Having spent the past week being truly horrified by the events of the Khmer Rouge regime, my journey through Cambodia concluded with a trip to the Phare Circus in Siem Reap.
Phare Circus should be experienced at least once along your travels through this beautiful country. And don’t worry animal lovers, this circus is strictly human (arguably super-human)!
Not only will you be guaranteed an evening of entertainment by a group of acrobats who make Stretch-Armstrong look stiff (fellow 90s kids will appreciate that reference), but by purchasing a ticket to one of the performances, you are supporting the training school which continues to provide underprivileged youths with an education and performing arts training.
The Birth of Phare
Phare was the brainchild of nine young refugees who were returning to Cambodia after the fall of the Khmer Rouge.
They turned to the performing arts as a form of therapy in the refugee camps. Since then, the school has grown to over 1200 trainees, and the profits from the performances go back in to the school to train and educate the performers.
The performers are trained at Phare Ponleu Salpak in Battambang and are provided with a free public education as well as performing arts training.
It is an opportunity a lot of them would otherwise not have. Organisations such as Phare do vital work in supporting the development of Cambodia’s next generation.
What to expect at Phare Circus
Phare is a storytelling performance. It started in refugee camps after the Khmer Rouge as a form of therapy to young refugees. Phare continues to tell the stories of contemporary Cambodian life.
The performance will be in Khmer but fear not, there are screens up with English subtitles. However, you’ll soon find that you are so engrossed in the performance, you will forget the subtitles and let the music and acrobatics do the talking.
I watched a performance called ‘Khmer Metal’, a story which explores the lives of urban workers in Cambodia. The story is set in a typical Phnom Penh bar owned by two brothers. The bar forms the intersect between the different people and social circles found in Cambodia – tourists, locals, thieves and lovers.
Told through a combination of dance, acrobatics, singing and acting, Khmer Metal brings circus up to speed by telling the stories of modern life.
Phare Circus makes for an evening of entertainment for every-one, from young families to culture-loving backpackers.
The energy of the performers is extraordinary, as they provide you with an experience of exclusively Cambodian culture.
It is an opportunity you don’t want to miss out on during your trip to Cambodia!