Weʼve raised £3,186 to support community theatre projects for Cambodian people
- Funded on Wednesday, 17th February 2021
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I’m raising money to support a Cambodian NGO. Lakhon Komnit Organization (LKO), which means “Thinking Theatre” in Khmer, uses theatre as a tool for connection, critical reflection and empowerment. LKO works with Cambodian people living in poverty, victims of abuse, school and university students, unemployed artists and men incarcerated for drug addiction.
History of Spoken Theatre in Cambodia
The genocidal Khmer Rouge regime of 1975-79 subjected Cambodians to forced labour, starvation, disease, torture, and murder. By the end of the 4 year regime, an estimated 2 million people had died - about ¼ of the population. Among them, almost every Cambodian artist had been systematically murdered.
Cambodia has rebuilt over recent decades, but economic pressures have left the performance art of Lakhon Niyeay - Cambodian Spoken Theatre - without investment. Lakhon Komnit Organization was set up to protect, regenerate and develop the art of Lakhon Niyeay, which has almost been lost.
LKO’s program of work
Today, LKO’s team of theatre artists and workshop leaders create opportunities for Cambodians to make, perform, watch and participate in Lakhon Niyeay.
The team perform outside, with a stage backdrop made of metal poles and burlap sack cloth, with a tarpaulin underfoot. This mobile theatre pops-up in the heart of Cambodian communities - on the roadside, the muddy streets of remote villages, under the shade of pagoda trees, and in noisy school playgrounds.
Theatre is a powerful tool for communication and critical reflection. It empowers people to change their own lives. Situations and challenges can be too close to see when we are “just living” them, but become visible when we see them represented on stage. Theatre experiences can be moments of pause which help people to take a step back and see their own realities, and to take charge of making changes which improve their lives.
How you can help
I am raising money to help support the delivery of community theatre programs, including:
Women's Empowerment: experience sharing and building confidence through theatre, for victims of Gender Based Violence. Workshops are a safe space for developing friendships and dismantling the shame, stigma and silence around domestic abuse. Participants create performances based on their experiences and perform to members of their community - including their family members. Results already seen from this program are: a reduction in violent incidents, increased self-awareness on the part of perpetrators, and significant increases in self-confidence for the women themselves.
Drugs Intervention: participatory theatre workshops for men aged 18-45 who have experience of addiction to crystal methamphetamine and yaba (methamphetamine combined with caffeine). LKO theatre artists, who are former users of meth themselves, run a specialised program for men detained in Battambang's Drug Rehabilitation Centre. The regime in the Centre is pure incarceration and physical exercise, with no counselling provision. By using theatre to re-create and explore past experiences, the men are able to identify triggers for use, and build tools and strategies to support themselves in maintaining abstinence from drugs after their release from the Centre.
Children's Story Time - interactive storytelling sessions for young children in rural locations, to inspire creativity and imagination. This is a new project coming in 2021, in collaboration with KHEN NGO, who work to ensure access to education for children living in rural areas.
Artists Workshop - a weekly sharing space for Battambang-based Cambodian theatre artists. Artists living outside the capital Phnom Penh have access to very few professional opportunities. The majority of artists rely on income from informal and insecure jobs as motorbike taxi drivers, labourers, cleaners and making migration to find work in Thailand. The Artists Workshop is a support structure and a chance to keep practicing their art, share skills and develop new project ideas.
Scriptwriting - LKO is dedicated to amplifying the smallest voices and forgotten stories of Cambodian society on stage. Past French colonial rule and the Khmer Rouge genocide have removed many Cambodian voices and experiences from historical records. LKO Director Phireak (also known as Hou) writes stageplays based on little-known figures from Cambodian past and present, to help preserve the country's unwritten history. In 2021, LKO will stage “Krouh Kombot Kabal” (The Headless Man). This is a new script by Phireak, exploring traditional Cambodian beliefs via his own family history.
To give you an idea of how far a donation can go:
£10 = Travel expenses for 5 community members living in poverty to attend a full day theatre workshop
£20 = Costs for one half-day Artists Workshop
£50 = 2 hour story workshop for 30-50 young children
£100 = Half day workshop for 30 detainees in Battambang Drug Rehabilitation Centre
£400 = Research, write and develop a new playscript
£500 = 90 minute performance for an audience of up to 300 community members in a remote village, by 5 performers, 2 musicians + 1 technician
£1000 = One year’s worth of monthly open-access theatre workshops for community members
£5000 = Performance tour to 10 rural communities, reaching up to 2500 people
Your donation makes theatre happen
Administrative costs for 2021 are already funded, so you can be sure that 100% of your donation will directly result in Cambodian people accessing theatre opportunities which they otherwise wouldn’t be able to. THANK YOU for caring about our work!
There is no donation too big or too small, and please remember that sharing this crowdfunding page with your friends is also an enormous support.
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Bonny Coombe started crowdfunding
Leave a message of support
Dec 31, 2020
Great work. Theatre is so important. Good luck!
Dec 24, 2020
Keep it up guys!
Dec 18, 2020
Wishing you a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2021, we will look after your Mother as she is rather precious,Janx
Dec 17, 2020
Great work! Chris M.
Dec 11, 2020
Dec 11, 2020
With love and infinite admiration. X X X X
Dec 6, 2020
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