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Circus big-top tent ready for show time

Circus big-top tent ready for show time

1 circus big-top peter phoeng
The new circus tent in all its indoor glory. Photograph: Peter Phoeng/Phnom Penh Post

The circus big-top, a 400-seat venue, finally arrived in Siem Reap from France on May 11, and is now in the process of being installed and readied for performance, according to Huot Dara, co-director of the Phare Ponleu Selpak Project in Siem Reap.

“We are very happy to welcome the arrival of the tent from Europe to her new home in Siem Reap,” he said. “We’ll be performing inside this beautiful tent very soon, from June 1 onwards, and we look forward to welcoming audiences to experience the best circus performances in this tent. It’s now being erected, and the lighting and power have been installed.”

The ‘Opera’ tent took two months to arrive in Sihanoukville from France via ship. It then had to clear customs and be transported to its home in Siem Reap where it will become the permanent venue for Phare, the Cambodian Circus.

Xavier Gobin, operations manager for the circus told Insider that the size of the tent was a challenge to installers – the round big-top tent is 22 metres wide and 12 metres high.

“We spent almost one week to transfer tools for the tent from the container and to put the tent in place,” he said.

The race was on to get it here and set up before the rainy season set in – the circus has already had to cancel shows due to inclement evening weather.

“This tent is crucial to the Phare Cambodian Circus as it allows us to keep performing every day all year round,” Huot Dara said, adding that it will make a massive difference in the rainy season.

“It guarantees that we can assure great audience impact with this Cambodian artistic and cultural experience, as the tent was originally designed and built for opera and theatre performances and has great sound quality.

“The tent also allows us to categorise our seating arrangement, enabling us to have a system of first-class or golden seats with assigned seating in the most comfortable area with the best views and acoustics.

“This helps us to welcome and cater to another segment of the tourism market – luxury tourism.”

With the big-top in action, the circus will still hold only one regular scheduled performance daily. But it will also seek and accept bookings from tour operators and sponsor partners, adding another unusual venue to Siem Reap’s already eclectic mix.

Phare will also be able to run more art workshops and artistic training activities, further benefitting Siem Reap.

The show performance schedule has already been set for June.

From June 1 to June 22, the show will be Tchamlaek, or Weird. From June 23-30, the show will be Phsorng Preng or The Adventure.

“Tchamlaek is a poetic show that relates with humor the strange ventures a family is going through to find happiness,” Huot Dara said.

“The Adventure show is about a young Cambodian boy who struggles with domestic violence due to very poor standards of living. Compared with others having a good family relationship in a loving atmosphere, he realises the tragedy of his own family and decides to leave his home ​to seek an adventure in Phnom Penh.”

The circus, in the short time it has been running in Siem Reap has been ranked by TripAdvisor as number eight of 8 of 89 attractions in Siem Reap...

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