Tini Tinou Circus Festival Launches Tour of Three Cities

Australia’s Flying Fruit Fly Circus will present its “Stunt Lounge” show in Phnom Penh tonight to get the 10th Tini Tinou circus festival rolling, with a program that includes two Cambodian companies and artists from six countries.

Starting in the capital, the festival will then move on to Battambang and Siem Reap cities. “Stunt Lounge” premiered in Melbourne on March 30, and this is the first time that the company, which is part of Australia’s National Youth Circus school, has performed outside of Australia, said Lewis West, an award-winning circus performer who has accompanied the young artists.

Artists from Vancouver's Cause & Effect Circus company, which is taking part in the festival (Mikah Sharkey)
Artists from Vancouver’s Cause & Effect Circus company, which is taking part in the festival (Mikah Sharkey)

Cambodian companies include Phare, The Cambodian Circus—the professional company of the NGO Phare Ponleu Selpak’s circus school that has organized the festival. It will stage “Influence,” its latest show.

The Ministry of Culture’s National Circus School will present “Dream” about a young man falling asleep and waking up at a circus performance in Angkorian times, said Phok Narin, the school’s director.

In addition to individual artists from Nepal, Indonesia and Afghanistan, there will be two jugglers from Vancouver’s Cause & Effect Circus performing, said juggler Yuki Ueda. For him, this festival is not only an opportunity for artists to share their passions with the public but also to talk style and techniques with colleagues from around the world during the festival’s workshops for artists and students. “It makes us better in our art forms,” he said.

The French company Collectif Open Ticket is taking part at the initiative of circus artist Voleak Ung, a former Phare student who has studied at France’s circus school Centre National des Arts du Cirque.

“I’ve always dreamed of doing this: staging a show during the festival,” she said.

Due to a windstorm that caused a tear last year in the National Circus School’s tent located across from the National Assembly, festival organizers had to find another venue in Phnom Penh this year, so shows will be held at the Chenla Theater, thanks to one of the festival’s corporate sponsors.

The Tini Tinou festival has been bailed out—or revived—by the private sector in the past. Launched by France’s Institut Francais in the early 2000s, it was discontinued when the French government slashed the institute’s funding. It has since been relaunched due to sponsorships from companies big and small, said Huot Dara, CEO of Phare, The Cambodian Circus.

Last year, the event attracted more than 4,500 people, he added. Tickets to this year’s performances can be purchased at locations in Phnom Penh, Battambang and Siem Reap.

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