Phare, The Cambodian Circus, is a must-see show for anyone visiting Siem Reap or Battambang. By going to this show, not only are you going to see amazing local talent, but you are also supporting a fantastic social enterprise.
The Cambodian Circus is an offshoot project of Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS) Association, which means “Brightness of the Arts” in English. PPS Association is a Cambodian non-profit founded in 1994 by eight young Cambodian ex-refugees artists in the area of Anchanh Village in the Battambang Province. They work mainly with disadvantaged young people and emphasize self-development and sustainability. The artists of the circus come from disadvantaged backgrounds including people who used to be on the street, trafficked, orphans. The arts and education helps them integrate into society.
My friends and I took a one hour circus workshop with a few of the performers and we have a much greater appreciate for people who juggle and do flips. We had trouble juggling three balls, let alone the 10 that they juggle in the shows, so I think we’ll leave it up to the pros.
I’ve been fortunate to see a few shows and enjoy watching these talented contortionists, jugglers, flippers and even breakdancers. All the shows tell stories of Cambodian lives and society. Now the artists have taken their performances around the world!