Phare the Cambodian Circus is a can’t miss entertainment in Siem Reap. The baby of the professional arts centre of Phare Ponleu Selpak and NGO School, the Circus is located at the junction of Ring Road and Sok San Road. But what does it have to offer? Read along:
Sure, circus shows are great. But this circus helps change lives. Most of its actors are impoverished young people who have been given a purpose.
These people trained to perform all sorts of arts, and you can see them shine. Students even use the same style as Cirque de Soleil performers, although they promote Cambodian themes.
Phare Ponleu Selpak has been educating at-risk young people of Cambodia for over two decades. The Phare Circus is where they get employment and are able to continue their education. Most of these young people end up caring for their families, as well as taking part in community programs.
A Glimpse of Life
If you want to understand Cambodian culture, the shows here help you do that. “Khmer metal”, for instance, highlights the challenges that young adults face, including poverty. “Same Same but Different” talks about the differences between Cambodians and the tourists.
Both of these shows, as well as other, interpret social convention in unexpected ways. The performances are filled with passion, and that shows something about how the locals feel life.
The shows here are edgy and progressive. You won’t see many traditional performances, as the whole mindset of the Phare Circus is very innovative.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and your heart will throb. The patchwork of music, dance and unconventional expression might even annoy you sometimes. But that’s the purpose of progressive theatre: to make you feel.
All the scripts here are filled with intrigue, romance and offer a unique perspective on life. You’ll see adventure hand in hand with humour, and love stories interwoven with heartbreak.
The story lines are usually provocative and inspire you to question the things you feel are set in stone. The fresh take on life and at people is great. The major themes are discrimination, poverty, relationships, and war.
Amazing Special Effects
The atmosphere created here is incendiary. The wonderful performances and well-written scripts are enhanced by the effects used. For instance, “Eclipse” is set on original music and features Apsara dances.
As such, you will see strobe lights and smoke, wild music and loud noises. So if you’re sensitive to these things, or if you have small children, it’s better to address your concerns to the ticketing staff.
If you want to take home a piece of these performances, visit the Phare Boutique. The original art retailed here is produced by students, though there are some local handicrafts too. You can find music CDs, documentary DVDs, T-shirts with the Phare logo, as well as recyclable water bottles.
Purchasing these interesting mementos means more than just buying something nice for your home. The money you spend is used by the artists to avoid poverty and continue their work.
Even though you’re in Siem Reap just briefly, you might want to consider doing a circus workshop too. Visiting the temples in the region provides a spiritual experience, but doing a Phare Circus workshop is exhilarating.
The best reasons are that you can meet the stars and have fun with your group of friends. However, you also get to experience the show you just watched from a different perspective. The prices also include dinner and a show along with the actual workshop, so this is definitely worth it.
Once you’re done with the boutique, you can spend some time in the café. You can take this chance to discuss the show you’ve just seen or make new plans for the evening.
The Phare Café has great snacks, cold drinks and hot beverages. Besides, the atmosphere is great, especially at sunset.
The Phare Circus has a performance every night, plus the boutique and café are opened two hours before that. The ticket prices start at $18, and you have a lot to gain for that money: challenging new perspectives, progressive artwork and a chance to help others.
Grand Bayon Siem Reap Hotel can arrange taxis, reservations, and more. Please speak to our reception who will be able to give the best advice.