Bambu Stage has two key priorities. First: to change perceptions about the history, cultures and issues that affect Cambodia. When we’re more informed we become better travellers.
Second: to nurture local talent – in a professional and artistic collaboration. There is a tension when the box office and the creative energy compete to breathe. Managing that tension can create an environment that produces challenging new works and allows a small company to thrive in the marketplace.
In the last year the European Union has funded a number of workshops to improve the technical, managerial and creativity of the Cambodian arts scene.
Yes, we’ve benefitted from those programs and we’ve also participated in the training of students in technical theatre – that’s where Bambu Stage really excels. Often you’ll see students managing the light and sound controls at our shows, gaining the skills to present the subtleties of a creative lecture and mixing live music with re-recorded sound.
This development of technical talent folds back to enrich the making of new shows; shows that give insights into Cambodia’s past, that peel back the obvious to reveal the global events and vast sweeps of historical time that have moulded this unique culture.
Sometimes we just reveal the personal. Small stories about hardship, true grit and the tenacity of everyday life that turns a flat leather cut-out into a ferocious village buffalo or stories of how a photojournalist makes miniature constructions to reflect upon their times as a child under the Khmer Rouge regime.
Bambu Stage plunders. We are eclectic, we soak up popular culture and we fold it back onto the deeper layers of Cambodia’s past. We have our nose in the research library and our eyes on social media.
Inspired by TED talks, nerds and specialists, the archaeologists and historians we hang out with, architects who love traditional Khmer wooden buildings, puppet makers who trek into the scrub around Angkor to find a special bark from a tree that will make the perfect tanning agent for their leather.
We love it that tuk-tuk drivers take up photography to help expose the everyday beauty of this incredible country.
For the 2016-2017 season we present the Bambu Puppets and two engaging presentations about the Temples of Angkor and the modern history of Cambodia through the photographer’s lens.
Having worked in museums and theatre all our lives we know people really enjoy an authentic experience – something that comes from the heart of a culture. Something that encourages those bamboo shoots grow with abundance.
Jon, Wab, Malar, Soran and Nick
Jon de Rule