The new entertainment sensation popular with tourists in Siem Reap, “Phare, The Cambodian Circus”, has celebrated its 5th anniversary. They continue to polish their stage performances, producing unique “acrobatics and drama” shows. The show is highly recommended if you are visiting Siem Reap.
Phare Circus originates from a refugee camp during the civil war period – where young people started a performing arts school. Its parent company is the NGO Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS) in Battambang. The fi rst show in Siem Reap was in 2013, it was a big hit and they now perform in a big top tent nightly.
With the absence of animals, bikes, clowns and high aerial swings, Phare Circus is a bit different from other circuses. Instead, around 10 actors make use of acrobats while performing a drama. For example, the show “Eclipse” is based on the mysterious happening in a Cambodian folktale– the story revolves around a bullied youngster taking revenge on the night of a lunar eclipse. The actions in the shows are the highlight, but the performance and production value is also appealing. They make full use of the live stage and it is well worth going to see!
This year the shows also include “Same same but different”, “Infl uence” and “Khmer Metal”. Each show lasts 1 hour, usually each show is performed for about a week at a time.
Many of the performers come from poor backgrounds and support their families through their earnings on stage. The performances also help fund the PPS school operations. They have made 9 works in the past 5 years and even performed overseas in several countries. Their shows often sell out – in peak season they average 9 thousand visitors a month.
The venue is on the ring road, on the west side of town – 2km from the Old Market. A large red tent marks the spot, and there are shops nearby. Tickets range from $18 to $38. They can sell out even in the low season so think about pre-booking. Please see their website for details.
Phare, The Cambodian Circus
Add: No.1855, Svay Dangkom Village, Sangkat Svay Dangkom, Siem Reap Tel: 015-499-480, 092-225-320
1, 3. Scenes of “Eclipse” 2. A scene of “Same Same But Different”