About 200 circus artists will kick off the 2008 Tini Tinou circus festival with a parade in Phnom Penh along Mao Tse Toung Boulevard on Saturday. The performers will hail from from Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia’s National Circus School and the NGO Phare Ponleu Selpak.
Among them will be the festival’s honorary guests from Guinea: the Tinafan troupe. The 15 performers, 15 to 22 years old, are from the Acrobatic Arts Center Keita Fodeba in Guinea’s capital of Conakry, said Ibrahima Bamba, director of the center, which was created for the children of refugees fleeing conflicts in African countries.
This will be the troupe’s first visit to Asia, he said. “At home, we always say that circus comes from Asia,” Bamba said.
The troupe will spend three months at Phare’s circus school on the outskirts of Battambang town. Bamba said it will be a great opportunity for the young African artists to discover Asian and Cambodian circus styles.
The parade on Saturday will start at the Chenla Theater and end at Cambodia’s new National Theater on Street 173. There, a performance will take place at 6:30 pm. From April 3 through 6, Tini Tinou will take place at Phare’s Battambang compound. Admission to all performances is free.
The circus festival Tini Tinou, or “here and there” in English, was created in 2004 by the French Cultural Center; this year’s fifth edition is organized by Phare with the center’s support. Plans are to hold next year’s Tini Tinou in Sihanoukville and Kompong Cham province, funding permitting, Phare’s circus school Director Khuon Det said.
The festival will be followed by an international conference on using performing arts as education tools on social issues such as HIV/AIDS. It will be held at Phare on April 5 and 6 with participants from several countries, including Thailand and India.