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Second-Generation Survivors of the Khmer Rouge Genocide Shatter Its Silence

Second-Generation Survivors of the Khmer Rouge Genocide Shatter Its Silence

Dear Friends,

We are thrilled to share this press release from ArtsEmerson about the upcoming U.S. premiere of “See You Yesterday,” and we hope to see you in Boston!









MAY 16 – 19, 2019



Press Performance is Thursday, May 16, 2019, at 7:30pm

On the heels of Cambodian New Year, ArtsEmerson is honored to welcome “See You Yesterday,” a moving performance by Global Arts Corps which explores the painful history of the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia. Directed by Michael Lessac, nineteen Cambodian performers utilize their extraordinary physical skills, including acrobatics and circus arts, to travel back in time and shatter a legacy of silence.

Over 22 weeks of development since 2012, Global Arts Corps — whose celebrated work brings together people from opposite sides of violent conflicts — collaborated with these young Cambodian artists as they grappled with the painful history of their country’s genocide. While details of the four-year horror have largely gone unexplored by younger generations of Cambodians, the cast of “See You Yesterday” interviewed their elders (and even a former Khmer Rouge child soldier) to build a stunning performance that is both beautiful and cathartic.

“In 2013, when we brought our Northern/North of Ireland production ‘Hold your Tongue, Hold your Dead’ to Boston audiences, we witnessed two communities, separated by an ocean and burdened by their own personalized historical memories, find a common healing ground in talk-backs across the footlights,” says “See You Yesterday” director Michael Lessac. “At a time when we seem to be clinging to what separates us and not what connects us, we wanted to be in the same place again to see what happens when another, totally different, theatrical vision of honesty, tenacity, and imagination takes the ArtsEmerson stage. ‘See You Yesterday’ brings to Boston a cast of young Cambodian circus artists whose culture has forced them to live in silence with a harrowing memory. They have created a performance that shows us how hope can emerge from despair and how truth can emerge out of a powerfully moral and courageously honest imagination. I could not be more proud to be working with David Dower and his extraordinary team, in the namesake space of my old friend, Rob Orchard, as we once again explore together what happens when inherited conflict and unspoken multiple truths are surfaced across continents so that generations can talk to each other again.”

“‘See You Yesterday’ is precisely the kind of experience that ArtsEmerson has become known for over these past nine seasons,” says ArtsEmerson artistic director David Dower. “The show puts one of most vibrant world cultures in the spotlight. Our region hosts one of the largest Cambodian communities in the nation and as with last season’s ‘Bangsokol,’ we are presenting it in deep partnership with that community, both in Boston and in Lowell. This effort to put the world on stage in dialogue with diverse communities delivers that particular synergy between the art and the audience that our supporters have come to count on. ‘See You Yesterday’ also uses a form of storytelling that is entirely ArtsEmerson – sharing its moving search for restorative justice through the tools of circus and dance. We are proud to be working with Michael Lessac and Global Arts Corps to tell this story.”

Tickets for “See You Yesterday” start at just $20 and may be purchased online at, by phone at 617.824.8400, or in person at the box office. Group, student, and senior discounts are also available. Tickets are also available at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre box office in Lowell, MA.


Emerson Paramount Center
Robert J. Orchard Stage
559 Washington Street Boston, MA 02116

Performance Schedule:

Thursday, May 16, 2019; 7:30pm Press Performance
Friday, May 17, 2019; 8:00pm
Saturday, May 18, 2019; 2:00pm
Saturday, May 18, 2019; 8:00pm
Sunday, May 19, 2019; 2:00pm


Produced in partnership with Phare Performing Social Enterprise, Phare Ponleu Selpak Association & Amrita Performing Arts
Directed by: Michael Lessac, Global Arts Corps Artistic Director
in collaboration with Global Arts Corps Associate Artists: Arben Bajraktaraj, Robert Berky, & Andrew Buckland
Director of Circus: Khuon Det, Phare Ponleu Selpak Artistic Director
Choreographer: Chumvan Sodhachivy, SilverBell Dance Group, Amrita Performing Arts
Lighting Design and Technical Direction by: Dave Feldman
Original Score by: Michael Jay
Sound Design by: Scott Lehrer
Costumes by: Vong Vannak
Assistant Choreographer: Nam Narim, Amrita Performing Arts
Stage Manager: Lauren Squier
Assistant Stage Manager: Phounam Pin

Cast: Cheat Sopheap, Choup Kanha, Heng Chhaiya, Houn Sopheap, Huot Heang, Khoun Kimlon, Lai Vireak, Mon Borey, Mony Ratanaksombath, Ney Linna, Nov Sreyleak, Nov Sreyleap, Pai Phirom, Phat Sreyleak, Preab Pouch, San Samdy, Sem Sinak, Sim Chantha, Yam Sopheak

Production Team: Jacqueline Lessac, Global Arts Corps Executive Producer; Huot Dara, Phare Performing Social Enterprise Chief Executive Officer & Tour Company Manager; and Natalie Stringer, Global Arts Corps Program and Development Manager

For production stills and other media kit assets, click here.

About Global Arts Corps:

For the last 17 years, Global Arts Corps (GAC) has been bringing together performing artists from opposite sides of cultural, religious and racial divides to create original theatre productions that encourage a playwriting dialogue between people who fear, disdain, mistrust and even hate each other. The stage becomes a laboratory where each new production finds its own unique way to unpeel these feelings and rehearse a new empathy. These collaborative productions have been performed for over 100,000 audience members in 28 cities in 12 countries on 4 continents. The casts of these productions have facilitated empathy and perceptual change workshops that have brought together close to 20,000 participants. The award-winning film, “A Snake Gives Birth to a Snake,” resulting from our South African project Truth in Translation, has been shown in educational centers and film festivals in 19 cities in nine countries and a new film, based on See You Yesterday, has just completed principle editing. Over these years, the GAC team of directors and actors has accumulated experience across borders. They continue to contribute their talents and experience to each new project and are presently developing a multi-national project that will draw from five continents. The cast of See You Yesterday has recently completed an educational tour in Cambodia, giving workshops to teachers-in-training interested in using GAC’s process of safely approaching an empathic understanding of painful histories and traumatic pasts.

About ArtsEmerson

ArtsEmerson is Boston’s leading presenter of contemporary world theatre. We are dedicated to engaging all communities through stories that reveal and deepen our connection to each other. By cultivating diversity in the arts and in the audience, we ignite public conversation around our most vexing societal challenges as a catalyst for overcoming them. Founded in 2010 by Robert J. Orchard – the year the U.S. Census confirmed there was no single cultural majority in Boston – we committed to building a cultural institution that reflects the diversity of our city. We program a full season of performances, film and dialogue that invites each of us to engage in a more contemporary narrative of Boston as a truly global city. ArtsEmerson is led by Artistic Director, David Dower and Executive Director, David Howse. For more information, visit

About Emerson College:

Based in Boston, Massachusetts, opposite the historic Boston Common and in the heart of the city’s Theatre District, Emerson College educates individuals who will solve problems and change the world through engaged leadership in communication and the arts, a mission informed by liberal learning. The College has 3,780 undergraduates and 670 graduate students from across the United States and 50 countries. Supported by state-of-the-art facilities and a renowned faculty, students participate in more than 90 student organizations and performance groups. Emerson is known for its experiential learning programs in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, the Netherlands, London, China, and the Czech Republic. The College has an active network of 39,000 alumni who hold leadership positions in communication and the arts. For more information, visit

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ArtsEmerson Media contact: Darren DeLuca


© Photo by Jacqueline Lessac