PHARE The Cambodian Circus: Changing Lives One Show At A Time! @PhareCircus

by Sean Nolan


Phare: The Cambodian Circus is a mixture of theater, modern dance, and acrobatics, expertly choreographed to tell a captivating story which combines Cambodian folklore and history into a show for all ages.     

Eight different programs  are rotated monthly. We were fortunate enough to catch Influence. A story about survival, domination, manipulation, and ultimately – redemption. 



The history behind Phare and its inception is one of the more, amazing aspects of this incredible social enterprise.  Shortly after the Fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1994, a handful of Cambodian refugees found their way home and founded Phare Ponleu Selpak, an NGO School of the Arts in Battambang Cambodia.

Around twelve hundred students each year, receive free public education from kindergarten to 12th grade. There is also free Professional Level Arts training in dance, music, theater, animation, graphic design, illustration, painting, and circus.

The Circus launched 3 years ago as a means for PPS to help generate income, provide employment for graduates, and share Cambodian/Khmer Culture.  

We were amazed at the creativity and talent of the performers and surprised at how funny and powerful the story was. We encourage anyone visiting Siem Reap to make the time and experience Phare. 


PHARE: The Cambodian Circus
Phare Circus Ring Road, south of the intersection  Sok San Road,
Siem Reap, The Kingdom of Cambodia
Phone: +855 (0) 15 499 480 & +855 (0) 92 225 320
Facebook: Phare The Cambodian Circus
Instagram: @pharethecambodiancircus 

Try to arrive early if you are unable to purchase your ticket/s ahead of time.  The show usually sells out every night, so it’s wise to order online or make reservations. 

Showtime and Venue hours: 
Performances start at 8:00 pm Monday – Sunday 
Phare BoutiquePhare Cafe open at 6:00 pm 


Ticket Prices (Ages, 12+ Adults / Children 5-11) 

Section A Reserved – Front 3 Rows Center Stage : Adults $35 US dollars / Children $18 US dollars   Section B Preferred Open Seating – Back 3 Rows Center Stage : Adults $25 US / Children $17 US Section C General Open Seating – Open Seating on both sides of Stage : Adults $18 US / Children $10 US 

Check out the Seat Map 

Reservations & Ticketing:
Telephone: +855 (0) 15 499 480 & +855 (0) 92 225 320 



Walkins can purchase their tickets at the ticketing booth next to the main entrance.  



There are plenty of seating areas inside the Circus grounds where you can also purchase refreshments from Phare Cafe or hang out before the show starts. 



An announcement will be made minutes before seating.  



Have your tickets ready before entering the Big Top



The Tent can accommodate a little over 300 persons.  



Inside you are given a returnable fan and a complimentary bottled water that will come in handy.   



No circus is complete without a band.  Making use of both contemporary western and traditional Khmer instruments. The Band is a vital part of the show who did a fantastic job.  



The opening act of Influence set the tone of how the rest of the show would progress.  Here the performers use ordinary mats to mimic tiny jungle creatures that devour each other one by one.   Right away the imagery and performance tell a story about survival and domination, narratives that play out later in the show.    



It takes years for the performers to hone their skills.  



Fire, brooms, everyday items, are all utilized in a clever way to tell the story. 



The second act takes on a more humorous tone.  

Here, the troop run in slow motion in a race to see who will become king — tripping and dragging each other down along the way.    



Ironically our winner finds out that the King is nothing more than a puppet, at the mercy of his subjects.   Was it worth it? 



The third act plays out more like a drama. Telling the tale of how a dictator uses distractions and deceit to gain power and control.  A nod to the not so distant time of the deadly Khmer Rouge regime that inflicted suffering on millions of Cambodians.  

(Most of the Troop are from Battambang Cambodia, a city/province that was hit hardest during the war.) 



The 3rd act is also where the performers showcase their remarkable skills.  

Balancing and tumbling all the while telling a tragic story.



It’s amazing how the artists were able to utilize such a small area and pull off such death-defying stunts. 



The show ends on a happy note when our troop finally realize, that helping each other is better than dragging each other down.   



The talented young performers were all exceptional and did a fantastic job putting on a show for all the tourists.  



It was amazing to see the positive response from the International crowd as they gave a standing ovation.



People rushed to get their pictures taken with the artist. 


Donations are welcomed by the staff. The money goes to help fund the Academy back in Battambang. 


You can also leave a review after the show is finished. The staff are open to suggestions and would like to know how to make the overall experience even better.  



Before leaving be sure to check out Phare Boutique.  



Most of the artworks are original pieces created by the students of Phare Ponleu Selpak.



Local and traditional crafts are also on sale. 



Phare was an Amazing experience, and we can’t recommend it highly enough to anyone visiting Siem Reap. If you are ever in the city be sure to see Phare: The Cambodian Circus.

The show is funny and exciting, and the artists are all skilled professionals who are superb at their craft.
The best part for us was the underlying messages behind Influence.  We came in expecting something similar to Cirque du Soleil but got something else entirely — and that’s a good thing. 

Congratulations Phare: The Cambodian Circus and the brave and talented students from Phare Ponleu Selpak!

Phare: the Cambodian Circus
Phare Circus Ring Road,
south of the intersection  Sok San Road,
Siem Reap, The Kingdom of Cambodia
Phone: +855 (0) 15 499 480 & +855 (0) 92 225 320
Facebook: Phare The Cambodian Circus
Instagram: @pharethecambodiancircus


Live an Awesome Life,

sean signature

SEAN NOLAN of Team Our Awesome Planet

Disclosure: Our experience was courtesy of Phare the Cambodian Circus and the Awesome staff. We wrote this article with our own biases, opinions, and insights

P.S.  Phare Ponleu Selpak is an NGO School that helps children and young adults from troubled backgrounds train for free in the Professional Arts (Performing/Visual Arts).        




One thought on “PHARE The Cambodian Circus: Changing Lives One Show At A Time! @PhareCircus

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *