Oldest Khmer theater shutdown

The art of Sbech Thom, Khmer shadow theater is an ancient Khmer art dating back to before the Angkorian period. It is also inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity with UNESCO in 2008 (originally proclaimed in 2005).

The art of Sbech Thom was the centerpiece of Khmer traditional art master Mann Kosal’s work at the Sovanna Phum Theater which unfortunately had to shutdown in May due to lack of funding.

With the theater closed the most important task for Kosal is figuring out how to preserve this cultural legacy.

“To me, art is everything in my life. I have given my whole life to Khmer culture and art and live to be part of our cultural preservation. I want Cambodians to be proud of our amazing culture, and I do not want them to doubt their identity”, says Kosal.

“I’d like to thank everyone who supported our performances, and I have only one request for Cambodians, especially young people . . . please spare some of your time for our cultural heritage.”

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UNESCOPhnom Penh Post
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