Cambodian Culture Gets A Boost Through Cambodian Living Arts.
The drum of truth in Mak Therng
Plae Pakaa, a program consisting of three rotating shows of Cambodian dance, theater and music will be presented year-round in the gardens of the National Museum of Phnom Penh. In April, NGO Cambodian Living Arts (CLA), which is leading this project, invested $9000 in building a roof and preparing the venue to accommodate audiences during the rainy season, thus allowing the creation of a long-term self-sustaining performing arts space in the heart of Phnom Penh’s heritage museum. Plae Pakaa now offers visitors the opportunity to see a regular cultural attraction in Phnom Penh, while also creating long-term work opportunities for emerging and established arts professionals. During the past dry season, the program was able to employ over 120 artists and other arts professionals, offering them a springboard toward future career opportunities in arts production.
The program will stage the dance show Children of Bassac on Fridays and the theater and music shows Mak Therng and Passage of Life on alternate Saturdays until October when the program will be back to six nights a week again. From November 2012 through the end of March 2013, Plae Pakaa welcomed approximately 6000 visitors to the shows six nights a week. This compared to only 1000 visitors during the same period in the previous year. Following the very positive feedback received by the audience, CLA saw the opportunity to create a sustainable model for the performing arts in Cambodia. Plae Pakaa, which translates literally as “coming to fruition”, symbolizes the emerging artists who are sharing the fruits of their hard work with us, with 65 of the 90 performers having been trained by CLA, including Nhok Sinat, music ensemble leader in the theater and music play, Passage of Life, who says “Plae Pakaa gives us a great opportunity to earn a living through art, to develop our skills, and to raise awareness about Cambodian traditions.”
CLA is a non-profit organization based in Cambodia that focuses on Cambodian arts. CLA implements a series of programs with the intention of creating a self-sustaining environment where individuals and communities can be empowered through the arts. CLA’s Community Arts program, offers Cambodians the opportunity to learn their country’s traditional arts, while in its Capacity Building program, motivated students receive education to improve their skills as arts professionals. The Creative Industries program actively seeks out and creates regular, well-paid work in the arts sector through exhibitions and performances which raise awareness about Cambodia’s traditional arts among foreigners and Cambodians. As a true springboard for emerging arts professionals, Plae Pakaa plays an integral role in this program.