From May 2nd to May 6th, 2016, a group of local and international circus students, performers and artists are bringing to life a piece of local history. A result of months of collaboration between Phare Ponleu Selpak’s visual art, circus, dance, music and theatre students along with international teachers and performers, the story of Lok Machas will explode onto the streets of Battambang.
The idea was born in late 2015: what if students from Phare Ponleu Selpak schools could write a story, and then students could create a performance and bring it to life during the Tini Tinou International Circus Festival?
The Street Art Creation Workshop was born. The goal was to create an international, multidisciplinary collaboration that could build awareness of the arts within the local community. The 5 days of high quality, free shows performed on the streets of Battambang will draw attention to the free activities and trainings available at Phare Ponleu Selpak.
The project began with a writing workshop with teachers from dance, theater and music departments. For five days the teachers and students crafted the story of Lok Machas. Lok Machas came from the Aphaiwong family who ruled Battambang for six generations and pledged allegiance to the Thai King. Lok Machas was the last Lord Governor of Battambang.
The writing team wanted to illuminate Lok Machas’ tumultuous love life, ruthlessness, shortcomings, and fanciful lifestyle while bringing attention to the gap between ordinary Khmer people and their former leaders. The writers and students highlighted the ousting of Lok Machas as a landmark in Cambodia’s process of independence and rebirth.
Once the writing was finished, it was the performer’s job to bring the story to life for our Tini Tinou Festival in a Street Art Creation workshop. Starting from the 18th of April, a group of students and performers from Phare’s Performing Arts School, six Asian Social Circus Association performers from Indonesia, Afghanistan, and Nepal, and instructors from France have been working together to create five days of performances that tell the story of Lok Machas. Décor and backgrounds for the shows are created by students from Phare’s Visual and Applied Arts School.
This whole project is possible with the generous support of the EU. The project built capacity of teachers, performers, and students in a wide variety of disciplines. Whether through writing, outdoor performing, show preparation, or coordination, the skills that participants learned and the resulting performances during Tini Tinou will reinforce the importance of the arts in Battambang and across Cambodia.
This Street Art Creation workshop will kick off Tini Tinou celebrations in Battambang with a street parade from 4pm to 6pm on May 2nd. Then from May 3-6 there will be free shows every evening at 5:30pm. Each show will tell a different part of the Lok Machas story.
We hope you will join us for performances full of drama, energy, and surprises!