Artists To Present Dancing, Acrobatics in Capital

More than 250 artists from Bat­tam­bang and Siem Reap provinces and Phnom Penh will put on four nights of performances ranging from folk dances to circus acts this week in the capital.

Taking place in front of the Na­tion­al Museum, the Phnom Penh Arts Festival will offer free shows from today through Sunday night, blending traditional and contemporary art forms.

“This is a festival done by the art­ists themselves,” said Mann Kosal, artistic director for Sovanna Phum The­ater. “We want to show people in Phnom Penh that the arts are alive and well in Cambodia,” he said.

The artists are performing for free, and are just getting a meal and travel expenses in return, said festival director Jane Martin.

Starting each night between 5 pm and 6 pm, the program will in­clude folk dances and Lakhaon Bas­sac opera by Ministry of Cul­ture artists on Thursday, Lak­ha­on Yike musical theater by the Ap­sara Arts Asso­ci­ation and folk dances, plus song and comedy acts, by the NGO Cambo­dian Living Arts on Fri­day. Saturday, the Battambang NGO Phare Pon­leu Selpak will stage street theater and a play mixing dance and circus acts, and the Wat Bo troupe from Siem Reap will pre­­sent shadow puppet theater by fire­light.

The festival will end Sun­day with a mixed-form show by So­van­­­na Phum, a dance version of a folk tale by Epic Arts, whose troupe in­­cludes physically-disabled performers, and street theatre by Phare.

The festival came out of discussions among artists two years ago, Martin said. Though King Noro­dom Siha­mo­­ni, the Culture Ministry and the mu­nicipality supported the project, get­ting permits and paperwork pro­cessed took a great deal of time, she said.

“We hope to make this an annual event in Phnom Penh,” said Kang Ri­th­isal of the NGO Amrita Per­forming Arts.



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