Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Puppet troupe competing in Bangkok festival

Puppet troupe competing in Bangkok festival

The Shadow Puppet Troupe of Wat Bo performing Sbek Thom as part of the Seasons of Cambodia in New York in April 2013.
The Shadow Puppet Troupe of Wat Bo performing Sbek Thom as part of the Seasons of Cambodia in New York in April 2013. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Puppet troupe competing in Bangkok festival

Vann Sopheavouth, the leader of the Shadow Puppet Troupe of Wat Bo, is once again on a mission to introduce the Cambodian ancient shadow puppet art form of sbek thom to international audiences.

Vann Sopheavouth, the leader of the Shadow Puppet Troupe of Wat Bo, is once again on a mission to introduce the Cambodian ancient shadow puppet art form of sbek thom to international audiences.

Sopheavouth has worked tirelessly since 1993 to conserve the Khmer traditional shadow theatre, and in April last year his troupe performed sbek thom for the first time as part of the Seasons of Cambodia Festival in New York.

Now he and his troupe are in Bangkok to take part in the Harmony World Puppet Carnival 2014 from November 1-10, together with166 troupes from 80 countries.

“We are going to be the representatives of Cambodia on the international stage,” Sopheavouth said. “We are so proud to promote our leather theatre, our beautiful facet of traditional Khmer culture, in front of representatives from 80 countries. It is a special chance to show them who we are, where we come from and what we bring to the festival.”

He is in Bangkok with 25 members of his troupe who, as well as displaying their art, will also be in the running for some substantial prize money – the winning troupe will receive $10,000, second place winners will get $5000 and the third place winners will take home $3000. “We have confidence of success in our performance,” he said. “And we are chasing the first prize in this official competition.” He added that one of his secret weapons will be to forgo electric lighting for the performances and instead opt for lighting in the “natural way” using burning torches to cast shadows.

“We try to do some great things that our ancestors did in the ancient times, so it will become most interesting for people in this modern era,” he noted.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kingdom’s domestic milk still cannot compete with imports

    Price competition and a lack of confidence by consumers are the main reasons the dairy market cannot compete with imports, said domestic milk producers. The large displays of imported fresh milk at the Kingdom’s supermarkets present a cumbersome obstacle for local producers, they said.

  • ‘Pesticide-laden cucumbers’ kill two, poison 150 in Banteay Meanchey

    At least two youths have died and 243 others are being treated for vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulties, dizziness and muscle weakness after they ate cucumbers suspected to consist of pesticides. The incident happened on Saturday, said Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief Ath Khem. He told The

  • Three dead, 13 injured in collapse at Siem Reap pagoda

    At least three people were killed and more than 10 others injured on Monday after a dining hall under construction collapsed at Prasat Kokchak pagoda in Kokchak commune, Siem Reap province. Provincial police chief Tith Narong said Military Police, soldiers and local volunteers had successfully recovered 16

  • Forest Harmony’s $18M luxury villas break ground in Kampot

    Local and French joint-venture Forest Harmony has broken ground on its $18 million “second-home” Luxury Holiday Villas project in Kampot province. Century 21 Mekong CEO and local shareholder of the project Chrek Soknim told The Post that the project will comprise 90 villa units covering 18ha on a 97

  • China Unicom enters Cambodia

    China Unicom, the country’s largest telecoms operator, has expanded into Cambodia to build optical telecommunication pathways in the Kingdom as part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The Hong Kong-listed company officially opened its China Unicom (Cambodia) subsidiary on Monday to become the

  • PP-SHV Expressway on track for completion in early 2023

    The construction of the $1.9 billion Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, which broke ground at the end of March, is on track to be completed by early 2023, Ministry of Public Works and Transport spokesman Vasim Sorya said on Monday. The 190km high-speed highway linking the capital to the