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 9 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. www.pharecambodiacircus.org