Our Story

In a country where the artistic culture was destroyed through years of conflict, Phare Ponleu Selpak promotes a sense of Cambodian pride and identity.

The « Brightness of The Arts » has taken root back in the 1980s in a refugee camp on the Thai border, after the Khmer Rouge Regime devastated Cambodia. There, the French humanitarian Véronique Decrop started to develop a form of art therapy for refugee children, with drawing and painting classes. 

After the camp closed years later, Véronique and 9 of her most passionate students decided to found a drawing school back in their hometown, Battambang, to help the marginalized local youth in return. The original drawing school has progressively been transformed over its 26 years of existence into a multi-faceted creative hub, to which 4 of the original founders are still actively commited today. 


Phare Ponleu Selpak is founded by 9 Cambodian art students and their French Art Teacher. Art classes for community children.


Music Classes start with flute and piano being taught

Community Library Program starts


Music School opens.
Start to teach modern music.


Circus Training Program started

Leisure Center is set up. Learning program for community children.


First circus show performed at the PPS campus in Battambang and Siem Reap


Theater Education Program starts


Show Creation for first interanational tour starts

Traditional Music Program is added to music school curriculum


First International circus tour takes place in Paris

Phare Public Primary School opens

Circus Hall at the campus is built

Children’s House / Social Support program is established

Creation of Tini Tinou International Circus Festival, in collaboration with the French Institute of Cambodia


An independent Theater School curriculum is put together


Big Top (circus tent) opens on Campus


Phare Public High School established

Phare Animation Studio – 1,000 hands project implemented


Artist Residency building is built

Phare’s Graphic Design and Illustration Studio “Sonleuk Thmey” starts its operation


Puthou circus show is awarded by Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts

Recording Studio opens

Phare Ponleu Selpak France is established


Playright award (Gold cup) on circus production called Sokha by Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts


Romeet Gallery opens in Phnom Penh


Yike show is regional winner at national competition by Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts

Phare Performing Social Enterprise is established

Kindergarten (community pre-school) opens

Visual and Applied Arts School opens

Phare Library opens


Yike show is national 3rd place winner at national competition by Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts


Phare Creative Studio starts operation

1st place winner in educational annimation at Digicon 6 2017

Mr. Khuon Det receives the title of ‘Knight of the Order of Arts and Literature’ by the French Ministry of Culture


Phare Boutique at the campus in Battambang opens

1rst place winner in educational annimation at Digicon 6 2018

2nd place winner of contemporary dance at national competition by Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts


New Music School building opens in February

1st place winner in Hip Hop competition organized by Rom Bak association

2nd place winner in national original song writing competition

Sign up for our (mostly) monthly newsletter to stay in touch with how this timeline will continue into the future as we update our school to change more lives through the arts!