Campaign started to save puppet theatre

A fundraising campaign has been launched to support master shadow puppet maker Mann Kosal and ensure the future of the Sovanna Phum Association.
A fundraising campaign has been launched to support master shadow puppet maker Mann Kosal and ensure the future of the Sovanna Phum Association. Athena Zelandonii

Campaign started to save puppet theatre

A fundraising campaign has been launched to ensure the short-term future of a long-standing Phnom Penh sbek thom (shadow puppet) theatre.

In May, the head of the Sovanna Phum Association Mann Kosal decided he could not continue without proper funding and decided to leave Phnom Penh to become a tuk-tuk driver.

But at the eleventh hour a pair of young artists pledged to raise between $12,000 to $30,000 to support his work as one of the few remaining practitioners of the art.

Last week, sisters Rithy Lomorpich and Rithy Lomorkesor, who began volunteering with Sovanna Phum in 2012, launched the #5KRiels campaign on Indiegogo, asking donors to stump up about $1.25 each and will run for three months.

“The idea is that 5,000 riel is not much money from each pocket,” said Lomorpich. “[But if many people] would donate only $1.25 on our donation website or into our piggy box, the #5KRiels campaign would have success to support sbek thom artists.”

The fundraising website also had options for people to donate more than $5 with rewards including personalised thank-you messages on photographs, T-shirts and carved leather puppets.

“Sometimes we think that little money could not change anything, but we believe little money could create a better life for Cambodian artists, especially lakhon sbek thom performance art,” Lomorpich said.

“However, if Cambodian people do not support their own heritage, it would be a huge shame to lose a Khmer art association which has run for a long time.”

Lomorpich said the sisters also planned to organise fundraising performances and put donation boxes in cafes, shops and restaurants.

For more details and to donate, visit the Indiegogo campaign.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen to ‘step down’ if he loses Sam Rainsy bet over Kem Sokha

    Hun Sen has promised to step down as prime minister while opposition figure Sam Rainsy pledges to turn himself in as forfeits if the long-term political rivals lose a “bet” over the future of former opposition leader Kem Sokha, who is on bail awaiting trial

  • UAE prince seeks to invest in Cambodia

    The UAE has expressed interest in Cambodian oil and gas exploration. Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem said this was the result of his discussions with Sheikh Ahmed bin Dalmook bin Juma al-Maktoum, a member of the royal family who visited him on Wednesday.

  • Smith calls for ‘release’ of Sokha as visit ends

    At a press conference to conclude her 11-day visit to Cambodia, UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Cambodia Rhona Smith on Thursday called for treason charges against former opposition leader Kem Sokha to be dropped and for him to be released from “restricted detention”.

  • PM denies ‘nepotism’ claims

    Prime minister Hun Sen denied on Thursday that nepotism was involved in the recent promotions of the children of senior government officials. He said they had been “trained” and were entirely capable of carrying out their duties while being open to “punishment” like anyone else.