In February 2013, Phare, The Cambodian Circus presented its first outdoor show to visitors from around the world coming to Siem Reap to visit the Angkor Wat World Heritage Site.
Since then, we have grown to be the number one non-temple attraction in Siem Reap, with nightly indoor performances in our own red big-top tent.
Within our first two years of operation, we have made great strides towards our social mission and are continuing to build upon the foundation we have laid.
Our Uniquely Cambodian performances are thematically infused with Cambodian history and culture.
Belief in the supernatural, the hardships faced by Khmer children as their homeland struggles to develop, an outcast seeking the acceptance of his community, the risqué drama present in the Phnom Penh bar scene…
These and other themes are explored in Phare productions exclusively by Cambodian artists and set to live music.
Daringly Modern, moving beyond traditional circus, Phare blends contortion, juggling, acrobatics, balancing and aerial arts with theatre and modern dance forms. As the art scene in Cambodia revives itself in the post-war era, Phare’s productions are here to document the renaissance of our country’s creative expression while drawing upon modern circus techniques. We continue to believe in the power of artistic expression that gave birth to our organization and see it as an inspirational force in the growth of modern Cambodia.
Our social mission is an integral part of who we are. Phare Performing Social Enterprise has three complimentary social missions: Provide gainful employment to Cambodian youth from difficult social and economic backgrounds, financially sustain our parent organization Phare Ponleu Selpak NGO school, and contributing to the rebirth of Cambodian modern art.
All performers in Phare The Cambodian Circus learn their skills through Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS), an association providing arts education in Battambang, Cambodia. Young people from the streets, orphanages and struggling families in the community come to PPS to learn, express and heal themselves through the arts.
PPS formed 20 years ago by nine children and their art teacher when they returned home from a refugee camp after the fall of the Khmer Rouge. As survivors of the war, empowered by the creative self-expression learned through their art-making, the group wanted to share this gift of the arts with the underprivileged children of Battambang.
They founded an art school and a public school quickly followed to offer free education. A music school and theatre school were next, and finally, the circus school. Today more than 1,200 pupils attend the public school daily and 500 attend the alternative schools.
In 2013 Phare Performing Social Enterprise (PPSE) was founded in Siem Reap to offer visitors and locals alike Phare The Cambodian Circus. This offers PPS students and graduates somewhere to hone their skills and a place to earn a living wage. Operating in Siem Reap for over a year now, we hope to soon be making enough money to increase our artist’s compensation and generate real revenue to support ongoing PPS social and educational programming. Our 3 goals are to:
Create a gainful career opportunity for our artists.
Financially sustain our business and our parent organization, Phare Ponleu Selpak.
Develop the artistic culture of Cambodia.
We envision the arts as an instrument for human development and social change. Through international recognition for Cambodian arts, we at Phare can secure a brighter future for our community.
Phare, The Cambodian Circus: http://www.pharecambodiancircus.org/
Phare Ponleu Selpak: http://www.phareps.org/