moving and exciting story of a young Cambodian boy who leaves his hometown in search of a better life. He flees his home, where he is abused by his mother, and meets new unusual friends from a “medicine show” waiting for a taxi. When the “taxi” arrives, they all travel to Phnom Penh. There they get to experience the dark side of life, before our hero ends up beaten and robbed by a gang of thugs finally ending up in hospital.

He is saved by a chance meeting with a band of smart street urchins, who take him in as one of their own, building his confidence and helping him to hold his head high. Bolstered by his adventures, he finally decides he is ready to return home.

Phsong Preng is a modern Cambodian tale mixing high level theatre, music, dance, acrobatics and juggling, which carries you on an emotional and exciting journey through today’s Cambodia.

Khmer Metal!

Khmer Metal is nightlife, adventure, passion, love, hope, heartbreak, tears and derision with humour and humanity. Khmer Metal reflects on urban life while its rock band pounds like your heartbeat.

In a funky, grungy Phnom Penh rock bar, the well-connected owner Bang Son, small dealer and occasional fraudster, is used to getting into trouble with his “brother” Chhaya, the nominal bar security guard. An edgy, progressive modern tale performed by talented young Cambodians using music, dance, acting and modern circus arts.

If you want to learn more about Phare, click the link here. If you’ve been before, let us know in the comments!

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