Phare, The Cambodian Circus
Uniquely Cambodian. Daringly Modern. More than just a circus, Phare, the Cambodian Circus performers use theater, music, dance and modern circus arts to tell uniquely Cambodian stories; historical, folk and modern. The young circus artists will astonish you with their energy, emotion, enthusiasm and talent.
Phare artists are graduates of the Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus School in Battambang, Cambodia. The school was founded in 1994 by nine young men returning home from a refugee camp after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime. They had taken art therapy courses at the camp and wanted to share the power of art to heal among the poor, socially deprived and troubled youth in Battambang. They started with drawing classes taught to a handful of students. Soon they opened a public school, then a music school, theatre school and circus school. Today more than 1,200 pupils attend the public school daily and 500 attend the vocational arts training programs.
In 2013, the school created Phare, The Cambodian Circus as a social enterprise based in Siem Reap, Cambodia, home to Angkor Wat and one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world. The mission was to create job opportunities for graduates of the circusschool and give back almost 75% of its profits to support the school’s programming. Phare, The Cambodian Circus performs nightly under a big top in Siem Reap and has been seen by over one hundred thousand people. Their productions have also toured extensively across Europe, Asia and the USA.
- Al Jazeera: Cambodia: Circus of Hope
- CNN: Under the Big Top at Cambodia's Edgy Phare Circus
- The Guardian (Photo Essay): Cambodia's Circus for Underprivileged Children
- TripAdvisor Profile of Siem Reap (Phare featured)
- Lonely Planet: Alternative Angkor (Phare featured)
- New York Times 36 Hours in Siem Reap (Phare featured)