On a very fine day of May 2019, I was standing starstruk in front of The Paramount Theater in Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America. This is Phare’s Third USA Tours after “Khmer Metal” in 2015 and “Khmer Village in 2016”. The Paramount Theater stands tall and proud in the middle of the city center. Images of the now long-lost iconic arts venues in my native Cambodia in the golden years of the 50s and 60s came flashing in my vision. My wishful thinking was that we would bring them back to their glory. I stared at the entrance of this magnificent theater for a good 5 minutes.
A big poster in front of the theater reads:
The World on stage
IRELAND FRANCE CAMBODIA
UK POLAND USA RUSSIA
I smiled from ear to ear to see my beloved, once one of the oldest civilizations, now-a small, war-torn, traumatized yet culturally rich nation, was standing equally on the same stage with some of the world’s most advanced nations. This is all thanks to our ancestors for leaving us with heritages, Identity and traditions of Cambodian arts and culture.
Thanks to our artists, cultural ambassadors and countless local and international partners, we are helping shape the image of our country to the outside world in a positive light.
This thought brought me to an encounter I had with a Canadian researcher that I recently met thanks to the introduction by our good friend and partner, Cambodian Living Arts. When being posed with a question: “What Cirque du Soleil means to you and other Canadians?” His eyes sparkled, he answered with a smile that: “Cirque du Soleil is our Celine Dion. They are both our Canadian pride.” Hist enthusiastic response transferred the energy to me and made me returned to him with a big smile. In the back of my head I was saying to myself: “I know that Cambodian culture and Phare artists are also my Cambodian pride, the same way he felt about Cirque du Soleil. I know that this is our competitive advantage to help us be relevant and present in global conversations.”
I then set myself on a mission to document a year in review of 2019 of Phare’s international tours to look at what Phare artists did that touched lives and hearts of hundreds of people in Cambodia and around the world. I wanted to look at where and how our cultural ambassadors are making people see us as an energetic, dynamic, youthful, peaceful and hopeful people of a nation that are reviving and revitalizing our rich cultural heritages.
In addition to more than 400 performances per year in Siem Reap’s Phare Circus iconic red bigtop and students’ performances in the school campus of Phare Ponleu Selpak in Battambang city, our artists also performed for Cambodians and audiences from around the world in private events in temples, in 5 stars hotels and at some of the most beautiful settings including, Song Saa Private Island, Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra, Phum Baitang Resort, Amansara Resort and Park Hyatt, just to name a few.
Where did Phare artists bring smiles to people’s faces this year?
We started the year with a Bang! Our newest production “White Gold” had her European Premiere with Biennale des Arts de Cirque in Marseillesin February, before continuing to FOR SUR MER – THEATRE DE FOS. We finished off the tours with TRITH SAINT LEGER. https://pharecircus.org/phare-circus-goes-to-france/
May was a busy touring month, “Sokha” went to Ansan Street Arts Festival and continued on to ASEAN Culture House in Busan and Suwon Theater Festival in The Republic of Korea.
Meanwhile “See You Yesterday” had her USA Premiere Tours in ArtsEmersons in Boston thanks to Global Arts Corps.
We are in May still, a shorter version of “Eclipse” & “Same Same But Different” performed at the Flipside festival at the Esplanade Theaters by the bay in Singapore.
It was a treat for our Aussie friends, “Eclipse” was presented in Darwin Arts Festival in Australia in August.
Our friends in Korea loved “Sokha” so much that they have invited again the performance to Gwangju Fringe Festival in October of this year.
With the success in Marseilles, “White Gold” is set to tours French National Theaters for nearly 2 months in many cities in winter next year. Watch out this space for announcements of cities and tour dates.
It has been a year full of memories and contributions by artists and partners who help make Siem Reap a destination visitors must stay longer to explore food, arts, culture, authentic experiences with our “Come for Angkor Wat but #StayLongerFor……” campaign.
Are you planning for a perfect holiday?
Come for UNESCO World Heritage for Humanity, Angkor Wat, Stay longer for Food, arts, culture and authentic Cambodian experiences.
Thanks for helping Phare inspire with amazing vibe and energy and transforming the lives of Cambodian Youth.
What? “Jungle Trail / 32 km: like the Bayon Trail Angkor, this event will take place on the Angkor archaeological site in the province of northern Cambodia Siem Reap. This Trail of 32 km will be run on a wilderness routes, through rice fields and a natural environment of an incredible beauty without forgetting the crossings of small villages and in the background : the Angkor Temples.”
Why? You know, I am abit crazy. I love to just walk and get lost in the beauty of my beloved Siem Reap. And plus this sounds amazingly fun.
Why 2,500 EUR fundraising goal? Well it’s Phare Ponleu Selpak (Brightness of the Arts)’s 25 years anniversary. This will fund study and living cost scholarship for students at Phare. How gratifying will it be if I reach this goal? And plus, I love to take numbers from the sky because my name is Dara.
Okay. I finally decided to train and take better care of myself for a healthier ME so I can continue the journey to Cambodian artists career development and program sustainability with Phare longer and smarter. Thanks Phare Ponleu Selpak team for giving me a goal to work towards. My lazy self has to start preparing and conditioning my body from now on. Mind you, I’ll be doing Nordic/fast walking rather than running. Join me in this adventure if this is your cup of tea.
I have been with Phare Social Enterprise for the past 7 years. I am a much happier person than I have ever been before. I have also learned to give without expecting anything in return. I have found meangings and peace. I learned to discover myself and my values. Thank you artists and Phare Dreatm Team. It is my privilege to be working with Cambodian young people and help them see and reach their own potentials. Our social enterprise is doing well. We have been employing many artists and staff. We still have a long way to go to reach Phare NGO School’s full sustainability.
I will raise fund to help students in need to study creative and life skills to become productive member of Cambodian society.
I would greatly appreciate if you could help me in my fundraising efforts by making a donation to Phare Ponleu Selpak and bringing awareness around my fundraising efforts. There are no small donations.
Donations are processed through Alvarum. European citizens will receive tax deductible receipt from Alvarum when making the donation.
In April 2019, Phare arstists and team members went to a learning expedition to a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Prasat Sambo Preikuk and spend quality time together for our biggest staff event of the year for team building and learning. We stayed for 2 nights in Preah Vihear Province in Jambok Hoas Adventure Learning Center.
It was a
great experience and we really did learn about from both the temple and the
activities at the teambuilding learning center. We learn about our roles as
Cambodian artists in the society today looking to the past heritage and pride
as well as the 5 values at the adventure learning center:
Creative solutions! The bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity for finding creative solutions. For example we started Phare in Siem Reap without money. We survive and succeed. It was a creative solution.
I do not know Switzerland enough but I have been fortunute to have visited the country nearly 10 times to see my sister and her family and build some maazing friendship there. These are what make me love this country and the people:
១-) បឹងបួរដ៏ធំៗជាច្រើន The lakes. The big beautiful lakes.
២-) ផ្ទះម៉ូតបូរាណ The houses in traditional achetechtures
៣-) ភ្នំដ៏ធំៗនិងស្អាត the mountains
៤-) ប្រជាធិប្បតេយ្យដោយផ្ទាល់ Direct Democracy
៥-) ប្រព័ន្ធហ្វឹកហាត់ការងារដ៏មានប្រសិទ្ធិភាពសម្រាប់យុវជន យុវនារីនៅវិទ្យាល័យ The Swiss Vocational and Professional Educatiobn & Training sysm
៦-)ជីវិតមនុស្សមានតម្លៃ the sanctity of human lives