After three months of competition, the final five teams in the “Lakhon Khmer” or Theatre of Cambodia have been identified. Next week, the five will face off for the three available podium spots, according to the Union of Youth Federations of Cambodia (UYFC) Svay Rieng, the organiser of the event.

“Congratulations to the five teams, including the youth teams of the Department of Culture and Fine Arts of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, the Khmer Angkor Art and Culture Training Club of Siem Reap, the Kreunnreah team and the UYFC of Kampong Speu, all of whom have made it to the final round,” said the provincial UYFC, via social media.

Chhi Kolbotra, the team leader of Lakhon Khmer season 1, said the teams will get a chance to get collect more points from the evaluation of four commissions in the “My Forum” round.

“Only the three teams with the highest total scores can advance to the finals to compete for first, second and third places,” he added.

He asked for the public to take part by voting for their favourite team, saying their performances would be posted in video form to the Svay Rieng UYFC’s official Facebook page. Voting will be open from 12am on December 4 to 12am on December 11.

“The points will be counted when viewers hit the Like, Love, Care, Haha and Wow reactions. Votes will only count when the videos are viewed on the official page,” said Kolbotra.

The last five teams were announced after 12 teams met in a tense semi-final competition on December 4.

The first season of the competition, held with the theme “Khmer traditional dance form”, was organised by the UYFC of Svay Rieng and supported by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts. It was broadcast every Saturday at 6pm on BTV and posted to social media.

The purpose of the event is to cultivate the consciousness of young people to love and support the culture of ancient Khmer art, preserve cultural heritage, market ancient art forms and closely connect the older generation of artists and the new, said Kolbotra.

“Thanks to the competition, many of the artists are now well known to the public. Some of them have been hired by Cambodians from their own communities to perform during events. We consider this an opportunity to promote the market for Cambodian artists,” he added.

The final three teams will share a total prize pool of 24 million riel, with the first place winner receiving 12 million, the second eight and the third place holders going home with four.