Phare Circus Big Top Gets a Make-Over! Time to Raise the Roof!

Technical Manager Sopheak Sam on top of the Phare Circus Big Top

Phare Circus Big Top is Getting a Revamp! (Hold the Rain, Please!)

Step right up, folks! The Phare Circus big top is about to steal the show with a dazzling makeover that’s more fabulous than a unicorn on roller skates! At the grand age of 18, our beloved red big top in Siem Reap is getting a fresh new look in May 2024, and boy, oh boy, are we excited!

Hold onto your cotton candy, because from May 12 to 15, 2024, our performers will be taking a short break to let the makeover magic happen. Think of it as a costume change for the grand dame of Siem Reap’s entertainment scene.

Blast From The Past

Now, let’s rewind to the good ol’ days when Phare Circus first waltzed into Siem Reap in February 2013. Back then, we were rocking outdoor performances with audiences perched on plastic chairs. But let’s face it, watching circus acts in a tropical downpour? Not exactly our idea of a good time.

Phare Circus outdoor stage for inaugural Siem Reap performance, yellow and red satin covered chairs for guests

So, we embarked on a global quest for the ultimate big top. Lo and behold! The Opéra-Théâtre / company in Lyon, France had one up for grabs after closing shop in 2012. Thanks to a sprinkle of generosity, we snagged that big top, shipped it all the way from France, gave it some TLC, and voila! In June 2013, it made its grand entrance in Siem Reap.

Some interesting facts about the big top:

  • Born in 2005 (older than some TikTok teenagers)
  • 22 meters in diameter (that’s one gigantic hula hoop!)
  • Support poles reaching a whopping 11 meters tall (taller than a giraffe with a top hat)
  • The canvas? Opaque Ferarri 702 red on the outside, midnight blue on the inside (talk about a color combo)
  • 7 rows of wooden risers for seating, all on a galvanized iron frame (fancy, huh?)

Phare Technicians Get It Done

Our Phare Circus technicians practically have PhDs in big top assembly and disassembly. With a little help from our French friends, they set up shop behind the Angkor National Museum in 2013 and relocated to our current spot in 2016. It’s like a circus-themed jigsaw puzzle, and we’ve got the experts to put it together seamlessly. Want to see their big top ballet in action? Check out these amazing photos and a video by photographer Scott Sharick, capturing the 2016 move like a behind-the-scenes circus act itself!

Get ready for a brand new chapter under the canvas, folks. This is one big top makeover you won’t want to miss!

P.S. While you’re here, why not explore the rest of our blog? We’ve got stories about the incredible Phare artists, the heart-warming impact of the circus on the community, and of course, all the juicy details about the upcoming shows. Stay tuned, and let the circus spirit ignite your wanderlust!

Craig Dodge , Phare Circus Director of Sales and Marketing, presenting at Arival Activate conference

About the Author - Craig Dodge

Craig Dodge is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Phare Performing Social Enterprise, parent company of Phare, The Cambodian Circus and Phare Creative Studio. Craig gets great satisfaction by applying his travel industry experience to Phare's missions of sustaining jobs in the arts and funding artistic and academic education at Phare Ponleu Selpak non-profit school. He is also driven to promote the unique experiences awaiting visitors to Cambodia. When he's not working, you can often find Craig cycling in Angkor park.

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