Chadreth, 14, runs up to the microphone and spontaneously belts out a song.
Abandoned last year when her mother ran off with a man, Chadreth lived in the streets until aid workers brought her to the Mith Samlanh (Friends) children’s shelter.
Alone on the streets, she says, she was timid and quiet. But on stage, “I’m not so shy anymore.”
If that’s the case, the play Chadreth will perform tonight will be a success, organizers say.
“Some of these children have never been heard,” says David Glass, who heads the British theater company shaping the performance. “We are here so they can celebrate their ideas, rather than be ashamed of them.”
On his second such visit to Cambodia, Glass says the play, “A Child’s Vision of the Future,” is a collaboration between his company and the children. In it, children tell their own life stories with pantomimes and shadow puppets, performing traditional and modern dance and singing a Cambodian-style song.
Chadreth says she doesn’t quite understand all of the “foreign” methods but adds that she feels lucky to be part of the roughly two dozen teen-agers in the cast.
Glass says even though his group, funded by Save the Children, only stays for two weeks at a time, the performance gives an extra boost to local NGOs’ work with street children.
The 30-minute play coincides with International Children’s Day and begins at 6:30 tonight at Olympic Stadium.